Ruddle Me This! with Taylor Ruddle

31. How I Became A Full Time Comic w/ Steven Lyons

October 09, 2023 Taylor Ruddle Episode 31
Ruddle Me This! with Taylor Ruddle
31. How I Became A Full Time Comic w/ Steven Lyons
Show Notes Transcript

I asked some of the local comics if they'd be interested in hearing a podcast about how I gave up my day job and became a full time comic. There was a good amount of interest and my very good friend Steven Lyons volunteered to interview me for this episode and so here we are, a deep dive on what steps I took to make sure I was able to leave my day job and start doing this delightful comedy business full time. I hope it's useful to you!

If there's any answers that were kid of vague or you wanted more info out of, send me a DM on Facebook and I'll do my best to answer it!

 You can follow Steven online at:
https://www.facebook.com/StevenLyonsComedy
https://twitter.com/stelyons
https://www.instagram.com/stelyons
https://www.facebook.com/PaperGoatNz
https://www.instagram.com/papergoatnz/

Get tickets to my tour with David Correos at www.davidcorreos.com!

Get in touch with me!
@TaylorRuddleComedy on:
YouTube TikTok Instagram FacebookTwitter Patreon MERCH

If you'd like to join the subreddit to discuss the show, visit r/ruddlemethis!

Music Used:

Ruddle Me This: Funky Retro Funk by MokkaMusic
Ramblin' With Ruddle: Rock Your World by Audionautix

My neighbor just started mowing their lawn. So we got us. I don't hear it. So it's all good. All good. All right. Shall we jump in? Yeah, please. Okay, welcome to Ruddle Me This. Oh, I mean, they ain't lying. I'm doing a takeover episode. I'm Stephen Lyons. And you know who isn't lying today is Taylor Ruddle because he is not gonna be lying about any of the steps that he took to transition from his day job into working full-time as a comedian. Holy cow, Taylor, how are you doing? I'm no good, thanks. I'm surprised you managed to pull your voice together like that. who are both self-admittedly not morning people. And I'm really feeling the morning voice, but you sound great. So thanks for having me on the show. Did you do your vocal warmups? Yeah, let's go with that. A little bit of me, my, me, my, me, some Oreo, Oreos. Red, leather, yellow. A little bit of red, lorry, yellow, lorry. That's the one. So yeah, what are we doing on the show today, Stephen? Oh, I know this is tough. I can feel you already going like, Oh my goodness. Like you're, you get to hang out. We're going to dive in. We want to know more. So I'm going to start really, really basic broad strokes. How, how long ago did you start doing comedy? Um, that's not full time. It hasn't started like from the first time. Yeah. How long did you start tinkering? And you can give us context if you want. Yeah. So that was eight years ago, living in Japan, a, uh, good friend of mine now, Oli Horn, he started a English speaking comedy night at an international bar in Fukuoka, which is where I was living. And I was the first, I had the bullet spot. I was the first open mic comic on that lineup and have basically never stopped since. Amazing. And so how long, um, like how long ago did you move back to New Zealand? That was in 2018, right at the end of 2018. So what is that? Five years ago, nearly six years ago. Amazing. Can you tell us like, is there, do you feel like there's a big difference between doing comedy in Japan and doing comedy in New Zealand? Oh yeah, huge. The main thing is the language you have to use. Like here, you do get some travelers who are English as a second language speakers, but for the most part, everybody is native English speaker. Whereas in Japan, even if everyone in the audience speaks English, a lot of them are going to be like Europeans. or like Japanese people that speak English. And so a lot of the, what is the word? Like the- Like things like colloquialism's changed, right? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Slang. Yeah, you can't get out there and be like, hey, I tell you, this economy's not a box of birds. Yeah, exactly. And certain cultural references that they wouldn't have grown up with don't hit at heart at all. And yeah, so you have to generalize yourself a lot more living, doing comedy in Japan. But that's a habit that I've tried to keep coming back here because when you post it online, uh, that opens you up to the rest of the world. So I want that to still be accessible by as many people as possible. Yeah. That's a, which is quite interesting. Cause I do think that there's like, it's great to be conscious of that choice because we do also have that, like when you, when you are open to everyone, you can also be as specific as you want because you know, that my little pony Yo, if you can find that little group going, holy cow, someone's doing killer material about My Little Pony, then there's a joy to that as well. Yes, yes, that's very true. I don't see much of an issue with that, but I guess the main thing I wanted to avoid were jokes like regional references, like for example the South Island, it's very common for people to go on a holiday with their children to Hanmer Springs. but I feel like that's a very, it's a very Canterbury reference. So just as one example, stuff like that, I would try to avoid because if you're not from the area that, you know, it doesn't mean anything to you. Which is a cool skill to build, right? Of like, do I, do I get more specific or do I build jokes that explain what Hamner Springs is? Yeah, you can do that. That's very true. Um, yeah, good point. But that's the joy, right? Of like, well, what are we, where are we at? Um, but we're not here to talk about content. We're here to talk about context. And, uh, for me, the, um, it's, uh, the transition I'm sure for a lot of comedians who are listening in New Zealand are going, yeah, how do you transition from going full time to, uh, to working, um, I think I'm going to be as, uh, as direct as I can and avoid the, the kind of Western bias of, um, politeness of like, did you prepare a nest egg? Like did you save up before you like rolled the dice or did you have already enough income coming in that you were like, I'm living the dream. Uh, so yes, I did have a nest egg. I will explain that because I know some comics are interested in hearing how I made it work. So I worked. for about maybe four years at a conventional job after I, well, sort of, I got a job when the pandemic started, so that was a bit of a weird time to start working, but worked there and I live pretty frugally as it is, so I was always pretty good at saving money. So I had, I was referring to it as runway because I've been watching Silicon Valley. I don't know if you know that show, but they refer to how much money their company has as how much runway. Yeah. And so I looked at my- Because if you don't take off, you're in the, you're in the drink. That's a good, yeah, that actually makes sense. Um, so I looked at what I had as runway and I had, like, I looked at it and I thought if I don't make another penny, I've got about a year's worth of money to live off of, and so I sort of gave myself the tentative, um, time limit of a year and when it was coming up to that year, if it was still not looking good, that was when I would look for another job. Yeah. Cause I think sometimes we forget, right? Is like, you can always go back to work. Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, so I've been freelance my entire adult life. So I'm living in a constant state of like I've had 15, 20 years of runway going, Oh God, how we, how Jesus, we, how, yeah. So I very much feel that. And I do think that it is something that, yeah, you keep, you keep building that, right? Like if you have a good gig come in, you don't go money, money. You go great. A little bit more runway. Exactly. Yeah. More time. And I sort of looked at it as like, cause I don't really spend money on myself. Like I said, I'm quite frugal. I don't drink or I don't engage in any recreational substances. Um, so I kind of looked at it as, uh, like I'm being a little bit less careful with my money than I probably, like I have a budget and everything, but I'm also not, um, restricting myself for things that might be fun or interesting and I'm kind of looking at it as, you know, I've worked, you know, when did I start working? I was 20 years old, round about, I started working and I never really had like a big OE. I guess Japan could be considered an OE, but I'm kind of looking at this, like I get to enjoy the, you know, if it's only a year, then I'm gonna enjoy the year before I go back to work. And I'm kind of looking at it as like a little reward for putting my money away and saving up, but. I'll give it to the listeners that are interested in specific. Like I don't really want to say exactly how much I, I had, cause that might get kind of sticky with the taxes and all that sort of thing. But, um, you can actually, you can do it through time. I think is a great way of doing it as well where you're like, look, I got. Yeah. So, so I had a year worth of runway and I used maybe. So I've been off work. Well, you know, free at the full time for. coming up on six months and I've only used like just less than a third of the money that I'd put away. So I did make a post about this being, it looks like I'm cashflow positive now. It might just be barely, but yeah, so I ended up using less than I thought I would in half the time that I'd kind of given myself off. So like that seems to be a good sign to me that if you're, you know, if you're keeping busy and working. your runway will actually be a lot longer than it looks like when you first plan to do this. It also like, I feel like this is a, this is a fun podcast for me to interview you for in the absurdity of me interviewing you for your podcast. Yeah. But it also means we're making kind of like, because you're not, you're not deep into this. Like, right? Like you are at, often people, when we have these conversations, you're five, 10 years in. Yeah. You know, you're going, Hey, Ben Hurley, how do you say sustainable? And it's like, well, he keeps being Ben Hurley. So, you know, you're like, once you reach a level of achievement and where you're really good at, you know, the big thing. So it's really cool, I think, for us to have this accessible chalk where, Hey, if you're listening at home, then, you know, look at those things. And it's not, and like having used a third of your runway is not a bad thing because what actually happens is that's, that money is subsidizing. It's not that money is there to and pay for your rent, it's to help pay for those things. Yeah, exactly. Is that, yeah. Because what was the drop off? Would you say the drop off was kind of like a third or have you had to make quite a lot of sacrifices going from, cause full-time work, and I haven't had a full-time job in many years, but oh, it feels good. Oh, that money comes in every week and yeah. So that's one of the different trade-offs. But the time goes out. Yes. So to give you an example, I can give, again, I won't use exact numbers, but I looked at my, I'm on Henry now so that you get a really clear picture of how much you've earned. And I've got a couple of invoices that are waiting to be like, you know, settled. But once they are, I am looking at being two thirds of the way to what I was earning when I was working 40 hours a week. And I kind of calculated up and I'm doing that in about 15 hours. It is less money than I was making full time, but most of my stuff is consistent because it's all going to be monthly invoiced. And then it's in less than half the amount of time that I was working at the job. And so I don't have a 40 minute commute either side of work either way. Um, so yeah, if you're looking at time saved versus like how much I'm earning, um, it's looking way better now than it was when I was, uh, doing the nine to five. Yeah, but a lot of that, so I'm assuming, and you can tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming a lot of the times when we transition from going, hey, I'm full-time work to I'm earning money as an entertainer, as a freelance entertainer, that means getting a lot of plates spinning. Yes, absolutely. Like, unless you have one big, unless you're, hey, every year I do one big standup tour, then a lot of the times we're hustling, we're getting You know, quizzes going, we're getting open mics that we're hosting all of these things. I like how many do you do? How many streams or income sources do you feel like you have like that you rely on right now? Yeah, that's a good question. So I should as well stay. I forgot to say this is not possible. I, the reason I left my day job was because of an injury. I have tendonitis in my hands. And so that was, it was kind of like I was kind of jumped before I was pushed. Or I pushed before I jumped. I'm not quite sure which one it is, but. there was an initial thing, but of course, when I was considering leaving work, I was weighing up, like, can I survive with no income for how long? So if you're listening here- I think that's called retirement. Yeah, exactly. But if you're a creative listening now, probably you're working and probably you have a comfortable income, but you're looking to, you sort of need to overlap. You've got to work really hard at this point to have- I think a lot of people, when they leave their day job, it's because their side hustle is taking up, their side hustle can't grow anymore without them taking some time off their day job. Does that make sense? Yeah, yeah. It's like, for me to grow this side hustle, I'm gonna need to, yo, and all of a sudden people at your day job are going, hey, what's going on? You're so tired. Yeah, exactly. And it's like, because I don't wanna be here. Exactly, yeah. And so like, if you're working a standard, pretty standard job, you have a comfortable income. Yeah, I would recommend getting as many plates spinning as you can before either downsizing your hours or just quitting altogether. So then to answer the question that Steven asked, my income streams at the moment. So it's pretty, it's not super diverse at the moment. I do musical bingo through a company called Beats by Bingo, absolutely fantastic company to work for. I have like nothing but good things to say about them. But those aren't regular. Does Tinnaka still run that? Yes, Tinnaka. So if Tinnaka is listening, shout out Tinnaka. You are a fantastic person to work for. And someone who I met when I first started on my comedy journey 22 years ago, doing improv in Auckland. Wow. Yeah, no, please keep booking me, Tinnaka. I enjoy them a lot. The thing with Beats by Bingo, so musical bingo is a great thing to get into because it is... we could really get into the weeds with this but it's so accessible it's just listening to music people don't have to pay attention compared to a stand-up comedy night where they need to be looking at the comedian. Musical bingo they can still chat with their mates and have a drink and have like their Thursday drinks and they don't really have to pay attention to the bingo they can just like recognize that they've heard a song and cross it off their cross it off their bingo sheet. I think Beats by Bingo, it lands in that same pocket as the quizzes, right? Where I've been lucky enough to work for Alan McElroy a few times for crack up comedy quizzes. And I know that a bunch of Auckland comedians, they supplement their hustle with the believe it or not quizzes. And those quizzes are, the thing I love about the crack up quiz, which I think is similar for Beats by Bingo is. you get to be like, you get to be there. Like as a host, you can have fun. You can actually keep working on your stage persona, keep working on your banter, keep working on your like crowd connection. And it also puts a little bit of money in that, you know, it's not gonna, yeah, it's not gonna pay a mortgage, but it'll, it'll pay you some of your rent. It'll add gas in your car. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so like, Comedians might be listening to this. I was initially hoping to make this more generalized for arts, but I kind of realized I don't really know anything about how to make money as like an artist, artist or anything. So we'll go with sort of like entertainer, comedian, that sort of ballpark. A lot of comedians look at stuff like quizzes and musical bingo and hosting karaoke nights and stuff. They look at that as beneath them. And that really bothers me because it's not beneath you. It's really good money and it's a lot of fun. and it's more experienced in front of a crowd. So that really bothers me. But I would also, like I'd empower them to say, it's not beneath you, but it can be beside you, right? Like it is enough for everyone, right? Like it is- It's true, people don't enjoy it. Yeah, yeah. If you don't enjoy it, but if you're like, hey, yeah, like I'm too good to go and get paid for entertaining people, then wait, what are you doing? Yeah, so it is that thing of going, That's fair. And I mean, I've encountered that. And, but also like for me, I can't, I can't host a regular quiz because I go crazy, you know, cause I want to have fun and be silly and they don't need me there. You know, um, be making fun of the seriousness of life, but finding those spots where, you know, you can have fun, but also that thing of remembering that like all of this, like you say, it adds up. So it's like, well, what is the sacrifice when it's going to take you two hours to do this thing? And then, you know, like how much does that balance in terms of you reaching that, like keeping your runway going for sure. Yeah. And also I will say for, for things like comedy, the crackup comedy quiz, people like you. Like I get, I get online, I get online followers from that. I get people who go, Oh, do you have shows coming up? I get people going like, Oh, you, Oh, you weren't in here last week and we missed you. And it's like, yeah, all of that stuff is. You know, um, and you can have a million different approaches to how comedy works, but right now in terms of sustainability and getting that plane off the ground, we need people to enjoy what we do and want to be a part of it. And any chance to get in front of an audience in a way that is financially sustainable and enjoyable. Exactly. Plus as well, if you're doing any of these kinds of things, bring business cards with you because. more often than not, after doing a quiz or a bingo night or something, somebody's going to come up and talk to you when you're just packing up. And like nine times out of 10, it turns into them asking like, so is this, is this what you do? And then you kind of do comedy as well. And they go, oh, really? You're a comedian. And then you give them your card or you tell them to go follow you on Facebook. And then quite often, the reason they're talking to you is because they're interested in running a similar thing for a fundraiser or for the venue or for a birthday party or for whatever it is. So you giving them a way to contact you will create yourself another opportunity in the future. Like if you've seen Glengarry Glenross, that always be closing. One thing, say that loud and often to yourself, ABC always be closing. So I'm going to circle back because I never really quite answered the question. So my income streams right now, I host two quiz nights a week and we're working on... one more and then I also run the laugh cellar which is a comedy night. The laugh cellar doesn't make me a heap of money, it's mainly the quiz nights and then also the sort of arrangement we have with Beats by Bingo is I because they have like a regular guy who does it DJ Nakoa he has a radio show that he does on Fridays so he often can't do the corporate events so I get sort of tagged in Right now, the bulk of my money comes from hosting the quiz nights, hosting the laugh seller on Thursdays, and then these whatever corporate ones. I also quite often get offered corporate quizzes for companies like little law firms and stuff that want to just do like a fun social event and I'll usually just go to the office and do the quiz there. The other one I get is, so we're also working on, this is something I've been so... the company that I do the quizzes through. I love Alan's quizzes, but we've never seen to being able to make anything regular work between us. So just by chance, I got in touch with the company G Quiz and they are the company that creates all the quizzes that I run. And it's like, again, fantastic company to work for. Sam is like, taught me so much. Sam's the owner. He's taught me so much about like just like how the business of it works and how to communicate with venues and all that sort of thing. And so what we're kind of doing is, Can Do Comedy, which is my little group, thinking with our team and Matt, we're sort of like, we sort of like training up and facilitating quiz hosts for G Quiz to run quizzes in Christchurch. And then so for every quiz that we sort of like, even if I'm not directly hosting it, I'll handle all the logistics of getting the booklets to them and making sure there's a replacement in case somebody's sick. And then, so when we invoice the venues at the end of the month, I clip the ticket a little bit there. It's not as much as hosting the quiz, but it's basically the way Sam put it is like, you have to get something for your time and it can be a real headache organizing all this stuff. So we've got one of those coming up, but I'm hoping to establish another, a few more of them. So that would be like a relatively passive income source, but there's still a lot of logistics that go onto like me going around tour. It was a huge mistake starting up all these quizzes now, because I'm having to find and sort hosts for quizzes that I can't make anymore. So it's been tricky, but it will be good once I get back from tour and everything will be running smoothly again. But it's also, I mean, it's great to remember that it's tricky for you right now, but it's also great for the community of comedians down there, because now there are those opportunities, and then when you get back, now you've got a bunch of people who know what they're doing. Yeah. And quizzes, like I think that like the quiz lives in, in a space that is, it doesn't have to be a quiz, but it is something where if you're a comedian who wants to go full time, then you do need to be asking what's my repeatable hustle. Yes. Like what is the thing that I can do of like, sustainability. Yeah. And there's so many different options for that. but it is something where it's like, if you go, oh, I can achieve this, which is the quizzes, right? Is it's like, I can achieve this, it's enjoyable and it's scalable. So there are a lot of great aspects in there. It's also a community kind of thing. Cause you mentioned like can do comedy too, which I think is such a good thing for people to remember is standup comedy can feel like such a solo art form. Yes. But none of us are doing it alone. No. Like when you're on stage, you're not even alone. The audience is there. The tech is there. It's your content. It's your voice. But we all live in this thing together. And it's something that I noticed when I was in Chicago was so delightful was like Chicago, the first six months, no one talks to you. Everyone hates you because so many people start doing standup comedy. And so people who are, who do it regularly. that burned out because they're like, I've met 130 people in the last six months. Yeah. But once you make it and like, and my friend warned me about that and I was like, oh, it's all good. You know, I'm like, I'm not worried. I'm just kind of doing the thing I want to try and do. But it was like, once, once I hit like half a year, once I hit like eight, nine months, people are, they were so supportive because they went because the. mentality was we're all in this together and none of us can make it without each other because who books the gigs? Well, we all book gigs for each other. Yeah. You know, who's backstage? We're all backstage together. Yeah, exactly. Um, and it's a, it's a hard hustle. Yeah. So I guess this kind of leads into my next thing, but like if you're a comedian or other, like creative listening to you, listen to this now. Uh, The one thing I want to impress on to you is you need to learn how to run your own events. Because like, I don't even know where to start with this. It's like, even if you're running a fringe show, like you've done plenty of fringe festivals, right, Stephen? I have. So like if you're a comic- Some of them successfully. I one day hope to learn what that feels like. I mean, I actually, I should take a moment to take off my New Zealand hat and go, I haven't lost money on a festival show in over 10 years. Nice. Yeah. And that is a nice thing. I do forget that it's like, it is hard to, I mean, are there ones where I've come close to not making money? For sure. But it is that thing of like, you need to know why you're doing these things. And like the ones that I really cut it close on were ones where I was doing the show not to make money, but because I wanted to work the show. Yeah, yeah. So the reason I bring fringe festivals into it is because like, there are very, very few dedicated comedy rooms around New Zealand. The expression I use is they're not. they're not popping up like F-45s, at least not within our lifetime. Like maybe in the next 50 years, you'll see a few more of them. But as for right now, if you're a comic that's sort of like in your 20s or even your 30s, 40s, that kind of thing, probably like there's no American club circus, basically what I'm trying to say. You know, in America, you can just do like the yuck yucks or whatever, and you can just do all the ones around the States and that's how you make your living as a comic. Like if you're going to be doing it here. 90% of the time you're going to be running it yourself. You're going to be bringing the gear, you're going to be setting up the gear, you're going to be doing the tech for yourself, you're going to be tearing tickets at the door, you're going to be promoting it, you're going to be standing on the corner of a street with a flyer in your hand trying to get people to come in. Like, people don't do this for you in New Zealand at least anyways. Maybe Australia is a little bit different. I'm not really too sure. I think Australia, yeah, you can. You can find those people a little bit easier, but it is the same of like New Zealand. You're not, you know, you are going to have to be at a very specific level. Don't get me wrong. There's, there's people who are definitely at the level. There's also, you know, probably about 50 comedians in New Zealand who are at the level that they could definitely have a manager because they're that good. But the money just isn't there for producers to step up. Yeah. Like they're going to go, Oh, I'd. Really love to put in all of this time to make your career. Whereas in the U S there is those financial gains. Australia, I'd love to know more about it. And it is also being open to Australia and going like, Oh my goodness, there is a whole country next door that you can go and hang out in. Exactly. Yeah. Um, so yeah, you like, uh, I'm trying to drill this time. You need to learn how to run your own things because even if you do a French festival. If you're one of the comics that is used to just turning up at a venue and the producers booked everything and it's all run for you and literally all you're doing is you're set on the night and then you're leaving straight away, it's like you are really going to have a reality check when you go to a fringe festival and realize it's all on your shoulders. Even the International Comedy Fest, I'm pretty sure you still have to push the tickets yourself. You can see how many tickets you've sold. think you have to set up the room beforehand. I'm not quite sure, but like the point of no, they have the venues also ordered and but yeah, well, put it this way, but it is still, you need to be out there hustling. Like if you, if you get into the New Zealand comedy festival and go, I can't wait for them to bring me an audience, then the comedy festival is going to go, we can't wait for you to not be in our festival because you don't want to do the work. And it is a partnership. You've both got to, you know, and And every, every festival is different. And which is why it's so important to talk to the festival and see what their expectations are. I think you would also go, there'll be people who are listening, who might be going, dear God, I never want to produce a show, produce a show so that you at the very least appreciate how exhausting it is for people to produce shows. Because I don't think people realize like that's how often comedians drop out of shows. how often you go into a venue and they're like, Oh yeah, we're not going to stop the music playing. You can just, you know, put your amp in the corner and it'll be fine. And you just go, Oh, and all of these things are, you have to do all of those things. And then you have to MC the show. Because you're like, Oh God, I want to make this sustainable. Exactly. And that's the thing is even if you're not really selling this as a positive, are we? But here's the thing though. It's like, You're only going to get so far if you cannot do these things. Like you're, if you're constantly waiting for somebody else to give you the nod, to give you a spot to progress, like you're going to be, it's going to take a long, long time. And like, I would, I would caveat that with there are people, there are people who, you know, breakthrough, who are lifted up, who producers see, you know, who they go, yes, you and you will be lifted up. But. Yeah. Most of those people are people who are hustling and working hard and getting the things done. Yeah. And also it is, we're in an industry that feels a little bit like playing the lottery, you know, um, but it's not playing the lottery, it's sowing seeds and not every seed is going to germinate. Yeah. So you, you know, we want to be out there sowing seeds and working out what the crop is that we most enjoy harvesting. Metaphor. Yeah. Yeah, no, that's a great way to put it. So yeah, my, uh, again, to reiterate, like, and cause it will make you, it will make you a more professional performer as well. If you, um, experience things such as you're producing a show and the first act hasn't turned up yet. And you'll realize, Oh right. That's actually really stressful when I do that to the producer and you will learn. how much it sucks to be staring at the ticket count and seeing that it's like two tickets sold until a few days before the show. And then, cause I mean, I don't know what it's like the rest of the country, but Kentabrians, they tend to buy the tickets like the afternoon of the show. So it's a horrible, that is where New Zealand's at right now. Yeah. And that is, that is something that, you know, is, and you'll have shows that have regular packed out shows, but you can still talk to the producer and they're like, oh yeah. two days ago for sales. Exactly. And so it'll just make you a more bookable act because you will have sympathy for the producer who like probably is not getting paid that much more than you are for doing the spot. And then as well, the reason, like if you're running your own open mic, like this could almost be like another podcast, but in a nutshell, if you want to start running your own show, All you need to do is find a bar with a decent space on the floor, go in and talk to the either the manager or the owner, sometimes it's the same person, find out what a quiet night they have is, and then say we could probably bring like 10 to 15 people in here for an open mic, get an event on Facebook, get it on Event Finder, maybe run a sponsored post on Facebook ads, any local comedians who want help with this, I'm more than happy to teach you how to do all this. And the thing is, if you're just doing spots, you're getting probably like, what, eight minutes of stage time every week. But if you're running your own open mic where you're hosting it every week, you've got like 10 to 15 minutes every week at the top of the show as the emcee. Plus you've got like a minute between each act. You've got a little like two or three minutes at the end to wrap it up. That's like really easily turning into 20 minutes of stage time, which turns into experience, which will make you more comfortable on stage, which will then... translate to a lot of other things. Plus you're learning how to deal with venue owners, which is a skill that you're gonna need if you're booking your own tours. And a lot of comics, I think, don't really know what the venue owner care about and don't care about. Like the venue owner, honestly, quite often don't care if it's a good show. They just care if there's numbers in their venue. That's really all they want. So... And when they say numbers, they don't mean people. They mean are people spending money? Yeah. And that's not about drinking. That's just, are they there? Are they participating? And a lot of those venues too, is they're going, we want people in here on a quiet night to train them to come back for the loud nights. Yes, that's true. That's one thing that recently I've learnt about hospo is that it actually doesn't matter how many, like you could have the place ram, but if they're only drinking water, the bar actually don't, that's not good for them. Yeah. And you're allowed to have that conversation with bar owners, like go in and set that expectation. They will tell you, and if they don't tell you, it's probably not good news or it's very good news. And both of those you want to know about. So like when I run gigs, I go, great, what's your goal? Like what do you want to take over the bar? Because now we have something that we can actually use as a metric, because it doesn't matter where the shows are stinky or great. We're going to build them up. Are we on the same page? Because also they should be paying you. If it's a free show to the audience, they should be paying you to put it on. And they're only going to be able to pay you to put it on if they're making money over the bar. So ask them how much they need to make. Got set an expectation so that you can pay yourself and pay yourself as that MC. Because if you can't make it one week, you better have some money set aside to pay someone else to MC. Yep. Um, and if you're like, oh yeah, but there just, uh, isn't the resources there. Find some friends and make it a fun thing where you don't have to host each week. You can take turns, you know, setting it up. Two people running a mic can be, um, fantastic. Cause then if one of you can't do it or whatever. Um, and then also you've got someone to lean on. Like it's, I feel like producing is pretty, I don't want to say lonely, but it's very like, uh, people don't. They don't understand going out. Yeah. They don't really get what you're going through each week just to make the show happen. Um, so at least if you have two or three people in a little kind of crew running it, um, you've got some sympathy and you've got some support from, from a couple of people. Um, and it also keeps the energy up. Cause we used to run an open mic called comedy on K and there were four of us producing it, which just meant we each took a week. You know, so you just go like, Hey, I'm going to MC and produce this week. Yeah. If you want a spot, then you can get a spot because it's awesome. Because then your friends know, great. I can just get a spot whenever I want one. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But then it also means you're not constantly going, Oh dear God, is this working? Now you've got three friends or you've got two friends. You've got one friend who's like, it is working. We just need to do maybe this or maybe that. Yeah. So we talked. a lot about like, yeah, that's getting things up and going, that's running things. And I know that it's tough like splitting all of your time and having to do a bunch of different things. So I want to, I want to like, do a bit of a bit of a silly question is like, like for you, what's been like the most unexpected part of like moving into comedy? It's such a good question. But like, I guess I'm going to try and limit it to what's been surprising about this recent phase of moving into like doing it full time. And I think honestly, the most surprising thing that is it actually seems to be working out. Like, I've been one of those people that like, I tend to like having stability. Just, you know, like I've had jobs that I should have quit much earlier than I did, but didn't really want to because the fear of having no stability and thinking like what, you know, what could happen was greater than... much I disliked the job, was unhappy in the job. And I've been actually shocked at how I, for the most part, haven't been kept up late at night with stress over money or like it's not working. And the transition has been really weirdly natural, I think. And I suspect that's because I've been doing it for so long. And even when I was working, you know, 40 hours a week, I was probably still doing like another 20 or 30 on top of that of comedy. admin and promoting and booking and design and all that kind of stuff. So like, I don't really feel like I'm, it's weird. I often joke and refer to myself as being fun employed. But my roommate the other day said something like, you're the least unemployed, unemployed person I've ever met or something. So yeah, I think that's been my biggest shock is that it actually seems to be working out. One thing that I attribute to the fact that it's kind of working as well is something you have to do if you're doing this kind of thing full-time, especially if you're not a superstar, is maintaining relationships with people and whether they're like, you know, professional ones with other performers and venue owners is a big one. But then also even just like people who come out to the shows and our fans can, if they get chatting to you, you get chatting to them and you kind of strike up a friendship and they like what you do, they're kind of also more like a friend than a fan or whatever. Quite often that will turn into a business opportunity because they have a Christmas party or something they want to do. So like, that's a big one. And this comes back to the individualism of comedy is I feel like in a lot of cases, comedians are really willing to burn a bridge and now fuck them. They can fuck off. I don't want anything to do with them and blah, blah. But A great phrase I heard years ago was, this was actually Julie who used to own the Kensington Fun House, which was my first kind of like home room. She said something to the effect of consider the value of a bridge before burning it. And I think that's a great mindset to have for someone who's trying to make it as like a local entertainer, whatever it is like, even if you're not working with someone anymore, even if the show like, how do I put this? just not working. You're running a show and you feel like you're not getting support from the venue. The venue feels like you're not getting enough people in to make it worthwhile and stuff like this doesn't have to turn into a big finger pointing thing where you say, you're not supporting us and they're like, I know you're not doing what you got to do. And it can just be like, hey, it's not working out, but let's keep the door open for something in the future. And then you stay on good terms with them and then you never know what's going to happen. You might, you know, you might be booking. So many of these little act, these little rooms that I've done over the years are actually ones that we're using on this tour with David Corrios that I'm going on. And that's all just because I've been, I've stayed on good terms with so many venues, even if we don't use them a lot anymore, um, just having the option there actually worked out really well for booking this tour. Yeah. And I think, I mean, for me, I always approach it as being like, what are the win-win situations and, um, You know, and it is tough in comedy because, you know, some of the people that we work with, you know, some of us have got issues. Some of us are going to, you know, this. Yeah, there's a million different reasons you can get into comedy, but also it is, um, I think it's surround yourself with the people who, um, lift you up emotionally. Um, and, uh, there's no reason to burn people. but also just be aware of people and just being honest of like, um, I struggle with being open with people cause I'm a people pleaser, but I'll tell you what producing shows has really helped me overcome that. You know, we had a venue where we were doing great, but the venue went, look, we're just not taking enough money over the bar. And I was like, you went from $500 on a Wednesday to two and a half thousand dollars. How is this a bad situation? And they went, we want more money. And I went, that is so valid. Yeah. We all want more money because that's capitalism, but this isn't going to work for us. And so I stepped away from a paying gig because I was like, we're not going to be able to make this person happy. Yeah. In this scenario. That's not a, I didn't go, if you, you know, how do you or any of these things, we're running a great gig, getting 40 people in here a week. I went, no, that's all cool. Yeah. Do this somewhere else. And it is also a numbers game in terms of say thank you. say good day and move on to the next thing. Yeah, exactly. Um, I, so, uh, we have it like, so a bunch of the questions we've asked today have been questions that people, um, sent you through Facebook and things like that. Um, so I thought this was a good one to bring into that is that, um, someone asked like, you know, should I be using my Facebook page like exclusively for posting when I'm doing gigs, where I'm doing them, sharing stories about how it goes, you know, sharing, uh, you know, or. You know, is it about, should it be like curating your personality and like, oh, here's my lunch, you know? Yeah. Or is it just the, and then what did they say? Or, or, you know, should I just be there so no one can pretend to be me? Which I guess is like, they're talking about the social media land banking, right? Of like going like, oh, I got to go on TikTok and make sure no one else's a S T E L Y O N S. Yeah. Good plug. That's me. He's going to follow my TikTok. Get after it. The. This is a tricky one is like, I'm probably the wrong person to ask for this because I feel like you have to, when you're doing social media, you have to do it in a way that's not going to wear you out mentally. Like I, a lot of people that listen to this podcast will know that I had a big punter trying to make stuff on YouTube happen. I tried doing a few TikToks. I've have dabbled in posting jokes on Twitter, but I think ultimately for it to be, um, worthwhile. It has to be something where you enjoy the process. And that's why I've settled on podcasting as my attempt to... Because I feel like most comedians have to have something that they try and drive their sales through, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, whatever it is, a lot of them have a podcast. And for me, the process of making the podcast is enjoyable. So that's why it doesn't feel like a chore for me to do it. Whereas if I'm out and about my brain is never wired to think to myself like, oh, I should take a photo of this and post it on the gram or whatever. Because I think the correct answer to this would be like, and this is something I heard James Roquet say was, you need to have like, nine funny or interesting posts for every one come to my gig post. Which is probably also why I don't have a huge following on social medias because- Like a hundred percent of what I post is just like come to my gig posts. Um, like you say, it's, I think it's finding, um, the things that are sustainable for you and those are always going to be like for me, I struggle with Tik TOK not because I don't know how to use it or I'm not inspired. I struggle with it because I'm old and not in the way that you're thinking. I'm old. I did vine. You know, like I, you know, I uploaded hundreds of videos to Vine and had an amazing time doing it. I had a really fun time just pumping stuff out, but that's cause I had friends. We were collaborating. We were doing a bunch of stuff. Exactly. Um, I'm not against TikTok, but for me, I haven't found my rhythm for it. Yep. Uh, podcasting is great because it has a structured rhythm, right? Is you know, when you've got to release something and it's also, it sets a clear expectation. With TikTok, how often are you meant to post? Minimum three times a week. Dear God, I can't, I'm sleepy. Exactly, yeah. It's that thing where I think you have to find. It's almost like, do you remember those old commercials that would be like, you know, it's the something that fits in with your lifestyle and it was, you know, like a blender or something. And I feel like that's when you select your social media and how you use it, it has to be something that you're basically enjoying or already doing. So if you're, I feel like A lot of people tell me I should be tweeting because I write a lot of short jokes and it's possible but for me, the thing that puts me off Twitter is like, because they, all social media is to be honest now, it's like your own feed is not your own anymore. They funnel stuff in that they think you're lying. And for some reason, I suppose this is probably just because of my political leanings, it somehow gets this. But I just get sent all this like doom and gloom on. on Twitter about how horrible the world is. And it's all American stuff, which is like, you know, compared to New Zealand, I think, um, there's a lot more chaos going on over there and it just depresses me to be on Twitter. Like it's all just like, I deleted, I mean, it is, it's October, 2023. Is Twitter even still a thing? Literally no. But conceptually it is that thing of going, we're in an in-between time. You know, we can go, I'll go over to threads and it's like, Oh, I can't wait to have four followers and no one responds to the things that I do. But it is that thing of finding, finding the stuff that makes you happy. Cause it's also you writing short jokes. You're not writing those short jokes, you know, to put in a little thing and then have it land amongst a thousand conspiracy theories. The fun of those short jokes is they're succinct. And when you're on stage, you can be like, what about this? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I think. to the long-winded answer to that question is, yeah, just do what you enjoy and create the type of stuff you want to see. I think weirdly I've gotten more low tech as I get older, this is probably accurate, but social medias and stuff, they come and go and they rise and fall and all that kind of thing. But like, you know, the good old email list has been around since the dawn of time and probably is not going anywhere because you basically need an email address for everything. Um, the other thing you use, are you on a MailChimp, Clavio? Do you have another one? Yeah, we use Clavio. Um, I don't, I don't post stuff on it as much as I probably should because I'm really trying to be like cautious with how much I feel like we're bothering people. Um, but I have done, yeah, I have done, uh, mailing lists and stuff before. And that's actually probably not a bad reminder to do one, um, for this tour with David, the, um, yeah, mailing list. Good. And then the other thing I was going to say is, yeah, podcasts are all done through RSS feeds, which again is like, you know, since the beginning of the internet. So, uh, pretty stable, I would say. Uh, it's just about which podcast listening app you use, but they all use the RSS feed to like populate your, the inside of your app. So yeah, I think they're going to be around for a long time. Um, we've, I said we were only going to do eight minutes of this, but let's, uh, let's wrap this one up. Um, I hope this isn't, this isn't on me. We said we'd keep this short because normally I talk long, but the good news is I've been keeping an eye on it. It's you. This is all your fault. It's totally me. Yeah. I apologize listeners. Uh, let's, let's wrap it up on one. Um, one more question, which is just like, um, how, uh, like how important a role in your career as a comedian, do you think Denny's has been? Well, I will end on this quote and I can, I can say unequivocally that I would not be nearly half the man I am today, uh, without Denny's in my life. The listeners won't be able to see this, but you are just looking off into the distance. Like you're just dreaming. You're just like, yes, Denny's, Denny's. Oh, there's always something at Denny's. Is that the slogan? It is. Uh, it was from a Pat Nozwalt joke. I don't know if it still is, but yeah, apparently there was a commercial where the phrase was it's always sunny at Denny's. It's always sunny at Denny's. Shout out to Craig for that question. I appreciate you. I love it. And I think that it's, um, are there any parting thoughts or do we wrap up? How do you normally wrap these bad boys up? Uh, uh, Taylor, where can we find you on social media? Oh, yeah. Good point. Is that how we do an outro for your show? True it is. So yeah, all my social media is at Taylor Riddle Comedy on all the platforms, except Twitter, where I'm just Taylor Riddle. But as I said before, I don't really tweet that much. Don't worry about it. What about you, Stephen? Where can we find you online? We can also catch you with all of your latest updates at Can Do Comedy on Facebook. I appreciate that. Um, I also have a, um, I'm part of a little bit of an umbrella. So paper goat is the best place to find me paper goat in Zed on Facebook. Uh, you can also find me at Steven Lyons comedy, um, on tick tock, Instagram, uh, all of those things. But I, I would love to say it's been so great to get to talk to you and, um, you know, we're both still, we're, we're trying to make this work. Yeah. And so I think it's so cool to be able to have this conversation. And my hope is that if you're listening to this and you made it this far, then try and make it work, like throw, roll the dice, have some fun, um, and produce some shows, take some risks, manage, don't, don't put on a show and then put your life savings into it. That's not how this works. Put on a show, you know, put $50 into advertising, you know, put a hundred dollars into getting a great MC to come and pump up the crowd, you know. Find those ways that you can empower yourself and share the joy with the people around you. And remember that like, comedy's an art form. Yeah, and how cool is it that we get to do this art form? But the best way that we get to keep doing this art form is by making a little bit of money so it's sustainable. And so that we can keep building year after year. in the hopes that one day we don't need that runway anymore because our plane's in the air. What a fantastic way to end that. No notes. I don't have anything to add to that. I appreciate it. You've been listening to... They Ain't Lion? Is that what I called it? No, you've been listening to Ruddle Me This and we'll be back next time with your incredible host Taylor Ruddle. I've been Stephen Lyons. Thanks Stephen.

Podcasts we love