Comics' money-saving tips are no joke

Mark Normand appears at the Creek and CaveTimes are tough, and who better to make light of our economic morass than those shtick-dishing, eternally starving artists -- stand-up comics? Comedians who perform at the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City, N.Y., told WalletPop how they get by on the cheap. The answers ranged from ha-ha funny to genius to, well, a little disturbing.

Mark Normand deserves a toast. When it comes to saving money at the local pub, he works the system like Richard Pryor used to work the crowd on a Saturday night. "Most bars serve at least one canned beer. Just find out what it is and bring it in yourself," Normand said. On open-mike nights, when a venue makes him buy a drink, Normand added that he sometimes grabs an empty bottle and explains to the waitress that he's a fast drinker. He also runs a little bank angle. TD Bank has a coin-conversion machine that anyone can use for free, he explained, and gives out a prize to those who guess the correct amount of their change within $1.99. "So if you count your money beforehand, you basically make money," Normand said.

Justin James Lang suggests getting a roommate to share the rent. "Make that bedroom two bedrooms divided by a sheet ," he said, "and make light of your situation" by telling your roommate when you're both falling asleep that you are grown men sharing a room. He also suggests saving on medications by cutting your pills in half to make them last twice as long. (WalletPop invites you to insert your own medical disclaimer here.)

Neil Stastny likes to tap into his inner-suburbanite, escaping to outer-territory discount chains like Kmart and TJ Maxx during weekdays "while everyone works. 100% stocked. 100% service 100% stress free," he said. It doesn't hurt to hold on to at least part of a day job, too. "I work seasonally at Whole Foods Market and get a 20% employee discount for groceries."

These jokers employ other strategies that might sound familiar: buy a monthly transit pass instead of a car; seek out the dollar-a-slice pizza places and frequent happy hours that include food. Just think, if you take Normand's advice of smuggling in your own can of whatever beer matches the house, you could eat and drink for free in a lovely bar in the expensive urban center of your choice.

Who's laughing now?

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