NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — On Thursday, Feb. 10 the NY Comedians Coalition met at the AFTRA offices and ratified the proposals for raises offered by every comedy club in NYC. They issued this statement: Through tireless negotiations we were able to avert a work stoppage and secure a significant pay raise for comics. As with any with negotiation, both sides had to step back from their initial demands in order to reach a compromise.
The coalition always believed that a pay raise was in the interest of the entire comedy community and with this deal behind us we feel positive about the clubs and comics working together in a spirit of collaboration.
Our success was not only in securing a pay raise but doing so in a professional manner that maintained strong relationships between clubs and comics. We look forward to the future.
The Washington Post wrote, "A dramatic increase like this is amazing," says Buddy Bolton, a coalition board member. "In some cases we're talking about a 250 percent hike in pay."
That doesn't mean anyone here is about to get rich. It turns out that in the nation's capital of stand-up, the money is — how else to put this? — kind of a joke. As a result of the coalition's agitations, some clubs went from offering about $65 for a weekend slot to $75. (Some will go to $85 next month.) But that's the high end, for coveted Friday- and Saturday-night gigs. On weeknights, some clubs have been paying as little as $5 a set. More typical was $20.
"I have financial cancer," moaned comic Rich Aronovitch, 29, as he left the meeting. "I owe ConEd $790, I owe $1,200 in rent."
Aronovitch wasn't exactly radiating triumph. "We're all happy and dancing around, but really, we've gone from not being able to make a living to not being able to make a living. This is a good step in the right direction, but not a major victory."