NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — New York City comedians have banded together to form the New York Comedians Coalition in hopes that by unionizing they will be able to force comedy clubs to increase their wages.
The group of over 300 comedians, led by comics Russ Meneve and Ted Alexandro, have sent out letters to New York’s best comedy clubs demanding a raise and threatening to go on strike if they do not reach an agreement.
"We've been making the same wage since 1985," Alexandro told Rueters. "A comic working 12 to 14 shows a week grosses barely over $20,000 a year from the New York clubs.”
The average pay for NYC comedians is $60-$75 for a weekend set and $15-$25 for a twenty minute weekday show. Comics point to the discrepancy between the rise in admission fees and drink prices over the past two decades and the rise in comedians’ wages, which had barely changed.
Chris Mazzilli, a comedian-turned-club-owner, has agreed to pay comics who perform at his club $10 more but contends that club owners in New York have more expenses than elsewhere in the country. "Clubs cost a lot of money to run. New York City is different: Your rent factor is much higher and your insurance is much higher." –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers