This article is from the Stand-up Comedy FAQ, by Steven Rosenthal and Steve Silberberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
A. Corporate gigs can range anywhere from a banquet hall in the Four
Seasons to an area cordoned off by an accordian pull-divider in the back of
a Shoney's. The one consistent element is that no one ever thinks you'll
need a microphone or lighting, because you're a professional. If there is a
mic, it's usually attached to a podium, leaving you delivering your act
like a White House Press Secretary at an official briefing.
You're generally stuck into the program immediately after a large meal has
been consumed, during what is traditionally the 'drinking and napping'
hour. If they aren't dining, you will follow a Senior Vice-President with
no sense of timing who would walk half the room, if they were allowed to go
You can do well at corporate gigs if you stick to your act (if it's not
overly offensive), but that they'll gladly carry you around the banquet
room on their shoulders if you slam The Boss. It's as simple as that.
Learn his name, and at some point in your act, use it where you would
normally say the word "asshole". NOTE: Don't use this tried and true
technique in conventions held by religious organizations.
In closing, corporate gigs do very little to enhance the edginess of your
act, but they pay anywhere from 2 to 10 times better than the average one
nighter, less 40% for the booker who answered the phone and then called