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Stand-Up Comedy Invoice Template

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Invoice
Your Name
Your Company
Your Address
Bill to:
Client's Name
Client's Company
Client's Address
Date
Item name
Description
Units/hrs
Rate
Subtotal
10/07/2021
Birthday performance
-
-
1.00
0.00
10/07/2021
Jokes writing
-
-
1.00
0.00
10/07/2021
Stand-up show
-
-
1.00
0.00
Subtotal
$0.00
Total due
$0.00
This invoice was generated by Indy

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Stand-Up Comedian Invoice Template FAQ

What is a standup comedian?

Standup comedians are performers who entertain crowds through their comedy routines. They typically perform in live environments, standing in front of audiences on a stage while speaking directly to them. During their performances, comedians usually tell prewritten or impromptu jokes or share humorous stories in the form of a monologue. While comedians often stand on the stage alone with a microphone, some use props or even have guests take part in their performances. Among their many talents, standup comedians are known for being able to control a room and manage hecklers who make fun of them or try to interrupt their performances.

The origins of standup comedy date back to as early as the 19th century with comedic lectures from individuals like Mark Twain. In its early decades, standup comedy largely took the form of variety shows and minstrel shows. In vaudeville houses, standup comedy often involved comedy teams talking to each other as opposed to the audience. However, there were comedians like Frank Fay who performed solo while communicating directly with the audience.

Currently, there are 10 recognized styles of standup comedy: observational, alternative, anecdotal, insult, improv, sketch comedy, topical, deadpan, musical, and surreal. Comedians like Bob Hope, Borscht Belt, and Jonathan Winters helped establish the modern-day era of standup comedy. Other comedians who contributed to or advanced modern comedy styles include Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Jerry Seinfeld.

While many comedians align themselves with one or more of recognized standup styles, there is no guideline for performing standup comedy. As long as the audience connects with the material, the comedian will likely find success.

It is generally understood among standup comedians that the process of transitioning from an amateur to a professional can take as long as 10 years. While there is no specific manner in which to begin this career, some recommend taking a standup comedy class to learn joke-writing and how to write comedic sets. This type of class can also help you meet other amateur comedians and build the nerve to perform in front of an audience.

Standup comedians are also encouraged to take part in “open-mic nights” in settings like comedy clubs, nightclubs, and bars where they can test out their material in front of live audiences without the requirement of first being booked to perform. It is in this environment that comedians receive the honest reactions they need to create the best routines. These types of performances are typically unpaid.

As standup comedians continue to test their material, they might begin booking paid gigs in nightclubs, comedy clubs, bars, pubs, and at festivals. As they become more popular, they might be invited to perform at colleges, for corporations, on cruise ships, in theaters, and possibly even as warm-ups for television shows. The most successful comedians are able to perform for an hour or more in front of a live audience and have their routines recorded for distribution on popular television networks and Internet streaming services. Others have been able to transition into successful television and movie careers.

How to bill for a standup comedian’s work?

Determining how to bill for standup comedy performances can feel quite daunting when you’re a beginner in the business. If you started with open-mic night performances where you were not paid, you will now have to determine your worth as a comedian.

A great way to start is by looking at your current market. Some markets are known for paying standup comedians better rates, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Austin, Denver, Boston, and Minneapolis. If you’re not in one of these markets, it’s possible that you could earn lower rates.

It’s a good idea to check with fellow standup comedians in your area to learn the going rate for local comedians as well as the best places to seek gigs. Once you’ve gotten your footing in the industry and can command your desired fee, it’s time to figure out how you can bill your customers.

Here are some considerations to make:

  • Performance time: The length of your performance could make a difference in the amount you choose to bill the club promoter, venue manager, corporation, college, or any other entity requesting your services. Generally, the longer your set will be, the more you will be paid.
  • Travel costs: If you have to travel out of town to perform your set, it’s good to seek reimbursement for your travel costs.
  • Room and board costs: Some clients that ask you to travel to another city or state to perform might be willing to pay for your room and board costs up front or as a reimbursement. 

Standup comedy can be a tough business with a reputation of paying low fees for performances. But as you continue to make a name for yourself as a top talent, it will be easier for you to command the rates that align with the time and effort you give to your craft.

How to create an invoice for a standup comedian’s work?

It’s good to note that standup comedians often don’t invoice their clients, particularly early in their careers. You might receive your pay in cash or a check and comedians are responsible for keeping their own records for tax purposes. But for standup comedians who perform at colleges, corporations, or cruise ships – or have the opportunity to perform comedy routines that will be distributed and sold – invoices are a necessity.

Here is some information you always want to include in your standup comedy invoices:

  • Invoice number: Each invoice you submit to your client should have a unique invoice number (ex. 0123, 0124, 0125) to help both you and your client prepare your taxes.
  • Logo: Adding a logo to the top of your invoice can help you stand out from other comedians so that your clients easily remember you for future gigs.
  • Full name and contact details: Include your full name, address, and contact information (phone number and/or email address) in case your client has any concerns or questions.
  • Client name and details: Be sure to include your client’s name, address, and contact information.
  • Performance information: Your invoice should include the details of your performance, including the nights you performed, the length of time performed, and the venue name among other details that can help explain the reason you’re requesting payment.
  • Payment details: Outline the agreed-upon pay rate for each performance included on your invoice. If your client is reimbursing you for your room and board and travel costs, don’t forget to add this information. Also, include on your invoice the total payment due and methods of payment you’re willing to accept.

If you’re not sure how to create your own invoice, take advantage of Indy’s downloadable invoice templates. You can personalize each one by including a logo and contact information for you and your client. We also offer an invoice generator that creates professional invoices in minutes. Easily manage your invoices by adding and subtracting important details, submitting invoices electronically to your clients, and receiving online payments through services like PayPal and Direct Deposit.

How much to bill for a standup comedian’s work?

Standup comedy is not considered the most lucrative of careers, especially for performers who are just getting started in the business. Some comedians have admitted that even in larger markets like Los Angeles, they have earned as little as $10 for a performance.

Standup comedians often take on side jobs to support themselves as they test their material and work on becoming comfortable on the stage. Some find opportunities to work in bars, nightclubs, or comedy clubs where they can convince the promoter to give them time on the stage for a few dollars or a portion of the total earnings from paying patrons.

It’s good to note that the pay standup comedians earn isn’t always low. The estimated income for a standup comedian ranges from about $17,000 to more than $74,000 annually. A comedian’s median income is estimated at $54,000. Now, let’s take a look at average earnings per gig:

  • Corporate shows: Corporations are always looking for ways to provide their employees with fun entertainment, especially during quarterly or annual meetings. A stand-up comedian working a corporate gig might be able to bill within a range of $500 to more than $5,000 per gig. 
  • College comedy shows: Colleges commonly hire comedians to perform during their homecoming weekend or other special events. If you’re able to snag a gig at a college or university, you might bill between $750 and $4,000 per show.
  • School or non-profit fundraisers: A great gig opportunity for standup comedians is performing at a fundraiser event for a school or non-profit organization. You get the opportunity to encourage people to donate to a great cause while making a name for yourself as a comedian. The pay for these types of gigs can range from $500 to more than $2,500.
  • TV show warm-ups: Comedians are sometimes able to make connections in the entertainment industry by starting as warm-up comics for popular TV shows. Depending on the TV show you’re able to secure, you might earn $2,000 or more per gig.
  • Cruise ship performances: Cruise ships are fun ways for comedians to share their talents. They can enjoy free trips to amazing destinations while earning a somewhat stable income. Earnings for standup comedians who work cruise ships can range from $1,750 to $4,000 per week.
  • Touring with a band on the road: If you get the chance to tour with a band on the road and perform as their opening act or emcee the show, you might earn between $3,000 and $10,000 each week.

It’s good to keep in mind that different venues might require that you make adjustments to your standup routine, which isn’t always easy to do last-minute. Let’s say you are accustomed to performing in nightclubs and comedy clubs where your material is geared toward an adult audience. If you are asked to perform at a corporate event or a school, you might have to adapt your material to your new audience. It’s always good to ensure that your material is appropriate for your audiences to increase your ability to secure future bookings with your clients.

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