I did this last week.
It was supposed to be a music/miscellaneous open mic at my college, but it wasn’t advertised whatsoever and was on a friday night. Basically, one kid played guitar and then I was the next one up.
There was no stage, mic stand, or lights. It was in the corner of a small room with four people watching, all of whom were members of the organization committee that set up the show.
So here’s a topic for comedians to respond to: what would you do in my situation? Do the set you planned? Fuck around and riff? Not go up at all?
In my case, I tightened up and couldn’t tell the jokes I had planned to. I looked at the shred of paper with my set on it and I knew I couldn’t even bother. I tried to talk to the people there and it turned into 5 people talking and 1 of them talking into a microphone. Very strange. I got off after like 3 minutes of nothing.
But I feel like some people (more experienced than I) could have done something with it.
What would you do?
Comedy is Weird Tumblcast #1
Listen to me while I talk about:
1. Minnesota open mics
2. a douchey comic in Minneapolis
3. Basically nothing
I was thinking I could keep making these when the need arises, and possibly do interviews in the same format. What do you guys think, should I keep making these?
A little bit about success early-on in comedy:
In August 2009, I signed up for a Sunday open mic at a well-known Boston club. I went there and did my time. Although the response was quiet and forgiving, I thought I did great.
I got a big head, as many comics do when they haven’t bombed yet. Also, I physically have a big head.
I was eager to perform two more times that summer. When September came, I went off to college and quickly wanted to do more comedy. So, I set up my own open mic with students at school. I was so proud of my “abilities” as a comic that I suggested right away that I would be the host. And I was. It scared the hell out of me, but I still felt good; I was on my way.
My wake-up call came simply: an open mic at a bar. For those of you who haven’t been to a bar to do comedy before, go do yourself the favor. Some of them are okay, mind you; but this one, on this night, was bad. I stood on stage (while the techno dance club downstairs was booming bass through the floorboards and rowdy bar patrons were…being rowdy) and the table directly at my feet had three people, stone-faced, watching me stumble through my scripted material joke-by-joke and getting no response whatsoever. I was sweaty, upset, and dead-set on getting off and being done with it.
I went on to do another open mic that didn’t work out. And another. After enough of these, I was 100% certain that I was a failure in the world of stand up.
For a time, I felt terrible about my material, my presence, and I questioned my future as a comedian. I lost faith in myself.
In retrospect, it helped me tremendously to feel that way. The true test of a comedian, I think, is to hit a bottom when you honestly believe that the audience, the other comedians and club owners don’t like you and you don’t like yourself. The only way to become great is to defeat that and prove that you can be better.
So if you’re a comedian and you haven’t felt like shit on stage yet: Go do that.