Overcoming objections to having a stand-up comedy show for a corporation, charity or house of worship

Written by Shaun Eli, founder of The Ivy League of Comedy

I’ve been a comedy writer for more than three decades and a performing comedian for almost two. It’s easy for me to come up with lots of original comedy material and entertain audiences. That’s what I do.

One of my occasional challenges in booking comedy shows in non-traditional venues (i.e., other than nightclubs) is overcoming the misconception that even my clean, corporate-friendly comedy might not be appropriate for a house of worship nor for a serious corporate event or conference.

Certainly the same people who’d love a typical fun show at a comedy club might be uncomfortable with the same type of show at their synagogue, out with their boss, or in front of clients.
I would be too

Shaun Eli posing at Broadway Comedy Club
Shaun Eli during a photo shoot for The New York Times

And that’s exactly why I created The Ivy League of Comedy. I was working in industry when I started as a comedian. Colleagues would see me in shows and often say something like “You’re funny and your comedy’s clean. I’d love to take clients to a show you’re in but the other comedians are dirty so I can’t do that. Where are the clean shows?”

And there weren’t really any. So I founded The Ivy League of Comedy for exactly that reason. Our shows are clean, smart and worry-free. They’re shows that law firms can bring clients to. Shows that you can bring to your temple or church. Shows that entertain your members and guests and make YOU look good.


Still have worries? Your objections may be legitimate but they are by no means insurmountable. 

Here’s what I sometimes hear when pitching a comedy show:

We don’t have comedy shows. Not yet. But you should. Whenever you do something for the first time, it’s novel and a change from what you’re used to having (or not having). But without change there is no progress. Electricity, a national currency, democracy– these things were all new at one point and they seem to have worked out rather well. So will your first comedy show. And even better than that? Your second show! When everybody from the first show returns, bringing along everyone they told about it!

It might be too expensive. You’ll be surprised by how little a show costs, even with comics you’ve seen on television. It won’t be the first thing I tell you when you call but I will get to the cost within the first couple of minutes of our phone call.

We are worried about inappropriate content. Ah, playing right into my strong suit! That’s why The Ivy League of Comedy exists– clean, smart comedy in a showcase specifically created to remove that worry.

We tried it once but it didn’t work. It’s a challenge for us to overcome the memory of a bad show that someone else did (until we do our show and then all’s well). If you’d hired a bad band you’d say “That band stinks.” But when people see an unprofessional comedy show they don’t think “We hired the wrong comedians” or “That booker sent us comics who were unprepared” they just think “Comedy doesn’t work here.” And that’s wrong– stand-up comedy WILL work wonderfully for your corporation or industry event, or your temple or church, YMCA or JCC, community center or senior citizens center. Okay, not if you pay a booker $500… who keeps half of it, hires one comic for $250 and then fills the rest of the bill with unpaid amateurs. We don’t do that– If I emcee a show, I pay myself just to emcee, pay the other comics, and there’s no middle-man booker. So your show will be better and less expensive than anything a booking agency can put together. Some agencies and speakers bureaus keep half the money for themselves. Yes, half! We’re not that greedy- and that’s one of many reasons comedians love working with us.

Shaun Eli
Comedian, Executive Director & Chief Chocolate Officer
The Ivy League of Comedysm
Liberty Comedy Corp.
Call or text us at (914) it’s-funny (914) 487-3866 or email
Shaun {at} TheIvyLeagueofComedy {dot} com