I went to a comedy seminar last week at Gotham Comedy Club. I learned that the reason NY comedians aren't getting paid is because people are getting all their laughs for free.
Back in "the day", aka the90's, every brick wall had a mic in front of it. People loved comedy shows and the demand for live comedy was huge. Audiences would not only pay the cover, but a two drink minimum as well to see people they didn't even know tell them jokes.
Now, we've got comics beggin' on the streets, handing out flyers, and pulling in tourists for free. They do this so they can get stage time. So, in a way we'll do anything for stage time, even shoot ourselves in the foot. The free shows is setting people up to expect to not have to pay for comedy. And making it impossible to be a paid comedian.
Sure, this a theory given by a comedy club owner, but it's a pretty good one.
I guess I should make a sign and walk around "Will tell joke for food".
Lure you into paying comedy shows like my one at COMIX FRIDAY OCTOBER 5th
(plug, plug, plug, plug, plug, plug, plug....)