4 Quirky Steps That Helped Me Earn a Livable Salary in Comedy

4 Quirky Steps That Helped Me Earn a Livable Salary in Comedy

by Comedian Mickey Housley

The average salary for a teacher starting out is a shade under 40k a year. After almost a decade of performing at a bathroom attendant’s salary, I was finally able to crack the ballpark of a teacher’s salary. Albeit a new teacher without summer school pay. I will share with you 4 unorthodox nuggets that got me there. Cause let’s be real. We all want to snag a few extra bucks.

1. Make a New Year’s resolution and then bail on it

Seriously? You bet! I mean who really keeps up with resolutions for the whole year anyway. At the beginning of 2015, I made a resolution to email agencies and comedy clubs every day, like a disciplined and hungry comedian should.

I would go to Starbucks, whip out my laptop and get to email. I did this for roughly two weeks and then I stopped when I felt I wasn’t getting enough replies. That’s when the magic began.

Two months later a college agency, (cough cough Neon) reaches out to me. Having a good agent has been a boon, not only to my income but my social media presence as well. Had I not given up on my goal I might’ve landed a bad agent. I guess it’s better to have a little faith and lose it than to never have faith at all.

2. Tell your boss “This job is for the birds and I’m a Star!”

Seriously? Maybe not in those exact words.

However, in my first full year as a self-employed comedian, I saw my comedy income double. Now, this isn’t for everyone. I know several comedians personally that are making CEO salary in comedy and still work their day jobs.

Also, this wasn’t my first time quitting my job to pursue showbiz full-time. I failed at it twice before because I honestly wasn’t ready. I didn’t have enough experience and connections. Furthermore, I wasn’t married to someone in the financial field like I am now. Which brings me to my next golden nugget.

3. Find someone you can mooch off for a while

Seriously? Yeah, kind of. In a dream world, I would’ve liked to have stayed with my parents until my career took off, as many college kids do. Unfortunately, there were two problems. For starters I wasn’t going to college and secondly; my dad had allergic reactions to anyone living in his house without a job.

So, I stayed with my girlfriend and her parents until we decided to get married and move to Chicago, where she would get a job as an accountant. Her income has kept the lights on when I’ve had a bad month. Unfortunately, we couldn’t save the cable. #ThankYouFireStick

4. Keep a diary that contains other comedians’ dark secrets

Seriously? Okay, this time joking but I do think more comedians should keep a journal. We all have unique and amazing stories to share even if it’s just with ourselves. Aside from myself I only know one other comedian that keeps a journal.

Fortunately, I was able to turn mine into a book and create an extra source of revenue. Having merchandise is huge for an artist. Some guys are very good at marketing their products. And then you have people like me that are horrible at it. I’d get too shy to promote my merch and would end up wearing my shirts or losing wristbands.

Having a book, however, has vastly increased my conviction that I have value to offer aside from stage my performance. Few comedians have something to offer for the readers and books essentially sell themselves.


Looking for clean comedy?  Mickey Housley is your guy! Mickey feels that swearing is a cheap way to buy a laugh that he can’t financially afford.  However, if you can afford time to check out Mickey live, it would be wise to do so. Call or text your Neon Agent at 716-836-6366 for booking information.


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