* Make sure there are good acoustics, including a quality microphone and floor-mounted speakers so everyone can hear.
* Never put a dance floor between the audience and the performer. "It's like the Grand Canyon, and they can't connect with the audience," says Christing. "The closer the performer gets, the funnier the show gets."
* Elevate the performer with a riser, if possible, and make sure the area is well-lit.
* Start the performance after dinner, not during. "It's hard to compete with food," says Christing.
* Don't be fooled by lofty credentials. "Just because someone has been on Letterman doesn't mean they are right for your group," says Christing. "Find someone that has performed for groups like yours before."