There's long been a debate about how much, or even if, standup comics should be paid depending on the venue. Mitzi Shore was lambasted for paying peanuts to performers at her famous Comedy Store in L.A. Harvey's own Tom Dreesen was at the center of that storm, which is detailed in Bill Knoedelseder's fine book "I'm Dying Up Here."
More recently, a standup named Kurt Metzger took to the cyberwaves to assail the UCB Theatre in New York for not ponying up. Long a bastion of improv, UCB--where tickets are purposely dirt cheap and where superstars like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have performed countless times--is now hosting some standup sets. According to an insider, it has operated in the red for many years.
"So last week I trashed UCBeast for packing a 120 seat theater at 10 bucks a head for a standup show in NY on a Saturday night," Metzger wrote on Facebook, "and then not having the decency God gave Jerry Sandusky to peel the performers off a twenty. I'll say again, this is not like Whiplash, which is an awesome show on a WEEKNIGHT that takes donations. I've got no problem with that. Just don't make people pay to see comics and then not pay the comics..."
Not surprisingly, his remarks sparked a back-and-forth between those who side with him and those who don't. Here are a couple of different takes on the situation if you care to read more.