You’ve got a big night planned of comedy, the comedian’s booked, tickets are sold, and the bar is stocked. Now, how do you set up the room to ensure hilarity ensues? Follow these steps:

Have a stage

The stand-up comedian is the centre of attention, so make sure that they can be seen! If you haven’t got a stage at your pub, sports club, or venue, then either hire, buy or make one. For many, making a stage is the cheapest option, particularly if you have some handy-men/women in your organisation. A 2 metre x 1 metre stage will be long and deep enough in most situations – unless you’ve booked Lano and Woodley (They like to prance).

And if the stage is high, make sure it can be mounted easily enough for the most unfit of comedians. Steps with a handrail would be ideal, but if not, a courteous staff member offering their hand will suffice.

Light up the comedian

A theatre-quality spot light is ideal, but if that’s not possible, a couple of Dolphin torches will do the trick. Comedians use facial expressions as much as their words, so make sure their face can be seen clearly. And ‘no’, a downlight doesn’t count. An easy gauge of good lighting is if the comedian can only see the first two rows while being blinded, then you’re doing a great job.

Mic them up

Most pubs and sports clubs generally have good sound systems, and have a built in cable or wireless microphone. This isn’t always the case for corporate events, that might be using a restaurant balcony or a large meeting room. Portable speakers can be borrowed from colleagues who are musicians, or you could rent the equipment for a nominal fee. Just don’t expect the comedian to shout through their gags. Varying tone and volume are critical to delivering champagne comedy.

Pack them in

Many halls have a dance floor immediately in front of the stage, which is often left empty in preparation for dancing later on. This empty space will kill a comedian’s engagement with the audience, because they will simply be too far away to make eye contact, ask questions, or have their facial expressions seen. The best option is to move all tables and chairs as close to the stage as possible. Or, if you need the dance floor available quickly, set up temporary seating in theatre style, which can be whisked away at the duration of the stand-up show. And one more fact on seating; the closer the audience is, the more infectious their laughter. Rubbing shoulders is a good, not bad, set up.

Running a stand-up comedy night is one of the easiest events you can organise, and if you take these precautions you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic night.