• 13 Gift Ideas for the Comedian in Your Life

    Attention, friends, family, and lovers of comedians! Did you know that comedians need gear?! It’s true! Being a comedian isn’t all mouth sounds and ripped jeans and someone else’s microphone. And since being an up-and-coming stand-up comic isn’t a big moneymaker, there’s a good chance your funny friend will appreciate a practical present. Here are some great holiday gift ideas for the wonderful comedian in your life.

    A phone tripod, $10 – $75

    Every comedian needs one of these to film their sets on their phone. Even if your comic has a nice camera, they’re probably not dragging it to every show. Phone tripods are perfect for when a great show sneaks up on a comedian, and they realize five minutes before their set they might be able to get a good tape from it. (We are always chasing the perfect tape—it is our purpose, our life’s mission, and our Hell.) The key is to get a tripod that’s small enough to toss in a comedian’s backpack, but strong enough to survive in a comedian’s backpack. If I were buying a new one, I might grab this selfie stick-tripod in one, which has a perfect Amazon user review and is just $20.

    Phone clip $6 – $30

    Most tripods don’t come with a clip for a phone camera, and you must buy it separately. I don’t see any reason to spend more than $7 on something like this. Pro tip: the simpler, the better.

    Wide Lens for Phone Cameras, $120

    For even better quality phone videos, consider gifting this lens attachment that comedians recommend. It does require you to buy a special phone case, which costs an additional $35.

    Headshots with a Good Comedy Photographer $100 – $500

    Photography isn’t cheap, but you can gift great headshots (which every comedian absolutely needs) for $500 or less. If you’re unfamiliar with local photographers, ask your comedian’s friends who their favorites are—there’s usually a well-known comedy photographer or two in every comedy scene.

    New Yorker Subscription, $12

    For the highbrow comedian, consider bestowing 12 weeks of Shouts & Murmurs (plus, ya know, the other stuff). I think there’s nothing more inspiring than snuggling up on the couch with comedic essays by incredible writers. Plus, the 12 weeks for $12 deal is a steal.

    Voice Lessons, $150 – $1000

    The more experimental comedian may enjoy adult beginner singing lessons. It sounds silly, but I bought my boyfriend a four-pack of private lessons for his birthday a few years ago, and he loved them. Learning to sing has made it possible for him to incorporate songs into his sketches, characters, and variety show.

    Mountable Waterproof Notepad, $25

    If your comedian gets their best ideas in the shower, this is THE gift.

    Sticker Mule gift card, $100

    I love Sticker Mule for custom merch. With a gift card, your comedian can design buttons, stickers, or magnets to sell or give out at shows and on tour. Sticker Mule works fast and requires the buyer to approve the final design before printing, so there are no bad surprises. I promise, this post isn’t sponsored by Sticker Mule; I just really love them. (But I don’t know why only $100 gift cards are available! It’s wild!)

    Quality Notebooks, $3 – $30

    Moleskine, Field Notes and Muji are three popular brands among comedians. Men say they like soft-covered, non-spiral notebooks that can fit in their pockets, and many women say they like small/medium notebooks that fit in their purse. But also, gender is a construct!

    The Seven Year Pen, $9

    Okay, so reviews say that the Seven Year Pen will not actually last 7 years, but this is a gooooood, special pen. If only every joke were as smooth, effortless, and balanced as this utensil. I truly love mine.

    Upgraded wardrobe ($20 to a million dollars)

    Even the schlubbiest among us don’t actually want to look like trash on stage. Most comedians hope to look like themselves, but a little better. So if your comedian wears a stained, holed-up, oversized red sweatshirt every day, consider gifting them a “stage upgrade” of a casual red sweater that actually fits (or at least a sweatshirt without holes).

    Zoom Recorder for Podcasting, $370 – $430

    If you’re buying for a soon-to-be-podcaster with no equipment, a Zoom will do the trick. It’s high quality and portable, so your comedian can even use it to collect sound when shooting sketches or making standup tapes. I just recorded an episode of my podcast on my boyfriend’s Zoom, and the sound quality was excellent. The H4N is more than sufficient for a new podcaster, but the H6N is the souped-up version that will make the other kids go, “Oooh!”

    Born Standing Up, $13.60

    There are so many books about comedy and by comedians, but Steve Martin’s memoir of his rise as a stand-up is extra special: touching, inspiring, funny, and informative. And it’s a breeze to read, so even though it’s a book, you can be confident you’re not gifting comedy homework. (And here’s our list of great modern day comedian memoirs if they already own this one!)

    Happy gifting!

    Emily Winter

    Emily Winter has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR's "Ask Me Another," TV Land, Fusion TV, Glamour, and The Barnes & Noble Review. Her standup comedy plays on SiriusXM, and she runs two Time Out Critics' Pick comedy shows in Brooklyn, BackFat Variety at Union Hall, and Side Ponytail at Friends and Lovers. She also hosts the podcast How To Produce Live Comedy, and her work has been profiled on The TODAY Show, The AV Club, Buzzfeed, Lifehacker, and more.

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