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
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.