Sure having an actual human being with a nice camera that can follow the action is always the best option for live show recording and this is not the best camera in the world (heck my phone might even have better video quality.) So why do I love this little guy? It’s easy to set-up and it sounds really good. And for live shows I think those are the most important things, plus it takes up almost no room in my bag. For me live show footage isn’t so much for public consumption as it is for me to review and possibly use in festival submission. It’s easy to come up with excuses of why not to record a set when I’ve got some much else to get together before a show this little guy helps eliminate some of those excuses, I can plop it down at the edge of the stage on a gorilla pod and its wide angle gets exactly what I need. On the con side of that this isn’t the best camera for setting up in the back of a room as the angle would be too wide and you lose some of the improved audio proximity advantage. I actually have the slightly cheaper 1080 version but I think the extra 20 bucks is probably worth the 4k option which would allow you to punch in and make the videos slightly more dynamic in post.
Intex Air Mattress
Being a sketch comedian who travels to festivals often involves cramming one more person into a hotel room or Airbnb than they’re actually set up for in attempt to save a few bucks. Whenever my travel destination is within driving distance, I’m always happy I’ve got an air bed with me. Sure it’s not as good as real bed but the granola bars and instant oatmeal at the extended stay isn’t a real breakfast either so at least it’s on theme. Even the cheaper air Mattresses come with internal pumps these days which means I no longer have hold a air dryer on the cool setting up to the hole when I inevitably lose the pump! I also enjoy that this particular air mattress is a little taller than most, because like many sketch comedians in their mid 30s I haven’t taken great care of my joints.
Logitech Professional Presenter R800, Wireless Presentation Clicker Remote with Green Laser Pointer and LCD Display
This power point clicker is like my baby and just like a real baby if I ever lost it I’d immediately attempt to buy a new one so as to not cause any major disruption in my routine. I’ve been described as micro manage-y as fuck when it comes to my sketch shows tech, this clicker acts my phantom hand inside the booth. Combined with qlab or windows equivalent (multiplay, show cue systems) this little guy let’s me trigger my next cue from anywhere on stage. All I had to do was use any keyboard remapper to make the page up and down buttons function like spacebar. You can achieve this same effect with any clicker but I really appreciate the extended range and lcd screen of this model. It’s a little pricier than some other model but the battery life indicator has honestly saved me a fortune because otherwise I’d replace them each show out of fear. Even with the great range of this device I’d suggest grabbing a USB extender if you want to use something like so that you can position the receiver where ever you like as it does still work best with line of sight.
A LOAD OF HOOEY
This book came out a couple years ago when the market was getting pretty saturated with wonderful comedian memoirs that towed the line between hilarious and earnest. This book isn’t one of those. As a big mister show fan I was already predisposed to love this book (my favorite sketch of all time is pre-taped call in show) This book delivered on what I personally wanted which was rampant silliness. The famous quotes continued bits in this book are such a marvelously simple premise that I will forever be jealous of them.
YETI USB MIC
I’ve actually got an older version of this microphone and although I’ve since purchased some higher end options this baby still gets a fair amount of use just because of how easy it is. Honestly, if you don’t have a true studio environment condenser mics might not be your best option when it comes to the quality of the recording because they’re so good at picking up noise, but there are plenty of times when I need to record a VO line for a sketch intro that I’m not sure we’ll ever use again or a scratch track for a video that I don’t feel like getting out the mic, the xlr, the audio recorder, etc. This guy plugs right into the computer and gives you an admirable sound quality considering it’s price point. It’s smaller the cousin the snowball is also pretty easy and decent but I think the extra control and multiple polarity patterns make this just worth the extra cost.
So if you ever find yourself traveling back in time and looking for gifts to get me these are some great options. If you’re looking for gifts to get sketch comedians in your own life however just get them alcohol. Most of us like it and around the holiday’s gift sets are the same price as bottles on their own. My personal favorite alcohol gift boxes have flasks. Flasks are always an excellent props.