Are you ready for Late Night TV? Do you think you’ve got what it takes, but don’t know how to get an audition or what material is appropriate? Well keep reading because today Deirdre Dod, a veteran talent booker with an exciting career spanning over 20 years, opens up to Comedy 360 Daily. Deirdre has booked comics for Late Night with David Letterman, The Rosie O’Donnell Show andShowtime. Today she shares her expert advice along with 3 things every comic should know before audition for a late night spot:
1) Delivery: The most important thing is whether you can “sell” the joke. There are many comedians out there that are excellent writers and their material is original and funny but they don’t deliver it in a way that makes people laugh. I have booked comedians on “Letterman” with less original and funny material because they sold it to me. Take Jonathan Winters or Robin Williams for example. They can read the Telephone Book and make it funny. It’s all in the delivery.
2) Material: I am not really concerned about the subject of your material as long as it’s funny. I was the first person to book Jerry Seinfeld and he talked about losing socks in the dryer. I thought it was brilliant. Jerry has a way of taking everyday things and making them funny. Because it is TV there are a view guidelines you should think about. Here are some things you should never talk about it you want to be booked on TV:
No Lewd Jokes
No Sex Jokes
No Fat Jokes
No Gay Jokes
No Racial Jokes
No Midget Jokes
3) Have a Tight 3 Minute Set: I always tell comedians to think as if you’re in front of a firing squad and have 3 minutes to make them laugh or you die. That’s best example of what it’s like to audition for a late night spot. You have 3 minutes and you better be funny! If you’re a storyteller then your story better have a BIG payoff at the end.
Here are a few more questions I am often asked…
“How do I know when I am ready to be seen by a talent booker?” I think the best advice I ever heard was from Colin Quinn. He said, “If you have not bombed then your not a real comedian.” I think you really have to live the comedy life… you have to eat, drink, sleep, and have sex all while thinking about comedy.
“What’s the best way to contact a talent booker?” I think email is the best way to contact a talent booker. I don’t mind getting emails and follow up emails. I think people who are persistent in this business get to the top. Word of mouth is the best way to get my attention; if another comedian that I have booked tells me you’re funny, it always catches my attention. Please don’t send me a DVD. I won’t watch it. I will look at a link, but make sure it’s good quality and it’s your 3-minute TV industry set. Don’t send me funny emails or cards and don’t drop off gifts. That has stalker written all over it!
“Do you book female comedians?” I do think it is easier for men to get spots on Late Night, however the tide is changing and more women are being booked, which is great!
The best advice I can give to a young comedian is be nice. Being nice goes a long way in this business and NEVER GIVE UP! I have seen comedians up to 5 times before I thought they were ready for TV. So just hang in there and hone your skills