Am I the only one that likes Romney's "open mic" moment better than Obama's?
I mean, at least Romney’s is true. Nearly 50% of people don’t pay income taxes and are living off of entitlements. Still better than Obama’s “I’ll have more room to negotiate after the election” moment with the Russian President or his “I can’t stand that guy” moment about Netanyahu.
A Comedy Nerd's Guide to Open Mics
By CNtributer Dash Nye
So the podcasts aren’t enough for you, huh, kid? A new Louis hour every year just doesn’t cut it, right? You gotta get out there and forge the chuckles yourself, don’t you? You disgust me.
Actually, what you’re feeling is pretty common. The line between “comedy nerd” and “wannabe comedian” is becoming pretty blurred these days. However, every headliner’s advice when asked how to start doing comedy is the same: “Don’t do it. But if you’re going to anyway, go to an open mic.”
As a devoted open miker who’s been on the bottom rung longer than I’d care to admit, here’s 4 things I’ve learned bombing in coffeehouses. Enjoy!
1. You actually have to leave your house.
I’m as fond of dark rooms and glowing keyboards as the next guy. But stage time is something you can easily put off until tomorrow, then the day after, and so on. The best stand-ups and improvisers work-out daily and the beginning of your pain-filled comedy career begins with you crossing the threshold of your door.
Badslava.com is quickly becoming the number 1 resource for comedy open mics. Run by Brooklyn comic, Slava, the regularly updated network has a comprehensive listing of over 2,000 open mics all over the world including cities like New York, Toronto, Ho Chi Minh City, Edinburgh and more.
If there’s not an open mic in your area, guess what? You gotta start one, cupcake. Hit up the owner of a coffeeshop or bar you like to frequent. You’ll be surprised by how many cats will jump at the chance to turn a slow, week night into potential business.
The point is: get off your caboose. I promise with the right push you’ll have a few laughs and meet a ton of great people.
2. Get a stage.
As an occasional comedy producer, I can tell you that a physical stage makes all the difference. You can cobble one together with little-to-no expertise and a few 2x4s. If you wanna get really fancy, spray-paint the whole thing black to give your open mic that New York, underground vibe.
Down the line you’ll probably want something more professionally constructed both for the quality of your show and the safety of performers. But if you’re just a bunch of college kids trying to have a good time, the DIY version will more than do for now.
Of course, I can’t forget the rest of the open mic arsenal: speaker, microphone, and stool. These are all things you can borrow and the venue might even have them on hand. It’s also worth considering throwing some cash down on your own set-up, especially if you want to get to the point where you’re putting on an open mic most days of the week.
The reason professionals purse their lips when a shoddy microphone craps out or a gig doesn’t have a stage is because the list of essentials for comedy is so short. If someone gets lazy, it compromises the entire show. Start asking around because the right set-up is totally worth it.
3. Don’t be a dick.
Okay, so I wasn’t the first one to come up with this mantra. Whatever. It probably goes back to vaudeville times. It’s true, though. You won’t believe how many young hopefuls I see burn bridges year after year.
First of all, show up on time when you’re scouting out an open mic. Find the host and introduce yourself. Ask him or her if you can sign-up. Wait your turn, do your time, and don’t run the light. The standard is 5 minutes. If you run out of material, no sweat. Say thanks and get off the stage.
Also, your first week or two, watch the rest of the acts. It leaves a good impression. When you’re more familiar with the place, then you can do your time and bounce.
A lot of open mic etiquette is just common sense. For example, you probably don’t want to test out your bluest material if the venue is an upscale bar. You run the risk of getting yourself blacklisted as well as shutting down the open mic for good. Not a great start.
Lastly for not being a dick, know that these open mics will vary in how well they’re run. If you don’t like how one host does things, keep it to yourself. Usually it’s the worst rooms that make you a stronger comic anyway.
4. Talk to other comics
I can’t stress this one enough, but the soundest advice you’ll get is from other comics. I almost romanticize the hours of laughing and swapping tags with other comedians more than the stage time itself. Almost.
I won’t be surprised if this one comes naturally to you. These people are your comedy brethren. The world is rife with comedy nerds who want to make art and our numbers are growing every day.
If you love comedy as much as the rest of us here at CNU, open mics are definitely one of the top places to find like-minded people from all walks of life.
Post Set Psychology
By CNtributor: Tim O’Halloran
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like after a comedian has gotten off stage.
1 second- WOOO!!! HOLY SHIT! FUCK YEAH!
1 minute- Where is Comedy Central?! They better sign me before I decide to go all Louis C.K and just strike out on my own!!!!
3 minutes- Eh, yeah that was alright. I mean I’m going to go write a ton of tags for that first bit. Then it’ll be killer
4 minutes- Hmmm…
5 minutes- So yeah, I’m a fraud and I don’t deserve to touch a microphone ever again.
10 minutes- I should quit. That was awful. Were people even laughing or was that my brain creating laughter as a defense mechanism?
Half hour- Sitting in the shower crying and telling myself I should’ve just become an accountant.
Two hours- Looking up Physician Assistant programs and seeing if I did well enough in Bio 101 to be exempt from that portion.
Next Night- I should really go do another set…yeah, I mean I’ve got that new bit I want to work on.
First Week of a Break-Up
“There is nothing worse than the first week of a break up. The first week of a break up is like the first time guys have sex. It’s awkward and boring. And we keep telling each other were doing it right, and it’s a lie. First week of a break up you’re on my mind more than you ever were. So I clean everything in my room. Clean my way into forgetting, but then I find things I couldn’t when we were together; your shirt, your favorite CD, reasons that I liked you. Until my room reeks of your influence. See I keep wanting to invite you over but love can’t live here anymore, she might bring her children. Trust and Neglect. Those two run around my room always breaking shit and I can’t seem to clean up fast enough. They tend to ruin romantic moments with questions and lies, and I can see their children when I look into their eyes. It’s you and I. Not sure when we had them, but now they live in the next room. Always barging in talking about they’re having nightmares and can they sleep with us too? Trust dreams about deceiving so that’s what we do. Live out each others nightmares until we’re bed full of problems and solving’s not an option ‘cause solutions are few. Neglect keeps me in bed talking about I don’t love her like you and trust. I know I must’ve told her that but both of them still look so much like you. And I thought I’d be cool but I still see you on corners and stores and windows I’m passing and in conversations and phrases and menus and laughing and in traffic in song after song that they play back get no time to lay back I cant take my day back, ASAP. A song unsung that years to be is on my tongue. It’s called apology, but I will not drop the key, this is not for me. This is how it’s got to be. They say it takes twice as long to forget as it was to get to know. So now I’m sitting in my room talking about six days down, and six more years to go. This is for all the women out there that think men don’t burn. That when it comes to heartbreak, it is never our turn. It don’t matter who or what is to blame, because in the first week after a breakup…alone, always feels the same.”
Soooooo... I went to an open mic tonight.
First off (and I mean no shade when I say this) but white people poetry is very interesting LOL The main attraction was this published author who wrote a chapbook about the love he has for his wife and his dogs. I mean dude REALLY loves his dogs, man.
It wasn’t my type of poetry but everyone else seemed to enjoy it.
So once he finished his featured spot, they had 15 spots open and you got five minutes to do your thing. One lady literally read her cookbook. Others read short stories, most did poetry and of course, the other two black dudes who were there had to go and rap.
So I was 12th. Most of the people had cleared out by then but I did “The Least I Can Do” and “Without Blinking an Eye.” Not my best two in my opinion but they seemed to be perfect for the type of crowd.
When I was finished, the applause seemed so much louder than everyone else’s but that might’ve just been because I was up there and not sitting in the crowd.
So afterwards, the editor from Mainstreet Rag, a publishing company out in Charlotte, damn near ran up to me, gave me her card and told me to submit everything I had to the poetry editor to see about me getting published. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled that big in my life.
Surprisingly, that wasn’t even the highlight of it all. As I’m walking out, this lady stopped me and she was like “Oh my God. Your poetry is something else. You need to stop whatever it is you are doing with your life and just write. That is what you are made to do.”
So I’ve just been hyped ever since then.
Ok, I’m done with my story; I feel like I’m typing too much. If the audio sounds good, I’ll be posting them later tonight. If you care to listen, head over to the other blog and let me know what you think.