“I don’t host my stand-up comedy show every year. I host my show when I know I have a set that can last me at least an hour to satisfy my audience.
So, I have never really had my show every year apart from 2013 and 2014. I did those two years because I had been doing stand-up comedy from 2008 to 2013 (5 years). My friends were like, “Oh, you should do your show; we’ll come and support you. And I’m like, I don’t want to do those kinds of shows; I want to do shows like an album. I want to do it the way the Americans do it. Now I’m in rotation with you guys, but the truth is that when I’m doing my show, it’s going to be special— “a one-man stand-up show”.
So, five years later, I had enough material to go at it again. I did my show in 2013 and got some more materials, and I did it again in 2014. In 2015, when Cecil Hammond goes, “What date are we doing this year?”, I’m like, “No, I’m not doing any show this year”. He was shocked and said, “What, do you see how much we made last year?” But I stood my ground and insisted that I was not doing any show that year.
In 2016, I was ready to have my show again, but we had a date issue, so we didn’t do it. We then had it the following year, 2017.
2018—I’m like, I’m not doing my show this year rather, I used that year to go on a tour around the world. In 2019, I did it again. In 2020 and 2021, I didn’t do my show. In 2022, I did it.
Stand-up comedy is such an individualistic art form. Kudos to the comedians that do their shows and feature several acts because they are the promoters of those shows, and it’s hard. I keep telling people; the first show I ever did in my life as the promoter was this year. This was strictly me. I did it on my own.
I tell people that being a promoter is an art form. It’s a talent on its own. By the time you, the comedian, are the one planning your show and you get on stage, the jokes are gone—you would have forgotten them all. That’s what gave birth to featuring several acts. So, usually, comedians end up being MCs of their shows. It’s not because they are not funny. It’s because they have to make economic sense and make money.
For most years, Fly Time Promotions with Cecil was the group organizing my shows. I was not greedy because I knew he was spending money to plan the show. I’d usually just tell him, “This is how much you are giving me” and he would say, “This is how much I can afford”, and we would move on.
One year, Cecil said he’d give me 50% off any table I sold. So, we went along with that. When he saw the number of tables I was selling, he said “Stop, you’re making too much money”, so I stopped.
By 2019, I’m like, “This is how much you’re paying me, take it or leave it”. He’s like, “Why? Why the jump?” I said to him, “You organize Rhythm Unplugged, featuring over 20+ comedians and musicians in this hall, and you pay everybody. You have organized my show two or three times, featuring just me and a few opening acts that were helping their careers. You should know that we don’t use the opening acts to promote the show, and the hall still fills up at the same price. Give me that money that you give to many other acts”.
In 2019, I told him to give me 60 million, and he was shocked. I said pay that or no deal, and he said, “Okay, no problem”.
In life, ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice. You may know it all, but if you don’t do it, someone who doesn’t know much will get it done and be happy. Know that there’s always a way.
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