Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«23 »
  • Post
  • Reply
max4me
Jun 15, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Hello Every One, Finally found this thread. I remembered there was an A/T thread ages ago.

With out going too far into my personal life. "I am between opportunities" but luckily I can get by for quite some time, and as long as I give up a few luxuries here and there I can pursue my interests with with amazing degree of freedom.

So I have decided on comedy. Now, I am goon. A goon's goon if you will. So I watched a lot of stand up listened to alot of cds, And thought well why dont I give it a go....but first I need to.... and now the excuses have started.

I bought a few books on the topic I found most of information to be rather bad.

Pastamania was far better than those books when he did this great effort post.


I did something similar but it was write a list of ten situations and then connect them to an exaggeration.
what I thought was gonna be good was poo poo but out of those ten things I found something I think is funny.

My friends loves stand up but we totally dont see eye to eye. He thinks its just telling funny antidotes about stuff thats happened to you.

A good comic can make that connection and lead you down the road. But its very different than just riffing with your friends.

Anyway I plan to go for one joke a day, and reading this thread made me realize I need to get out. So I will be hitting up the open mics up in LA (Live in O.C.) Not gonna go up there I am gonna go see what others are doing and get a better sense of what stand up is. I am gonna shoot for 2 open mics a night for a week and see what insights that can provide me.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

E the Shaggy
Mar 29, 2010


Those books? Throw them the gently caress out. Reading books and taking classes and all that poo poo doesn't work. You're essentially becoming someone else and you need to find your own style, find what works for you.

If you want to "make it" in standup, you really need to think about what that's going to entail as a career. Its not luxurious (its actually pretty lonely on the road, and it is not a stable career by any means) and doing it as your only job to start is really dumb. I know you said you have money that will last you for a bit, but you will absolutely POSITIVELY need a day job. You can still go to mics at night while working and your day job may even give you an opportunity to write more material since you'll be experiencing more than just sitting around your apartment waiting for mics to start. Buy lots of notebooks, carry them with you everywhere.

Reality time! I have friends who have Comedy Central specials and their albums are some of the top comedy albums on iTunes. Standup comedy is their only job and they are barely making ends meet (though the ones who used standup as a springboard to get writing gigs are doing pretty well)

Also, 2 mics a night is too little if you're trying to make a career of it, go to as many as you can possibly handle. LA has numerous mics, many of which though won't let you just walk in, you'll need to get in touch with whoever is running it and then you'll be given a spot maybe a few weeks down the road if you're lucky.

Starting out? Get ready to eat a lot of poo poo. You'll need to establish yourself and that can take a year(s). You really have to put the time and effort in.

Sorry to be all fire and brimstone, but just want to let you know what you're in for.

Asterios
Apr 17, 2008

So long, Skorpex!

https://www.presidentbaby.com

max4me posted:

Anyway I plan to go for one joke a day, and reading this thread made me realize I need to get out. So I will be hitting up the open mics up in LA (Live in O.C.) Not gonna go up there I am gonna go see what others are doing and get a better sense of what stand up is. I am gonna shoot for 2 open mics a night for a week and see what insights that can provide me.

Hey, good luck! It's great to hear you're going to get into stand-up in LA. There's a lot of great comics and mics out here, it's probably second only to NYC in places to do this.

Smerdyakov
Jul 8, 2008



E the Shaggy posted:

2 mics a night is too little if you're trying to make a career of it, go to as many as you can possibly handle. LA has numerous mics, many of which though won't let you just walk in, you'll need to get in touch with whoever is running it and then you'll be given a spot maybe a few weeks down the road if you're lucky.

This is a giant "it depends" actually. I'll take 7-10 minutes with an actual crowd 4 times a week over an infinite number of 3-5 minute sets at shows with crowds that are always 90% comics. Of course neither are ideal, but having done standup in SF and Seattle, the crowds and stage time were actually way less than in some smaller cities, with a lot more transit and far fewer opportunities for hosting or doing a feature set.

LA and NYC are kinda the only two cities if you've been working for a few years and have your solid hour and/or cleanish 15-20, but if you're just starting out, don't be afraid to go to smaller places--you can get more meaningful stage time in places where the competition is less cut-throat. An almost totally empty bar with nothing but sullen comics in LA is still an empty bar with no crowd, and 50 people crammed into a bar that obviously used to be a Pizza Hut is still a real crowd, even if it's in a town no one's ever heard of.

max4me
Jun 15, 2003

by FactsAreUseless


Oh hey everybody.

lets see where to start

E the Shaggy posted:

Those books? Throw them the gently caress out. Reading books and taking classes and all that poo poo doesn't work. You're essentially becoming someone else and you need to find your own style, find what works for you.


You know what we are in agreement on this. I wanted books to better understand joke structure thats why I liked pastamania's post so much. There is a structure and logic to comedy but its more of an unholy alchemy than anything else.

As for the day job remark's you know what thank you. I really appreciate it. I have had soo many people being negative to me regarding it. Thats its nice to have some one show some realistic concern and give me practical advice. I think I will keep the job search going but put my free/time energy into this.

So now for the trip report.

Hit up two open mics on Wensday night. Didnt go on stage and from what I saw I wont be doing that anytime soon. Because.

I and the girl I brought with me (easier to use the diamond lane haha) were the only people there. The rest was just people waiting to go up on stage. To be fair it was alot of fun being the only audience like a private show. Best part when the people on stage tried to practice riffing. oh god that was fun.

The best part of being the audience was the fact I got to see what other people were doing what works and what sucks. Who had material that need a little work and who had no material at all.

My favorite was the jamican guy who came in with a cape and crown used his ipad to play intro music would stop and start over if people spoke while the king was talking or came in, or he played the wrong track of music. He had us bow to him then his time was up. I m pretty sure the joke is on us having us bow to him.

Honestly wish I had a few (local) friends to bring to these things as they are entertaining for one reason or another.

E the Shaggy posted:



Also, 2 mics a night is too little if you're trying to make a career of it, go to as many as you can possibly handle. LA has numerous mics, many of which though won't let you just walk in, you'll need to get in touch with whoever is running it and then you'll be given a spot maybe a few weeks down the road if you're lucky.


Now your talking about the open mic crawl which I saw happen. people went on stage played to the people who were waiting their turn and then jetted.

What is the benefit to talking an empty room or people who are just waiting for their turn to talk? for an empty room I would rather video tape my self talk or work on writing.

Smerdyakov posted:

This is a giant "it depends" actually. I'll take 7-10 minutes with an actual crowd 4 times a week over an infinite number of 3-5 minute sets at shows with crowds that are always 90% comics. Of course neither are ideal, but having done standup in SF and Seattle, the crowds and stage time were actually way less than in some smaller cities, with a lot more transit and far fewer opportunities for hosting or doing a feature set.


^^^ yep I figured I might look at alittle further afield than LA to see whats going on.

mmh I know a magician maybe I can talk him into letting me open for a few of his shows in out of the way places.

Anyway enough about me and more about the wonderful night of entertainment.

Hit up Sals comedy hole, had dinner with said lady. Then went to the back and listened. Then we Hit up House of Tacos, which had a better MC and the dude in the back would fed the comics fun sized candy bars if he liked their work.

some of the things I didnt like

In Jokes,

HOLLYWOOD IS A TOUGH TOWN, THE OTHER DAY I SAW LUKE PERRY STAB A HOMELESS FOR A BOTTLE OF COCONUT WATER.
LA and Hollywood are kinda their own culture those kinda seems to work if your in on that culture but would be limiting to outsiders.
race jokes

JEWS BUILT THE PYRAMIDS THATS WHY THEY ARE GOOD WITH MONEY
I wrote one as well but they just dont sit well with me when I think about them.
not jokes

I WAS IN AFGHANISTAN KILLING TERRORISTS
Being told this by a vet who is on stage and might be nervous or having PTSD isny very funny.

CLONES OR JUST NOT FUNNY PEOPLE
I m pretty sure I saw two zach galifianakis clones or maybe just one at two places. White dudes with beards talking the way he talks and doing his style of humor...yes I laughted and felt awful about it.



One lady did have some good stuff but was just too nervous went on stage with her note book

"I get nervous with small talk so I bought a gun, now when small talk happens I can just say I bought a gun, and avoid making the conversation awkward"

I think I am gonna hit up a few more open mics and just be the audience and see what its all about, and I have to be honest I am really torn on my desire to riff/heckle/troll them. Like how they all sit there with their notebooks it make me want to bring my 1940 lc smith typewritter and try to fit in with them.

One guy made a pun and I boo'd then had to explain that puns are the lowest form of humor. He called me a homophobe and to the MC's credit he kept things cool.

The next dude then opened with a pun.


Anyway ETHESHAGGY thanks for the advice.

max4me fucked around with this message at Sep 22, 2013 around 08:31

Question Mark Mound
Jun 14, 2006

Tokyo Crystal Mew
Dancing Godzilla


Personally speaking, I think hecklers are lower than any form of wit at all. Although you shouldn't discount the pun, comedians like Tim Vine, Stewart Francis and Milton Jones can really sell you on them.

XIII
Feb 11, 2009


The only thing worse than a heckler is a comic (or aspiring comic) heckling.

There's only one semi decent open mic in my town, at the only comedy club around, and I really like the way the handle some things and dislike the way they handle others. They don't have a stand alone night for open mics, just a quick spot before the Wednesday night show, so they only take 8 people a night. Because of this limit, they only let you go on every other week. I have the benefit of living ~2min away, so I'm there every week (usually a few times) and can pick up any empty spots on open mic night. You've got your four horsemen that you can't say (gently caress, can't, goddamn, or the n-bomb), which slot of people dislike, but, despite being fairly profane in my daily life, I don't mind. I do like that the open mic'ers have to sit near the front and if they have notes or phones out or are talking, they get banned from going on stage for a month.

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011


So the place where I was supposed to do that open mic canceled again because the guy organizing it never got around to it. So now I'm organizing and hosting an open mic next Thursday. Here's the problem though: I have absolutely no idea what the gently caress I'm doing. I've never even participated in an open mic. My plan right now is to get a sign-up sheet, try to sign people up about a half hour before we're supposed to start, and then introduce people. Hopefully that is correct. I'm going to give everyone between three and seven minutes.

My bigger concern is that the venue seems really lovely. It's a small bakery and they're planning on putting us in a back corner. There's a PA system but it's not really a stage, half the room can't see us, and there's no real captive audience. I might try and talk them into letting people stand in a better spot, at least.

It's probably going to be a trainwreck. This should be fun for everybody!

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

That sounds like a recipe for getting snatched and murdered

FactsAreUseless posted:

So the place where I was supposed to do that open mic canceled again because the guy organizing it never got around to it. So now I'm organizing and hosting an open mic next Thursday. Here's the problem though: I have absolutely no idea what the gently caress I'm doing. I've never even participated in an open mic. My plan right now is to get a sign-up sheet, try to sign people up about a half hour before we're supposed to start, and then introduce people. Hopefully that is correct. I'm going to give everyone between three and seven minutes.

My bigger concern is that the venue seems really lovely. It's a small bakery and they're planning on putting us in a back corner. There's a PA system but it's not really a stage, half the room can't see us, and there's no real captive audience. I might try and talk them into letting people stand in a better spot, at least.

It's probably going to be a trainwreck. This should be fun for everybody!

If you're looking for one in Spokane, I know that the Goodtymes in the valley let's open micers go up before their sunday shows. I'll be doing a sunday show there next month actually.

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011


Greek Tragedy posted:

If you're looking for one in Spokane, I know that the Goodtymes in the valley let's open micers go up before their sunday shows. I'll be doing a sunday show there next month actually.
I'll keep that in mind. There's also supposed to be a Chinese restaurant that has one. I'm organizing one at a small vegan bakery called Boots, but I don't expect many people to show up.

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

That sounds like a recipe for getting snatched and murdered

FactsAreUseless posted:

I'll keep that in mind. There's also supposed to be a Chinese restaurant that has one. I'm organizing one at a small vegan bakery called Boots, but I don't expect many people to show up.

This may not be pertinent right now, but once your open mic gets a little bigger and you have an audience these are a few things I'd suggest:

*light people from the very beginning. Talk about it in your introduction. Because even if you only have like 3 people going up and you're not worried about time, you want to establish that there is a time limit/light. Some of the worst nights of my life have been brand new open micers that I forgot to tell about the light that ramble drunkenly for 20 minutes. If you end up with only a few comics one night, then divide the time into larger sections but still maintain a light. even if the show doesn't go long, you can always sit around with each other in the remaining time and bullshit about comedy, it's how some of my best stuff has come about.

*figure out your "rules" and announce them consistently every time. this gives you crowd control and also helps to coach people on how to be comedy audience members. You don't have to have a lot but figure out what's important to you/the venue. The venue I host at doesn't really care about content, but I sure as hell care about bigotry/hatefulness and heckling. I only have 2 rules but I announce them every week regardless of how many times those people have heard them.

*encourage your first audiences/comics to submit suggestions. This will help with that inclusive feeling but also give you a chance to figure out what makes a good mic, and what audiences want. You don't have to do what they want all the time after all but they know that you want a good show and not just a bullshit thing to do one night a week.

Ronk a Donk
Feb 13, 2012


After reading through this read and hearing all you other beginner comics trying your luck at standup, I got up the gumption to ask my friend if I could perform at her open mic. My sister told me to do it years ago, but a combination of fear, moving around for work, and laziness kept me from going up. I've been waiting for the show for weeks, and tonight was the night, and it went really, super well! The guy who introduced me gave an awesome introduction, I was terrified but excited during the performance, and when I went off a bunch of people came up to congratulate me. Two folks trying to get new open mics started in the area came up and asked if I'd perform my set at their shows! (It's a small city and the comedy scene is pretty new here, so there aren't loads of comics around, but still.) It was also in front of a real audience, maybe 40 non-comic people, plus ten comics, which was awesome. I know the nights can't all be this good, but it was really wicked for a first time.

I owe a lot to you guys in this thread-- I spent a lot of time prepping, studying videos and trying out suggestions, and I think it really helped. So, thanks! I didn't get any video, but maybe next time I can convince someone to come with me and hold a camera or something.

Sataere
Jul 20, 2005


Step 1: Start fight
Step 2: Attack straw man
Step 3: REPEAT

Do not engage with me



So random question about etiquette. If you are sitting at an open mic night, and someone starts a bit and you decide that he completely missed the point of what was funny, is it bad form to create a joke based on the same premise. For example, someone starts making fun of the Westboro Baptist joke, and you realize he is making fun of them for the wrong reasons. It is essentially a different joke, but something about it seems morally ambiguous to me.

I always find myself coming up with really funny ideas at open mic nights because people are really bad, but they do touch on some funny subjects. They just don't take them anywhere.

SullivanPRIME
Mar 17, 2009


So I decided recently to take a serious jab at stand up. I've been doing a comedy show with a friend over the internet for a year now thats been going really well, so I decided it was time to be a lot more daring and actually face a crowd. I'm in Philly and I was wondering if any one knew of any good places for open mic nights to start out at? I tried good ol' google but it only seemed to give me the Helium Comedy Club.

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

That sounds like a recipe for getting snatched and murdered

SullivanPRIME posted:

So I decided recently to take a serious jab at stand up. I've been doing a comedy show with a friend over the internet for a year now thats been going really well, so I decided it was time to be a lot more daring and actually face a crowd. I'm in Philly and I was wondering if any one knew of any good places for open mic nights to start out at? I tried good ol' google but it only seemed to give me the Helium Comedy Club.

The most comprehensive place I know to look for mics is https://www.badslava.com. It's a weird name, but there are a TON of them there. I use this every time i travel to look for mics.

Dr. Magnificent
Sep 1, 2006



SullivanPRIME posted:

So I decided recently to take a serious jab at stand up. I've been doing a comedy show with a friend over the internet for a year now thats been going really well, so I decided it was time to be a lot more daring and actually face a crowd. I'm in Philly and I was wondering if any one knew of any good places for open mic nights to start out at? I tried good ol' google but it only seemed to give me the Helium Comedy Club.

I'm in Philly. Raven Lounge Thursday nights is my favorite. 8:30 sign ups. It's on Sansom and like 17th I think. Mondays there's Urban Saloon up on Fairmount. Tuesdays there's a new mic at Medusa Lounge, and I think they also just started one at Dobbs on South St. Not too sure about Wednesdays, I think there's something in Northern Liberties, but I've never been. But yeah, I would recommend going to Raven Lounge and just talking to people.

edit: Oh poo poo, forgot about Fergies on Sunday nights. That one is really good. That's like 13th and Sansom. Sign ups at 8:00 I believe.

Sataere
Jul 20, 2005


Step 1: Start fight
Step 2: Attack straw man
Step 3: REPEAT

Do not engage with me



Sataere posted:

So random question about etiquette. If you are sitting at an open mic night, and someone starts a bit and you decide that he completely missed the point of what was funny, is it bad form to create a joke based on the same premise. For example, someone starts making fun of the Westboro Baptist joke, and you realize he is making fun of them for the wrong reasons. It is essentially a different joke, but something about it seems morally ambiguous to me.

I always find myself coming up with really funny ideas at open mic nights because people are really bad, but they do touch on some funny subjects. They just don't take them anywhere.

I will repost this since nobody responded. What is the take on this? Does anyone else find they come up with ideas at open mic nights? Or do they find this morally reprehensible for some reason I might be missing completely?

XIII
Feb 11, 2009


Sataere posted:

I will repost this since nobody responded. What is the take on this? Does anyone else find they come up with ideas at open mic nights? Or do they find this morally reprehensible for some reason I might be missing completely?

I come up with a ton of ideas at open mics and movies and things like that. Basically, I've noticed that when I'm around something creative, I'm more creative. As far as being inspired by a joke, it's a dangerous thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but you have to make sure that it's a vanilla enough premise that you aren't taking someone's point of view. And, you will have to take the joke so far away from the original point that there's no question that it's different. I'd say it's "okay, but risky". Don't shy away from a great joke, but it should be great

Ror
Oct 21, 2010

Everything's purrfect!


I think you just have to figure out what your own joke specifically is and then honestly reflect on what / how much of it your took from another person and how much of your own process it went through. Do you think that it's uncannily reminiscent of the other bit?

There are certainly plenty of comedians out there who are adamant about not watching other stand-ups and try to not even pay attention to others when they go to the clubs. They always insist that it's impossible to steal someone's joke if you're not listening and laughing to it. And that is true. But at a certain point I think that all arts involve communication with the world at large. You can make music without listening to anybody else's but it's pretty strange to me.

But again, you have to analyze what you have taken. Did it just get you thinking about the WBC itself? Are you taking a general premise, like "Why is the WBC so angry?" Or have you taken a somewhat novel premise, a specific line of the comedian's that got you? If it's the latter, think about the funny part of your joke. Does it require the original premise? Can you make it more your own?

Jokes and bits tend to grow as you refine them and add tags and whatnot. If you just took a seed, no one will ever look at your fully fleshed out bit and tell you that it's not your own. But if you've taken a cutting of someone else's comedy and put it in your own garden, then you might want to try to scale down your inspiration to broader topics and jumping off points rather than more discrete ideas. And ultimately if you can develop enough of your own material then it will be able to stand on it's own and you don't even really need any of the foundation that resembles where the idea originally came from.

Sataere
Jul 20, 2005


Step 1: Start fight
Step 2: Attack straw man
Step 3: REPEAT

Do not engage with me



Ror posted:

I think you just have to figure out what your own joke specifically is and then honestly reflect on what / how much of it your took from another person and how much of your own process it went through. Do you think that it's uncannily reminiscent of the other bit?

There are certainly plenty of comedians out there who are adamant about not watching other stand-ups and try to not even pay attention to others when they go to the clubs. They always insist that it's impossible to steal someone's joke if you're not listening and laughing to it. And that is true. But at a certain point I think that all arts involve communication with the world at large. You can make music without listening to anybody else's but it's pretty strange to me.

But again, you have to analyze what you have taken. Did it just get you thinking about the WBC itself? Are you taking a general premise, like "Why is the WBC so angry?" Or have you taken a somewhat novel premise, a specific line of the comedian's that got you? If it's the latter, think about the funny part of your joke. Does it require the original premise? Can you make it more your own?

Jokes and bits tend to grow as you refine them and add tags and whatnot. If you just took a seed, no one will ever look at your fully fleshed out bit and tell you that it's not your own. But if you've taken a cutting of someone else's comedy and put it in your own garden, then you might want to try to scale down your inspiration to broader topics and jumping off points rather than more discrete ideas. And ultimately if you can develop enough of your own material then it will be able to stand on it's own and you don't even really need any of the foundation that resembles where the idea originally came from.

Let me lay out an example of this for you and let you guys judge. I haven't even written my bit out fully yet.

I think I am talking about broad topics. He was talking about the Westboro Baptist Church and about them protesting at the funerals of people who weren't homosexual and how that was somehow funny. And that is all he says on the subject.

Well, I watched him and thought that he missed the real joke there. What if they were really trying their hardest to get to these people in time to save their souls, but they just keep getting their too late. They just keep showing up at the funerals of these poor people over and over, before they even have a chance to receive their salvation. And then I go on an even bigger tangent.

I am not taking any lines from this person and the direction is far enough away that I don't think people would even make the connection. Hell, I am even starting up the joke differently, because I did my own research about them to give me ideas of how to lead into it. I'm very ADHD, so if I hear something, my brain plays the telephone game with itself, where after a few thoughts it ends up in a very different direction.

To put it simply, his joke was "If they are protesting gay people, why aren't they at gay people's funerals." Mine clearly is not. But the lingering doubts remain.

I just can't get past the idea that the catalyst came from watching someone else do comedy. I mean, we are both talking about how the Westboro Baptist Church protests funerals, but they are two very different jokes. (And mine is way funnier)

Abitha Denton
Jan 10, 2012


Sataere posted:

To put it simply, his joke was "If they are protesting gay people, why aren't they at gay people's funerals." Mine clearly is not. But the lingering doubts remain.

I just can't get past the idea that the catalyst came from watching someone else do comedy. I mean, we are both talking about how the Westboro Baptist Church protests funerals, but they are two very different jokes. (And mine is way funnier)

I do this poo poo all the time. Half of my notebook is just my conclusions to other people's setups that they completely wasted. I agree with Ror, whether or not I'd USE a given joke depends on how distinctive the concept is - "Westboro Baptist Church pickets funerals" is something anyone could think of, "I caught fire while freebasing" is not. And it's not like the WBC is some obscure organization you'd never otherwise have heard of.

If you're both in the same showcase, or just perform in the same spaces a lot, you might think about starting the bit by explicitly calling back to theirs. People love asspats like that and you'd have to verbally mention the difference - "I think you're overthinking the WBC, they're not trying to do that, they're trying to do THIS."

I would also consider just talking to the other person about your idea for the joke, and just ask if they'd mind. A lot of people like the chance to give insight and if you play up how different the joke is they'll probably just be flattered. Worst case scenario, you could offer to let them take the joke and do what they want with it. Of course, I'm in Pittsburgh where our most prolific comics just talk about and Doctor Who, so giving people original material is like the noblest charity there is. Anything to get more quality up there.

I think finishing other people's setups is an awesome exercise to do privately if nothing else - it's like creating a vacuum where you can develop your own voice, which is like priority number one.

Here's a question for experienced folks, I'm trying to get a venue for a regular open mic, ideally at a bar. I don't know if I should go to the bars I'm considering in person during the day, or e-mail first, or call, or what. No idea how bars decide what they want to host or even how to present my concept - the only show I've organized was at a theater. Does anyone (FactsAreUseless) have any pointers for making a good pitch?

(e: trying to sound less boastful)

Abitha Denton fucked around with this message at Oct 25, 2013 around 19:32

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011


Abitha Denton posted:

Does anyone (FactsAreUseless) have any pointers for making a good pitch?
My thing never ended up happening. I still have not ever participated in an open mic. Here's the story: I tried to go to an open mic night at a bakery only to discover that the person who was supposed to be organizing and hosting it never showed. Two weeks later I came back for their next one, which they promised to have a store employee set up. He was "too busy." So I just said "fine, I'll just host the next one, how hard can it be?" The person in charge told me to show up the first week of October. I did, and showed up to meet a handful of other comics and no audience. One of the comics said "Everyone thought it was next week, we just showed up to figure out what the deal was." Since we had about a 1:1 comic:audience ratio, it got moved to the following week... which I couldn't make.

On the drive back from the first canceled mic, I struck a deer. So I guess my advice would be: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

freud mayweather
Jan 29, 2009



FactsAreUseless posted:

My thing never ended up happening. I still have not ever participated in an open mic. Here's the story: I tried to go to an open mic night at a bakery only to discover that the person who was supposed to be organizing and hosting it never showed. Two weeks later I came back for their next one, which they promised to have a store employee set up. He was "too busy." So I just said "fine, I'll just host the next one, how hard can it be?" The person in charge told me to show up the first week of October. I did, and showed up to meet a handful of other comics and no audience. One of the comics said "Everyone thought it was next week, we just showed up to figure out what the deal was." Since we had about a 1:1 comic:audience ratio, it got moved to the following week... which I couldn't make.

On the drive back from the first canceled mic, I struck a deer. So I guess my advice would be: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

don't worry about the comic to audience ratio. even in nyc a ton of the mics have no audience. you can still do good work.

Abitha Denton
Jan 10, 2012


FactsAreUseless posted:

My thing never ended up happening. I still have not ever participated in an open mic. Here's the story: I tried to go to an open mic night at a bakery only to discover that the person who was supposed to be organizing and hosting it never showed. Two weeks later I came back for their next one, which they promised to have a store employee set up. He was "too busy." So I just said "fine, I'll just host the next one, how hard can it be?" The person in charge told me to show up the first week of October. I did, and showed up to meet a handful of other comics and no audience. One of the comics said "Everyone thought it was next week, we just showed up to figure out what the deal was." Since we had about a 1:1 comic:audience ratio, it got moved to the following week... which I couldn't make.

On the drive back from the first canceled mic, I struck a deer. So I guess my advice would be: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Aw boo! I'm sorry to hear that. Didn't realize that meant it didn't happen when I was scanning the thread, my bad. I hope you find a place at some point!

If anyone's curious I ended up getting some pointers from someone locally, who recommended picking a place where they know your face, or come in a few times to get them to know your face before pitching. Which feels like the obvious thing to me now that someone said it, so that's embarrassing.

freud mayweather posted:

don't worry about the comic to audience ratio. even in nyc a ton of the mics have no audience. you can still do good work.

This is 100% true, especially practicing at open mics. In my experience even nice comics don't laugh that much so if you can get a good response at an empty mic you're gold.

If we have people here who want to get into it and don't live in places with loads of spaces to practice, does anyone have any feelings on posting/critiquing videos just made at home? That might be embarrassing/hard to do without a live audience but it couldn't be any more awkward than this guy (terrible stand-up YT link) and I love talking about jokes and deliveries.

clown shoes
Jul 17, 2004

Nothing but clowns down here.

Abitha Denton posted:

If we have people here who want to get into it and don't live in places with loads of spaces to practice, does anyone have any feelings on posting/critiquing videos just made at home? That might be embarrassing/hard to do without a live audience but it couldn't be any more awkward than this guy (terrible stand-up YT link) and I love talking about jokes and deliveries.

The lesson here is is to keep saying "more jokes" so that the audience knows more jokes are on the way.

XIII
Feb 11, 2009


Abitha Denton posted:

This is 100% true, especially practicing at open mics. In my experience even nice comics don't laugh that much so if you can get a good response at an empty mic you're gold.

I will admit to being terrible about not laughing. Even when it's people/jokes I find genuinely funny. I'm paying attention, but I'm also in my own head about how I can piggy back something or tie a joke into it or if I need to scrap a topic because others are hammering on it.

Does anyone else spend a LOT of time at comedy clubs? Sadly, there's only one club in my state, but it's only a couple of minutes away from my place. I'm at the club for every open mic and, usually, at least one more night each week, watching the feature and headliner, trying to learn. Last week, I was there three nights, for two shows two of the three nights. I've gotten in good with the staff and get to meet and hang out with a lot of the comics. I spent a couple hours last Friday and Saturday hanging out and chatting with Paul Hooper. Dude was super nice and actually talked TO me, not AT me like some of the guys who feel like they're hot poo poo.

Secretserviced
Apr 15, 2009


Oh poo poo, neat, just found this thread! Dude from VA here, with about a year of experience doing open mics in Greensboro, NC. Moved back to VA, so now I am uh... writing?

Anyway, figure I'd try to start a debate about Twitter. I know it's just a website that doesn't translate as well as you'd think to performance, but it's a great way to just get in the habit of writing down any joke or jokey thing you come up with, no matter how dumb it may be. So it's basically a writing exercise that really improves your joke writing and has the potential to kind of get you noticed.

Downsides though, I've been writing some decent stuff and you'd think it have picked up more people, but it just doesn't seem to build much if any momentum. Maybe I'm just bad at promoting it I don't know. I'm @Reedinkski on twitter if you want to confirm your suspicions

Anyway, thoughts, opinions?

Smerdyakov
Jul 8, 2008



Secretserviced posted:

Twitter stuff

If you find twitter a useful way to jot down joke ideas, then I'd say go for it, but don't expect it to be anything beyond on that. With a tiny number of exceptions, twitter is for amplifying the presence you already have rather than a way to raise your profile.

Abitha Denton posted:

Here's a question for experienced folks, I'm trying to get a venue for a regular open mic, ideally at a bar. I don't know if I should go to the bars I'm considering in person during the day, or e-mail first, or call, or what. No idea how bars decide what they want to host or even how to present my concept - the only show I've organized was at a theater. Does anyone (FactsAreUseless) have any pointers for making a good pitch?

  • Phone calls and email are way less efficient than just going there in person, looking at the venue to see if it'll be a good fit, and finding out when the person/people you need to talk to will be there. Except for in the downtown of really big cities, most bars are actively looking for stuff to do at their bar, especially during the week.
  • The thing to realize is that their expectations are not actually that high--if you can bring in 10-20 people (even if they're almost all comics/friends of comics) at 8:30pm on Wednesday or whatever, that's often much better than what they usually get.
  • Make sure the comics avoid actively alienating the other patrons by having a more strict set of rules about content at first. Some comics will bitch about it, but you don't want to lose your show because someone made one really off-color joke that offended the staff or the regulars. Open micers have no sense of social calibration, do not trust them to perceive the vibe of the place.
  • Even when you make your inital pitch, make sure the staff is 100% on board with you--always be nice to them, always thank them on stage, don't make jokes about them. The last place I ran my showcase, the staff were so hostile to us they would tell people that came in and asked about it that it wasn't happening.
  • Ask for once or twice a month at first, since even if you make posters and advertise it on facebook a lot, it will be 3-6 months before any non-comics know or care about it. Once a month is better if the venue is literally empty and the comics are going to have to bring most/all of the crowd, twice a month is better if there are usually some people there that can be convinced to pay attention.
  • If you can show them any previous poster or promotional stuff you've done or even just mockups (and they don't look like poo poo) that can really convince people to get on board with you, since free promotion is always a good thing. If you have the ability to make a video promo in the future, let them know that you'll do that. They can post it on their facebook page and more than that, it shows you're going to bring a certain level of quality.

Here are two promos for shows that I did, and they've really helped whenever I'm trying to get a show someplace new:
http://vimeo.com/63740009
http://vimeo.com/68047875

Abitha Denton
Jan 10, 2012


Smerdyakov posted:

awesome poo poo

This is great, thanks so much for your insight! The video promos are a fantastic idea that I should work on.

I ended up setting up a pilot event at a bookstore just to see who was interested and have a little more to bring to the bar I want to use, since I'm not really tight with the staff yet.

Secretserviced posted:

Anyway, figure I'd try to start a debate about Twitter. I know it's just a website that doesn't translate as well as you'd think to performance, but it's a great way to just get in the habit of writing down any joke or jokey thing you come up with, no matter how dumb it may be. So it's basically a writing exercise that really improves your joke writing and has the potential to kind of get you noticed.

Downsides though, I've been writing some decent stuff and you'd think it have picked up more people, but it just doesn't seem to build much if any momentum. Maybe I'm just bad at promoting it I don't know. I'm @Reedinkski on twitter if you want to confirm your suspicions

Followed! Your stuff is cute. I don't know much about getting noticed on Twitter, but I use it to record shorter jokes so if anyone steals 'em there's a record. Because I'm a paranoid old lady who thinks that could happen. It's also just a nice way to organize stuff so you can't lose it like with notebooks, and usually other comics with Twitters are flattered when you follow them, so if you want to network it's like the least humiliating form of rear end-kissing possible.

As far as I can tell if you really do want more attention on Twitter you'd probably want to participate in more hashtagging stuff so people can see you on those feeds, and get into conversations with more popular people with similar styles. I think most of the people with a lot of followers also tweet like a thousand times a day, though, so only you can decide if it's worth the effort.

I reckon Smerdyakov has the right idea.

Karl Ontario
Jan 1, 2006

Maybe if I'm part of that mob, I can help steer it in wise directions.

I have an upcoming open mic this Friday and I'm thinking of opening with a bit about how Batman really took being an orphan hard. Do you think that is too alienating to the crowd, or that by this point everyone pretty much knows Batman's origin?

XIII
Feb 11, 2009


Karl Ontario posted:

I have an upcoming open mic this Friday and I'm thinking of opening with a bit about how Batman really took being an orphan hard. Do you think that is too alienating to the crowd, or that by this point everyone pretty much knows Batman's origin?

I will admit to loving Batman, so I'm not the best representative of John Q., but I like that premise and support it. Plus, if you think it's funny, I say go for it. Tell the jokes that you'd like to hear and accept that you won't be for everyone.

The Joe Man
Apr 7, 2007

Flirting With Apathetic Waitresses Since 1984

Karl Ontario posted:

I have an upcoming open mic this Friday and I'm thinking of opening with a bit about how Batman really took being an orphan hard. Do you think that is too alienating to the crowd, or that by this point everyone pretty much knows Batman's origin?

With the recent movie trilogy, everyone's "favorite superhero!!" is suddenly Batman. You're totally fine.


EDIT: Obviously don't start going into detail about Joe Chill or whatever else though because no one will know what the gently caress.

The Joe Man fucked around with this message at Jan 7, 2014 around 01:35

SaberToothedPie
Dec 24, 2012

The #RXT REVOLUTION has two words for ya..
SCOOP IT!



he knows...


Hi thread, I really really love comedy, especially stand-up and improv, and it's something I've always wanted to try. So I've been preparing by jotting down every single (un)funny thing that comes to me down on twitter(@SaberToothedPie if you're interested in unfunny dick jokes) and then picking the ones I like the most and putting them and jokes on that same topic/subject together in a notepad file and come up with segways. I know everybody probably does it differently, but is this an acceptable way to write a set or should I script it out more exact? What's a good way to figure out which jokes you should open/close with?

Unfortunately there's only one club that does open mics near me, and it's weekly, which is kind of a bummer. Also I've read this entire thread, it's been really helpful, thanks.

edit: forgot to mention I'm in St. Petersburg, Florida. There's some other florida goons in this thread, so hi.

SaberToothedPie fucked around with this message at Jan 7, 2014 around 07:13

XIII
Feb 11, 2009


I'll toss you a follow on Twitter. But, really, there's no right or wrong way to write your jokes. I've tried a hundred different methods (recommended by my favorite writers, comics, friends) and, ultimately, it's not right for me. Just find what works for you and do that.

E the Shaggy
Mar 29, 2010


Karl Ontario posted:

I have an upcoming open mic this Friday and I'm thinking of opening with a bit about how Batman really took being an orphan hard. Do you think that is too alienating to the crowd, or that by this point everyone pretty much knows Batman's origin?

I have a Batman bit as well and I find it usually works fine, it works even better when there's a Batman movie out/coming down the pike but still. You could start by saying "I was watching Dark Knight the other day" or something along those lines as EVERYONE'S seen it at this point.

Sataere
Jul 20, 2005


Step 1: Start fight
Step 2: Attack straw man
Step 3: REPEAT

Do not engage with me




I've actually written segways designed for callbacks to prior performances, just because audiences seem to find it really impressive. I've also had no problem telling people ideas they can work with for a bit. If they came up with a premise and I think I have a good punchline, I have no problem giving it to them, if they want to use it. I just like funny jokes, and in that situation, they really did all the work.

I'm just glad to have a guideline to follow. I think I come up with a lot of great stuff just by being at open mic nights. Sometimes, it isn't even remotely related to anything I heard. It's just hearing one thing that throws you into a different tangent, then a third tangent and then BOOM, comedy gold.

poo poo, I just wrote about five minutes of material based on the cold snap the country just had and I can't help feeling I will never write another bit that good. And it all came from some offhand comment I made about the weather.

As for this particular joke, it is in my notebook and it is from over a year ago. I rarely get out, I am just writing material until summer. I couldn't even tell you what the dude looks like or if I'll ever see him again, so I'm not going to sweat it.

Dr. Magnificent
Sep 1, 2006



Recorded my set from last night. Did some new stuff.

https://soundcloud.com/trevor-cunni...n-the-brewery-1

Side note: If your city has an improv scene it would benefit to get acquainted with it. This was a show with 4 improv groups and me in the middle. The crowds at these are always great.

Dr. Magnificent fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2014 around 20:52

The Banana Pee
Feb 16, 2007

Bana - not long enough. Bananana - dammit!


Chiming in as a fellow comedian who stands up. My act is mostly one-liners and non-sequiturs, so when I put together a set there isn't much common thread between the jokes. This makes it very hard for me to memorize my act, which is currently very fluid as I am still finding my standup "voice". Does anyone have any good memorization tips, so I don't keep relying on a cheat sheet? My delivery and audience reaction are so much better when I don't use one.


EDIT:

Dr. Magnificent posted:

Recorded my set from last night. Did some new stuff.

https://soundcloud.com/trevor-cunni...n-the-brewery-1

Side note: If your city has an improv scene it would benefit to get acquainted with it. This was a show with 4 improv groups and me in the middle. The crowds at these are always great.

I'm in tears. Great material, and especially great delivery.

The Banana Pee fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2014 around 21:03

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

That sounds like a recipe for getting snatched and murdered

The Banana Pee posted:

Does anyone have any good memorization tips, so I don't keep relying on a cheat sheet?


if you've been doing comedy less than a year and you're not doing paid shows yet, don't worry about the cheat sheet, it's about getting comfortable on stage and being in front of (drunk) people staring at you and expecting funny. by the time you shouldn't have one anymore, you won't need one:) Having said that, I name every bit I have and then arrange them like a musicians set list. My bits aren't one liners, they tend to be stories so it's a little easier, but I group them together by (somewhat) related topic. In fact I did my first headlining gig on new years eve and this was my set list (i didn't make it through all of them, it always takes longer than you think on stage once you get the crowd involved):

Football Fans
Block of Cheese
Spider Volcano Channel
Anti Social Networking
Slap Yo' Mama
Amazon Recommendations
Scoops
Online Dating
High Fiver
Not my Type
Dating Hosts
Middle aged
Never Underestimate a Woman
2 Boners
Va-Jazzling
Harry Potter Vulva
Uterus Redecorating
Ikea mattress pads
Basket of Dicks
Mittens on a plane
Pregnancy Test
Lil Smoky Gnomes
Weed is Legal
Weed at Seaworld
Breathalyzer for fun and profit
Hippos and Meth
James Deen
MRI
Near Death Experience
Big Lady

Then I break them up into categories (loosely):


**TV**
Football Fans
Block of Cheese
Spider Volcano Channel

**Internet**
Anti Social Networking
Slap Yo' Mama
Amazon Recommendations
Scoops
Online Dating

**Dating**
High Fiver
Not my Type
Dating Hosts
Middle aged
Never Underestimate a Woman
2 Boners
Va-Jazzling
Harry Potter Vulva

**Periods**
Uterus Redecorating
Ikea mattress pads
Basket of Dicks

**Security**
Mittens on a plane
Pregnancy Test

**Drugs/Alcohol**
Lil Smoky Gnomes
Weed is Legal
Weed at Seaworld
Breathalyzer for fun and profit
Hippos and Meth

**Porn**
James Deen

**Health**
MRI
Near Death Experience

**Closer**
Big Lady

Knowing which categories I want to talk about and what bits are in each one, makes it easy for me to create a "set".

TL:DR
don't worry about having the notes right now, get comfortable on stage. Name your jokes, and categorize them, then make a "set list" like a musician that has categories.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Greek Tragedy
Aug 4, 2008

That sounds like a recipe for getting snatched and murdered

Any of you Comedy goons in/near Washington DC?
I'm going to be there for a week in March and I really want to get some work in while I'm there. So far I've only been offered a 5 minute guest "bringer" spot and I'm not arrogant enough to think that I should get a headline gig at the improv, but I am most definitely a very solid feature act and have done a few headline gigs as well recently.

Anyone have any information on who/where I should contact? I'm coming up with a lot of nothing.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«23 »