By Comedian Robin Fox of Bridgewater, NJ and Tampa, FL

The right comedian can liven up any party. Too often party planners overlook comedians, but hiring a comedian can be a great way to make your party fun, memorable and unique.

Everyone loves comedy but not everyone knows how to choose the right stand up comedian for their event.

Choosing a Comic First you need to ask yourself: who will be attending my party? Consider the age, sex and sense of humor of your guests. If, for example, all of your guests are suburban baby boomers, you might steer away from an edgy, young comic whose jokes, although funny, might not resonate with your group. That being said there are many gifted and talented comedians that can handle any audience put before them no matter what their age or gender. You just have to find them!

To choose the right comedian for your event, look here on GigMasters and find a few comedians who seem like they might fit your group. Watch their video clips and if they make you laugh, you are probably onto something.

Next you'll want to go to each comedian's page and look at their performance schedule. Check their credits and see how often they work, especially at private events. Some comics, even those with TV credits, are NOT skilled at private parties or working outside of a club environment.

You can learn a lot going through each comedian's page. I also recommend getting references, especially from a client similar to yourself. You'll want to know if other clients found the comic to be easy to work with. You will also want to ask if the comedian showed up on time, dressed appropriately and most importantly, was the comedian funny?

Interviewing Comics Choose a few comedians you like and then interview them on the phone. A professional comedian will welcome the interview and a discussion of your expectations. Going to see a comic at a club is a good idea but remember, a comedian's set in a nightclub will be (and should be) very different from a private party show in your home or private party room. Comedians who perform at clubs often do private events but should also tailor their material for the private show.

When you speak with a comedian you're considering, have a list of questions ready. You should also give the comedian a description of the event and your guests. Will there be children in addition to adults? Discuss content rating (mild to wild) and any topics you aren't comfortable with (you might also consider hiring a clean comedian - ed)

Discuss how long you would like the comedian to perform.  The industry standard for a private event with one comic performing is 30-45 minutes.  Keep in mind that your guests will often be looking forward to spending time catching up with one another and socializing, so you won't want the comedian to perform for the entire duration of your event.

Tips for a Successful Comedy Show

After you hire your comedian, let your guests know that he or she will be performing. Comedy should not be a surprise.

Will you need sound equipment? Even the best comedian isn't funny if you can't hear their jokes. If you need sound - microphone, amp, etc. - you will need to discuss this with the venue or party hall. If the event is in your home discuss sound arrangements with the comedian.

You also need to consider at what point in the party you want the comedian to perform. I know from personal experience that comedy works best before or after the meal is over but never during.

Be sure to ask the comedian how they would like to be introduced.  Ask your guests to give the comedian their full attention, turn off their cell phones and give a warm welcome. This sets the tone for a professional show.

The most suitable comedian for your party is someone who understands your needs, shows you what they have to offer and comes up with some great ideas tailored for your party.

Getting the Best Comic at the Best Rate

Now a few tips regarding pricing: Travel time is a consideration for comedians when pricing an event. It often pays to find the very best comedian you can who is also local. Daytime parties generally cost less than nighttime parties and weeknights are less than weekends.

Book well in advance since the best comedians are in demand and their schedules fill up quickly. Most comedians book with a two to three month lead-time. If you need to find top talent at the last minute, consider a daytime or weeknight show.

Have the comedian draw up a contract or invoice for your event. The invoice should include fees, content rating, date, time and any other information relevant to your event. It always helps to have everything in writing.
With a little work you are sure to find an excellent comedian who is will take your party to the next level.
Wishing you a fun, funny and memorable event!
Comedian Robin Fox 

Robin Fox is an award winning national comedian in the NJ/PA/NY area.  She is the winner of the 2010 Gilda's Club Laugh-Off and can be seen at top clubs in NYC, Philly, and throughout the northeast. Robin specializes in private parties, fundraisers and corporate events. Robin is a Top Rated comedian on Gigmasters. Visit Robin here and here.