No, this isn't about calling & emailing bookers and promoters or trading spots or any of those practical ways, this is about the more general practices that will get people to come to you. And being funny is a prerequisite for all of them.
1. Have a Car Lots of comedians need rides to gigs and many will offer to split stage time or wrangle you a spot it you can provide it.
2. Be Good Company In a Car So, this guy you know has a road gig a few hours (or more) away. When he's thinking about who to bring for an opener or feature, whether he can stand being in a car with you for 5 hours definitely comes into play as much as whether you're likely to be able to hold your own on stage.
3. Support the Show If you cold call (or email) a booker and you've never once been to his show, that's kind of rude. Go check out the show first - the crowd, the venue, the vibe, the type of comedian that usually gets booked. That sort of thing goes a long way with producers, and heck, you might even get thrown a spot while you're standing right there.
4. Be Attractive Sorry, it's true. People get spots because the producer or booker is trying to sleep with them all the time. And people usually pin that shit on girls, but I've known plenty of guys who got spots because they're funny and the gal running the show doesn't mind looking at him for 20 minutes (and knows the audience won't mind, either).
5. Be Funny In Front of Other Comedians Sure, we don't all always stay in the room and watch other comedians' sets, but remember that the other people on the show are probably at least half watching you. So even if you have a rowdy crowd... or no crowd, don't slouch through your set. Sometimes, you'll kick so much ass someone else there will recommend you for another spot. But more importantly, they won't remember you as that guy who bailed or was lazy the next time someone asks "Hey, I'm thinking of booking this guy for my show, what do you think?"
And conversely, here's how NOT to get booked on shows:
- Show up late/miss your spot without calling
- Run the light
- Shit on the room onstage (There's a difference between acknowledging a weird/small/rowdy room and just plain shitting on it)
- Shit on the room offstage
- Shit on the host or the comedian you're following
- Be rude to employees of the establishment
- Bug bookers repeatedly via text, phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype...
- Sleep with the booker and never call her back (Guys)/ Sleep with the booker. Period. (Girls)
- Get so drunk/high you can't perform well