Free Friday Funnies: Comedians-in-the-Park

Posted: July 11, 2012 in Events
Tags: , ,

I had the idea, for this event, back when the TV station I worked at was doing the annual summer movies-in-the-park events, called FREE FRIDAY FLIX.  I wanted to do something similar, but something that had more of a tie-in to the TV shows on our station.  We weren”t a “news station” and we weren’t a kid friendly station.  We were mostly watched for the weeknight comedies we had.  So instead of Movies-In-The-Park, I thought why not Comedians-In-The-Park?  We could have TV personalities emcee the event, and maybe even fly in a few “stars” from the comedies, to get people to come out and either “judge” an event, or if they had a stand-up background…do a comedy set.

In the beginning, I pictured this event tied to all of the stations in the group – in multiple markets.  For example, if we were launching a show like “Rules of Engagement” on every station the company owned throughout the USA, I would suggest contacting Sony and seeing if David Spade was available to “help launch the show in syndication” on all of our stations.  He would travel from market to market and pull this off to help promotionally launch his show.  Ideally it would take place in June, when stars were usually still available, and not back in Production for the new season.

I finally was given permission to initiate the event at the Albuquerque duopoly only and see how it went.  I worked with a local Comedy Club and tied in their annual Southwest Comedy Laugh Off Event.  The first stage of it was to recruit local comedians to be in the competition…

Over the summer we had a smaller event at the comedy club each week to audition local comedians for the competition at our main event.  The comedy club benefited from this, and they helped us with booking the main act.

So now it was time to promote the actual event that was free to the public.  The night was hosted by Comedian/Weatherman Mitch English from our morning show THE DAILY BUZZ.  We negotiated all summer long to get some of the comedy stars from the show to come out, but ended up not having much luck.  Bad timing on waiting until the end of the summer instead of my recommended June date.  So we booked comedian Kevin Meaney as the headliner.  We partnered with a local radio station, and had Kevin make an appearance on their morning show to promote the event.  Their morning show team were the judges for naming the best local comic.  We set up booths for our clients, and gave away goodie bags to all who attended.

As we mention in the promo, we took some of the winner’s material and cut it into 5 short form segments that aired during one of our designated comedies.

Overall, it was well attended, well reviewed, and ran pretty smoothly.  We did involve our clients and made some money off it too.  Plus we completed a community event for the year.  The downside…it was a little on the expensive side.  But I think that was because we were dealing with the city of Albuquerque and all of their fees and restrictions.   It really boosted the cost up.   I think having it at an outdoor private venue might have reduced those costs a lot.  The other factor that might make it cheaper in the future was if we did the multi-market thing, and reduced the costs of the talent and other things by making a group deal instead of only one market.

Shortly after this event was over, we found out our group was going to be sold off.  So unfortunately, we never were able to make he multi-market event happen.  Maybe with the next group I work for?

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