I like to think of myself as a simple person most of the time. In that vein, when I go out, I don't expect too much. If you are a restaurant, I expect the food to be well cooked, the selection to be decent and the service to be at least competent and courteous.
When it comes to entertainment, I expect the movie to be entertaining, the ballgame to be such and if I am at a club to listen to live music, I would hope the band would be professional and entertaining.
When you go to a comedy club you have an expectation that the comic will be funny. The theory is that if the comic has made it to that point, he or she is probably very funny.
That being said, even if the material is very weak, the audience laughs. Because of this club owners (who really don't care if the comic is funny) continue to hire them because they get large crowds who buy drinks.
This is a situation that perpetuates itself to the point that many successful stand ups these days are not very funny or original at all.
The reality is that once "everybody knows your name" it doesn't matter anymore. Except to those who actually want to be entertained by a fresh, original, well thought out routine.
I don't go out to comedy clubs that much anymore, but I have to say that when I do, the quality of the comedians is horrific. What passes for a stage act these days is simply hard to believe. I know that it takes a lot of guts to get up on stage and tell jokes or sing songs, and I respect that, but my beef is mainly with the club owners.
If you expect me to pay 40 bucks for a ticket, plus 30 bucks plus tip for drinks and dinner, times two, then you better make sure that you screen the act you put on stage and I get my money's worth. Or else, I am not coming back.
The last two times I went to a comedy club, a well known chain in my town, were highly disappointing, and more than half the place was empty. It is not surprising. This chain, which used to be relatively small, now has a club in every major city in Canada, and in Toronto has about 7 or 8. Clearly there are not enough talented comedians to go around.
You can only rely on your name for so long to get people to come. I know that now I think twice before going out to this club, because I am not sure it is worth the money. Once that happens, your good will is gone. And at some point, so is your business.
And that...isn't funny at all if you own the club.
Below I have listed some funny comedians, some of who I have seen live or want to see live.