Tis the season for holiday parties. If you’re hosting, you gotta make sure your party is the fun one. Don’t let people leave thinking, “Remind us to skip this next year.”
So how do you do that besides music and booze?
Networking games or scavenger hunts can help, but while meeting new people is fun, how much do you really have to say to your friend’s kid’s soccer coach’s third cousin? And sure, alcohol gets the conversation flowing, but it’s not enough to save the day.
Enter: Hiring live entertainment.
A live performance gives everyone a fun conversation starter and your evening a special flair. It’s not just, “Ok we are chatting tonight and that’s it.” It’s more like, “The appetizers are good and I like this circle of friends, but wait there’s more…”
Here’s the five best types of entertainers for a holiday party:
Pros: Comedians crack jokes and after the show, you get the credit for having a sense of humor. Afterall, you knew to bring them in the first place! Just make sure the show isn’t a surprise to your guests. This way your friends look forward to the show which becomes the evening’s focal point. It even gives a common ground for conversation after the show, when it’s back to party talk.
Cons: You need a focused audience and chairs for all. If you’re hosting a 400 person rager with a four hour open bar, this is the wrong setting for comedy. When everyone is already rocking on the dance floor, you don’t want to say, “Stop the music! It’s time for comedy!”
Learn more about Private Comedy Show Best Practices
What’s the difference between a mentalist and a magician? Nowadays, most magicians are also mentalists so it’s mostly a marketing term. But technically a magician uses props and sleight of hand tricks whereas a mentalist uses mind reading, telepathy and is more cerebral.
Cons: Some people aggressively hate magic. Way more than they hate comedy or music. So know your audience before hiring a magician.
3. Immersive Actors
Pros: Entertain your guests by hiring someone like a Trump Impersonator or a Snazzy New Yorker who walks around the room interacting with guests. This is fun as it’s a few moments of improvised entertainment and then you can go back to mingling with friends.
Cons: You don’t want to hire an immersive actor if it’s a very small gathering then there is only so much an improv actor can do with a small group. It’s more fitting for a larger party where they can circulate and work the room.
Pros: It feels much cooler to hive live music than a playlist. People feel like you put real effort into your party. This would be an especially nice touch for the 400 person rager example above. Just make sure to get someone who does pop song covers so everyone knows and enjoys the songs. Save the singer-songwriter for February when you feel sad.
Cons: If it’s a small gathering, like less than fifty people, a loud musician playing can be too much. We’ve been to parties where the musician is playing great cover songs with an amazing voice but there is no one dancing or even clapping at the end of each song and it feels sad.
5. Caricature Artist
Pros: Everyone gets a custom souvenir of themselves from your party. It’s completely optional, so guests who don’t want to participate can ignore it. This can also serve as a nice add-on to any of the above live entertainment options.
Cons: You need a dedicated portion of the event space for the artist. If people are having horrible conversations this won’t move the needle.