Comedians are artists who perform in front of a crowd with the purpose of getting laughter out of them. A comedian can employ a large variety of tools and styles to accomplish their goal, including puppets (a practice called ventriloquism), a partnership with another comedian (the most common type being two sharply contrasting characters for maximum comedic effect), or performing pranks and gags on the crowd themselves. Comedians may work as part of an entertainment routine, or on their own, some even running their own shows centered around their acts.
Since the job is an artistic one, there are no requirements for becoming a comedian. Experience and style are the two factors that determine a comedian’s success, and usually those who turn out the most successful are those who employ unusual and innovative elements in their routines. There are specialized courses for teaching some aspects of the comedian trade, but most of the skills are developed through practice. Many clubs offer time spots for comedians in an effort to help newcomers to the trade build up some reputation.
Comedians, being a type of artists, don’t really have an average annual pay rate. The salary of the performer depends solely on their own skills, experience and innovation, and beginner comedians tend to get paid around $30 – $50 per performance. The earnings tend to quickly increase if the comedian manages to build up a crowd of followers though, and some clubs are willing to pay $2000 – $5000 for a single performance to better-known comedians. For established professionals, the annual earnings can vary between $20,000 and $100,000, with some of the better ones earning well over $100,000.