Performer Guidelines & Rules

“Smokey, this isn’t ‘Nam. There are rules.”

Walter Sobachek, The Big Lebowski


The following applies to all Dark Mode shows:

  1. I can’t believe I have to state this – but performing in a show is a privilege, not a right.
    • Behave respectfully towards the audience, and other perfomers.
    • Don’t go in and out of the room constantly during the show.
    • Don’t talk to other performers in the back of the room during the show.
    • Don’t hang out outside the room to talk to your friends while the show is going on. We can hear you. Yes, even if the door is closed. Have your conversations elsewhere.
  2. Flyering and promotion after the show is over is permitted under the following guidelines:
    • All flyering and promotioning is done after the bucket (if such a bucket exists).
    • Do not stand in the corridor as people are exiting. Flyer outside the bar, or in the main room. Let people leave or go to the toilets unhindered by your bullshit.
  3. All material needs to be on brand (e.g. dark) – if you need help understanding what that means, scroll down.

Prime Time (Show Case) Rules

Welcome to Dark Mode Prime Time! To make sure we have a good audience experience and people want to come back – please observe the following guidelines for the show:

  1. This is a showcase – a paid ticketed one which people are spending a Saturday evening on. Do not try any new material, excessive crowd work, or fuck around. Bring your A-Game please. This is an audience that has hired a babysitter to watch their kids and you are their sole entertainment for the week in their sad, dreary, employed lives. Respect the audience.
  2. As I am going through a company I need a paper trail to deduct from; payment will be by bank transfer to valid invoices only. I have received invoices before written on napkins. They are not valid. If you don’t know how to issue one – ask your accountant. The details for the invoices are on this page – please send invoices by email only to invoices (at)
  3. This is a dark comedy show, but it’s not a “let’s roast an audience member” show – do not abuse the audience without a good reason. Don’t be an asshole.
  4. Stick to your time. I cannot emphasize that enough – we have a late show following and it will be a tight squeeze.
  5. Arrive on time. That means I need to see you before doors open. Please show up at 19:45 (for shows that start at 20:00). There is no break, so all comics please show up before the show unless otherwise discussed with me.

Open Mic Rules

  1. Call time is 22:15 for all comics. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  2. Running order will be done at a 22:15 huddle. If I don’t see you there at that huddle you will not be on the line up. I won’t be reading texts or messages of “I’m running 5 minutes late” so don’t bother. If you’re not there on time, you’re probably not getting on stage.
  3. No requests for specific times on the running order will be accommodated.
  4. Stick to your time. If you get one light, you have a minute left. If you see me waving frantically with the light or you see a second light, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and get the fuck off the stage.
  5. This is an open mic, so feel free to fuck around, try new material, etc.
  6. Having said that: all material and performances have to be dark and on brand (see section below). Comics who perform their normal routines that are not dark will not be invited back.
  7. This show is unpaid.

All shows: What is Dark Comedy?

“Dark” comedy for the purposes of this show includes jokes about death, suffering, and pain. Basically, jokes and humor about uncomfortable subjects. It is not about political incorrectness or “woke culture”. It’s about human misery.

There is a difference between “offensive”, “raunchy” “shock humor” and “dark humor”. Jokes about sex, bodily excretions, etc. – are not “dark”, they are “explicit”. For example:

Offensive joke: “I was buttfucking this dude in the showers.”

Dark joke: “I was buttfucking this dude in the showers of Buchenwald.”

Please understand the distinction between making a dark joke and making a joke that’s designed only to make other people uncomfortable. Avoid the latter. Stick to the former.

Showcase Fee Schedule

Payment for the showcase, only is based on a variable schedule depending on how well we do as far as people in the audience! There are three types of spots:

Headliner spots perform for 30 minutes or more in the second half and they are the final act of the show; typically a headliner is used to attract an audience, but we’re in Berlin and nobody knows us – but the idea here is that they drag some audience in 🙂

Support spots perform for 15 minutes or so in the first half; typically there are two per show.

Featured or open spots are occasional spots that are given to newer comics to strut their stuff in the Dark Mode setting. These are unpaid spots.

SpotMinimum fee
This fee applies even if there are 3 people in the audience and we cancel the show
Maximum fee
This fee applies if we have ~70% capacity upwards and there’s room in the budget