Duties and responsibilities
A comedian tells jokes, acts out physical gags and entertains audiences on stage, on the radio and onscreen. Comedians can work in a wide range of settings, such as comedy clubs, nightclubs, on television and on movie sets. A comedian usually works for themselves as a freelancer and is responsible for finding their own gigs to earn money. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Writing and editing comedy scripts
- Performing their sketches to live audiences
- Making radio and podcast appearances
- Creating long form writing
- Acting on television
- Performing voice work
- Hosting events
- Promoting oneself and scheduling gigs
There are not specific educational requirements to become a comedian. Some comedians will have achieved a bachelors degree in a related field, such as media or performing arts. Others, may have attended acting college. Neither is a necessity, as the key to being a successful comedian is to be confident with a good sense of humour.
Skills and relevant work experience
Comedians will need skills and talents such as:
- Timing, as comedians need to stick to scripts and ensure they run to the correct schedule
- Writing, as comedians need to be able to write their scripts and make sure that they are funny and engaging
- Sense of humour, as comedians won’t be able to thrive in the industry without being able to write humorous and engaging content
- Fearlessness, as it is nerve wracking standing up in front of sometimes thousands of people at a time
- Creativity, as comedians need to create exciting and interesting stories
- Business knowledge, as comedians need to promote themselves in order to get business
Comedians are self-employed and therefore pick their own hours – some pay work part time and others may work full time. In general, many comedy shows will be in the evenings and therefore comedians may find themselves working antisocial hours.
According to salaryexpert.com, the median annual salary for a comedian in the United States is $57,788. At an entry level, stand up comedians will earn around $42,092 per year. Whereas, at a more senior level comedians can earn over $70,840 per year.
Comedians can take their career to whatever level they like. Some comedians may only work part time and be happy with doing that. Others may decide to do this as a full time career. These comedians may progress to be big time comedians that perform in front of thousands of people.