Gong Show With The Wind...

Our "Show Me The Funny Guarantee" is simple. If you are not satisfied with the quality or content of our performance, you don't pay. No funny, no money. We understand that hiring an act for the first time, especially comedy, can feel risky. We want our clients to be as confident as we are that the show will be a fantastic success. Occasionally someone asks if we have ever had to give someone their money back. The answer is yes...once.

We have had our Show Me The Funny Guarantee for about eight years now. We had been offering the guarantee for a couple of years when we booked a show for a large University in Texas. The client was really trying to work us on the cost. The client also kept asking A LOT of questions about our guarantee, how it worked, what it included, were there any exceptions, etc. Looking back, that should have been a red flag.

When we arrived on campus, the gong show began. Our stage was set up in the main street on Campus with different activities happening for the students at the same time. We were aware of this ahead of time, so no big deal. Unfortunately, however, there was also a wind whipping down the street. We hoped the wireless mics they had for us wouldn't pick up too much wind. Thing is, they didn't have the mics we needed. Our rider asks for three wireless mics that are either headsets or lapels, so we can be without tethers and hands free for our energetic improv show. What they had for us was one wireless lapel and two corded hand held mics. I asked the student leader if he had read our rider, he said yes, but they couldn't get the stuff we needed. This is all they had. To make matters worse, just as the emcee was taking the stage to introduce us, another student hopped up, took the mic from him and said, "Hold up, I've got an announcement y'all." She then announced a barbecue with free burgers and drinks the school was putting on across campus. Needless to say, the majority of the college kids cleared out.

Following the exodus we took the stage and did our best. We were all trying not to get tangled in the cords of the two hand held mics. Also, the one wireless mic was feeding back terribly, and the wind was whipping through all three mics. Admittedly, it was a rough show and not very entertaining. There was screeching feedback, and tripping, tangled actors trying to shout above the wind. Would you enjoy the show?

After the performance we were called in to talk to some staff that were administrating the event. I remember joking to Russ and Elijah, "Watch, this is where they ask for their money back." Unfortunately, I was right. They said that the show was not as entertaining as they thought it would be, was not well attended, and per our guarantee, wanted a full refund. I mentioned that they had not provided the equipment needed to do a great show, and had cleared our full audience prior to the show. They held their ground and said the guarantee simply stated that if they were not happy, they got their money back. It's true, that's what our guarantee said. I took the high ground and gave them a full refund. It was a long, frustrating plane ride home.

Lesson Learned:

We still have the utmost confidence in our performance and still offer a full money back guarantee without reservation. It's a pleasure to offer this confidence to our clients. HOWEVER, following our Texas debacle we also realized we need to protect ourselves from problems that are truly out of our control, and from those who may seek to take advantage of us. In our rider's explanation of the Show Me The Funny Guarantee, there is now an additional line that reads, "If your organization fails to provide us with necessary technical requirements outlined in this rider, or if problems with your equipment affects the success of our performance, we cannot be held responsible and are not obligated to refund your fee." We think that's fair.