The Life of a Comic with Kris Shaw

By: Standup comedian, Kris Shaw.

On a regular week on the road it can be a lot of fun as well as misery.

My work structure is based off of positivity. It allows me to get the most out of my time and stay drama free. It also makes for better networking.

Now days when I hit the road, it usually depends on the distance on which type of transportation I’ll use to get there. Although an airplane is much quicker, sometimes a car is more sufficient as you have more room to stretch as well as more opportunities to pull over and explore anything cool you spot along the way. It makes for better material writing if you have more to see along your journey.

On the road you have a few different types of comedians:

  1. There’s the ones that you can tell take the business seriously and are constantly working on opening doors.
  2. You have the ones that are pure road dogs who have been in the business forever and are just riding it out.
  3. Then you have the comics that like to party!

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I particularly enjoy a nice smoke out when I get into town. Sit back, relax and clear my shit. Some comics don’t prefer to smoke prior to a show but I think its because we smoke for different reasons. They’re doing it as a recreational thing and I’m doing it to help with years of back pain from an accident and it also balances me.

Sometimes for an entertainer things come easier than it would for regular people. Usually, if you have a need for something, you can find it at a show. If you need emergency mechanic work, say it onstage and you will find a mechanic. If you want weed, write 3 or 4 pot jokes and walla, it magically appears after the show. I can only imagine what Snoop (Dogg) goes thru. A lot of nights, audience members want to smoke me out as if Snoop and I was the same person.

The more potent the smoke, the more hungry I get. That’s the hard part of road life. You’re already living out of a suitcase and on top of that, your diet consists of fried foods with an occasional diner or home cooked meal.


A club usually provides accommodations in the form of a hotel or a condo. Condos allow you to cook regular food at home which is a major plus, unless you’re in a cool ass town tike Toronto that has some amazing food that makes you want to eat out nightly.




When it comes to money, in the world of standup comedy, the sky’s the limit. Corporate comedy along with college comedy are the two biggest markets. It’s not traditional standup in a nightclub environment but the financial difference can sometimes outweigh that need for those strong drunken nightclub shows.

Then there’s the cruise ship comics who make a good living and get to travel the world for free and have less stress to deal with than the traditional road comic. Even with such a sweet gig, the downside is you’re constantly away from family and it’s very expensive to contact them via phone or computer.

Nightclubs and dive bars usually give you more of a free range of artist exposure but pay less money than a casino performance.


I try to stay away from road beefs as much as possible. There are a lot of people in the business that give it that energy but I try to keep the positive vibes going and go forward. Sometimes if I speak up to something, it comes off as me being a dick versus the fact that I have my own opinion and I stand for it.

At the end of the day, I possess the ability to exercise my freedom of speech every night all across the land and there is nothing else greater!

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Leigh Langston is the Entertainment Editor for Ms. Nix and the artist behind The #FeedArt Network ( where she specializes in social media marketing for indie artists and creative entrepreneurs. She is also the author of the safe sex erotica anthology, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down and an eBook on colorism, The Half Series: When Black People Look White.
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