You’re performing at an open mic and running through your jokes, but you decide to go off script. Maybe you lost your place, you were distracted, got brave and decided to try crowd work.
It happens, but if you decide to wing it, don’t do these things.
DON’T complain about the crowd not laughing. You tell a joke and there is silence. Just move on. Don’t say something like, “Hey that was funny. What’s wrong with you guys?” Think that’s going to make them laugh at your next joke?
Work on making sure you have jokes that people will laugh at. Leave the crowd alone while on stage. You can complain about the crowd being terrible off stage with the other comics like everyone else.
DON’T do crowd work that goes nowhere. If you ask the couple up in front how long they have been together, they say this is their first date, and you say, “Cool” and move on, that’s not crowd work. It’s just awkward. Leave the audience alone until you are ready with a funny response.
DON’t ask people to repeat what they said. You’re on stage and hear someone in the audience say something. Unless you asked the audience to respond, don’t ask the audience member to repeat what they said. Why would you do that? You don’t want them talking at all. Either ignore them or ask them to keep it down.
DON’T come unprepared. Open mics are a chance to work on your material. And stage time is precous. Have a plan, tell those jokes. Maybe improvise a bit. But don’t go up there trying to wing it off the top of your head, unless that’s your whole zany act.
Also, notes are frowned upon but sometimes necessary. But avoid reading your jokes off your phone while on stage. It just screams you weren’t ready. Don’t do it.
DON’T run the light. It’s bad enough when someone who is doing well goes over their time. But when someone is over their time and still struggling and trying again and again to maybe get a laugh, it’s torture. Cut your losses, get off stage and work on what you can improve next time.
Standup comics are brilliant, wonderful and charming people for the most part. But some continue to do things that are pet peeves of mine and others. Just stop.
Not commiting to a stage name. If you want to go with the stage name of Ruben Sandwich The Comedian, that’s cool. But if you pick a stage name, make it distinctive or at least run with it.
If your real name is Bob Smith and your stage name is Jim, and you have no social media using Jim, what are you doing? Hiding from creditors? As a booker I prefer comics who draw people, not hide from them.
Asking for support. We all want support, but complaining that people don’t support you or that people should come out and support live comedy isn’t the way to go. You want people to come to the show BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.
That’s the vibe you want to sell. Not that your cousin is obligated to sit through dozens of dick jokes.
Being dumb on social media. If you are making foolish choices on social media, that really makes me wonder what you might say live on stage. Think before you post. Delete is your friend. Stupid memes and Facebook fights are not.
Puzzling email names. So many times I get requests for stage time from an email like JulieJones@gmail.com asking for a spot for Jon Doe. Why is the email different? Is your mom reaching out for you? Is this a stage name? Don’t be confusing.
Stop with all the murdering and crushing. Super. You had a good show. But when you boast on social media that everyone on the show killed, crushed and murdered, it makes me wonder if that’s really true and if there were any survivors (or audience members).
It’s OK to just have a great show. Do you see many people that do comedy for a living boast about crushing and killing?
Racial stereotype jokes. If you are not a member of that minority group and you are doing jokes about that minority group that just play on stereotypes, it better be a damn good joke. If you’re newer to comedy, I can assure you it’s not a damn good joke.
Uncool Randy won the Funniest Person In Louisville contest in large part because in the finals he started what seemed to be a racial stereotype joke then turned it completely around. The audience was relieved and delighted.
Louisville Laughs gets into the spooky season with a Comedy Masquerade.
Our favorite local stand-up comics will perform as other local comics.
It promises to be a hilarious time.
The lineup includes:
Host: Brandy Norton as Hillary Boston Hillary Boston as Josh Gibson Creig Ewing as Kyle Stolte June Dempsey as Uncool Randy Josh Gibson as Aaron Love Alex Whittenburg as Jeff Toy Lucious Williams as Big Dumb Chris Zach Brumback as Jake Hovis Lena Beamish as Mandee McKelvey Randy Crumley as June Dempsey Jake Hovis as Eric Kimbrough Aaron Love as Davis Santos Angie Ellendson as Amber Segundo
Good Cop/Rad Cop are coming to town to perform at The Whirling Tiger on Thursday, August 31! Don’t miss your chance to see this one-of-a-kind performance. They will be joined by some of our Louisville favorites Dan Alten, Ehrin Dowdle, Ali Gautier, Qsmoke, and Aaron Love!
Tickets are $7 online and $10 at the door. Get your tickets here.
Dave Hannah and Ryan Darling comprise the musical comedy duo Good Cop/Rad Cop. They headline shows all over the country and leave audiences laughing and singing along. They have performed in Red Eye Comedy Festival, Epic Comedy Festival, Lookout Comedy Festival, and are booked to perform at Laughing Skull later this year.
Dave and Ryan were kind enough to answer some questions from Louisville Laughs.
Louisville Laughs: How did you guys get started in comedy? Did you start out writing and performing together? How did this partnership come to be?
We both got started in comedy as standups. I met Dave one night while I was bartending and hosting a mic at JJ’s Bohemia in Chattanooga. We got along great and have been friends since then. We did a few goof-off songs and weird experimental shows here and there, but we didn’t really start writing together until the pandemic. We were roommates during lockdown, so we stopped doing standup and moved to music.
Where did the name Good Cop/Rad Cop come from?
Our band name came from nowhere. We were submitting to an internet competition for a punk band called “Pup,” and in order to submit our video we had to have some kind of name, so Ryan shouted that out and we ran with it because we didn’t plan on it getting anywhere.
Who are some of your comedy heroes and why?
We’re big fans of Rory Scovel, Jo Firestone and Andy Daly. We’re also big fans of each other. We both enjoy experimental comedy that breaks the rules. We’re big on breaking rules.
Being such a unique act, have you found that you’ve had to create your own opportunities in spaces that don’t typically showcase your style of comedy?
Yes, sort of. A lot of places are welcoming to our act because it’s so different. However, some places are reasonably concerned about taking a chance on something so unique.
What advice have you gotten that has made the most difference in your journey as comedians? Do you have any advice for new comedians, writers, performers, artists?
Our best advice is to be willing to fail. If you’re not failing at least sometimes, then you’re not doing anything that someone hasn’t seen before. Also, stay true to what you enjoy. You will get the career that you work alongside of. If you want to work at a club, then work with the club. If you want to work at a bar, then work with the bars.
Do you have any comedy horror stories you’re willing to share?
A multitude. We’ve both done incredibly good shows and incredibly bad shows. Dave once drove to Atlanta on three separate occasions to do a show at a bed and breakfast in which he was never remembered, not even one time. At one Good Cop Rad Cop Show, Ryan misunderstood that a person in the audience was genuinely disliking our sound. Sarcastically, he threatened to fight him, which was met with a legitimate offer for combat.
Do you have a specific show you’ve done that stands out as your favorite?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we always have a good time at shows where we get to go a little crazy. At Epic Comedy Hour in Huntsville, we take off our shirts and get insane. Once, Dave was crowd-surfed out of a house party. It is uncertain if they enjoyed it or wanted him to leave.
You’ve performed at Red Eye Comedy Festival, Epic Comedy Festival, Lookout Comedy Festival, and will be featured at Laughing Skull Festival this year! What do you like about performing in festivals? And how is that experience different from doing an independent show with just your musical comedy variety show?
Festivals are great because we get to spend time with other comedians, not just at the show but often for a couple of days. There is nothing more entertaining than rolling around with professional comics and finding the humor in literally everything that you encounter. Sometimes you laugh so much that existence is weird for the next few days.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Why yes, we do, and thank you for asking. Before every show, Ryan and I will usually push and slap each other. We recently started butt bumping. We don’t know why, but for some reason, it gets us very amped up for the performance and has yet to be ineffective.
You have a hilarious podcast called The Itty Bitty Ditty Committee in which you teach the audience how to write a little ditty. How does the podcast inform your act? Do you find that the podcast helps you develop material?
Honestly, we haven’t done much of the songs live, though we have tried it in the past. It helps us get into a songwriting mindset and reminds us that not all songs have to be good, but the ones we’ll be doing live definitely are.
What do you set out to achieve in a show? What do you want the audience to take away from the Good Cop/Rad Cop experience?
A recent report said that people who see Taylor Swift live might forget they were there because they were so entertained. This is exactly what we hope to achieve. Our goal, every time, is for you to wake up in a Good Cop/ Rad Cop t-shirt and have no recollection of how you got it.
You can find Good Cop Rad Cop on their YouTube, podcast, and socials. Don’t miss your chance to see them live Thursday, August 31st at Whirling Tiger. Get your tickets here!
You’ve done open mics, and you’re ready to reach out to get booked on comedy shows. You’re going to need a few things in addition to a funny 5 minutes. Make sure to have these when asking for stage time.
A decent photo of you. Preferably a head shot and promo shot. In color. In focus. Where you don’t look like someone who would scare audience members away. If you can’t invest a few minutes or couple bucks for a decent photo of yourself, why should somone give you 5 minutes on stage?
A video of you performing. If you are asking someone who has never seen you to give you stage time, assuring them that you are funny doesn’t fly. Send a video. Oh, and make sure the audience is laughing in the video.
A short bio. Bookers may ask for your bio to help promote the show. Have it handy. It can include something about you, your comedy, your experience, where you have performed. Listing people you have “opened” for does little for me. Keep it short.
A reasonable email address. If your stage name is Tostada The Comedian then email@example.com is a reasonable email. If your name is Bob Smith and your email address is HenryWilson@yahoo.com, it raises questions. If your stage name is Sam Jones and your email is BansheeWith3Dicks@aol.com, it raises even more questions.
A solid social media footprint. If I can’t find you on Facebook, TikTok or Instagram, I wonder if you are more interested in witness protection than performing in public. On the flip side, if you are active on social media and post primarily borrowed memes, political screeds or whiny content, people may not want to book you.
E-mail etiquette. I have received many emails from someone with an address like Hilarious69@gmail.com saying, “I’d like to be on your show. I’m very funny.” Don’t be Hilarious69. Include your name, a video, say what you are looking for – a guest spot or host spot or whatever. And some credentials, such as where your are from, where you have performed or who can vouch for you. Make sure the person you say vouches for you knows you are using their name.