What Makes a Good Host?

America’s Got Talent Winner personifies…

Charity Ball Host

Talents show like Britain’s Got Talent make interesting viewing and often show acts that are on the rise and ones who have been on the entertainment circuit for a while.  Some are brilliant, but a lot aren’t.

In the brilliant category, right up at the top, comes Paul Zerdin.  It is certainly no surprise he won this year’s America’s Got Talent, securing his own Las Vegas show and a very large cheque.

Charity Ball Host

Spot Rising Talent

It was over 10 years when we first came across Paul, working with him on a large fundraiser for the now defunct Woolworths.  At the time Woolies had a strong entertainment department that would pull strings with record and entertainment companies.  This purchasing power secured the current A list celebrities such as Girls Aloud and Cliff Richard, who performed at no fee.   Cheryl and Cliff had the WOW factor but the rapturous applause that they received was match by that given to Paul Zerdin.  He brought the house down, over 1,000+ guests who hung on his every word.  His fee back then was peanuts in comparison to what a celebrity host would have charged.

Engaging the Audience

Paul learnt his craft on the tough comedy circuit, playing comedy clubs such as Jongleurs.  Click here to see a snippet of his act back in 2009.  This ability to react to a live audience is vital.  Hosts who used to perform live and then make it big on TV, can loose this ability to connect to an audience.  One, a comedienne, admitted this just before she went on stage, but by then it was too late.  Her performance was ok, but if I am honest lacklustre.

Can they Adlib?

Live events need to cope with the unexpected.  A few years back a venue had a catering issue, meaning the food service was delayed.  The host, Andy Collins, a TV warm up comedian  adlibbed for over 15 minutes glossing over the behind the scenes crisis in the kitchens.

Charity Ball Host

Keeping to time

Conversely you do need a host that will stick to time.  Most venues have a penalty fee if you go over an allocated service period, usually 2 hours, so you don’t want this added cost.

Allow time for networking

Another faux pas when planning charity events can be too much entertainment, with too little downtime for guests to talk.

Charity Ball Host

Script Constraints and Creativity

Take stock about what needs to be said, any sponsor credits and key messages to be delivered, but keep it brief.  Get a briefing call organised in advance to run through the event. Provide clear direction, with a free reign for their creative input.

Contract and Riders

Lastly check the contract and riders.  These may contain additional requests such as hotel accommodation and transport, which need to be costed in.

For more tips on organising your Charity Ball

CLICK HERE or call +44 (0)208 432 4320.