Louisville Laughs comedy events on tap this October

Louisville Laughs has an exciting list of shows this October. Here is what’s on tap:

Sunday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Never Say Die Comedy Hour (or Two)

Never Say Die, St. Matthews

Free

Join Louisville Laughs and close out your weekend with laughter at the Never Say Die Comedy Hour (or Two) open mic. Comics from across the region will perform while you enjoy a craft cocktail, cold beer and cool art.

To sign up for a spot to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com

Thursday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.

New Comics Showcase

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Tickets

Join Louisville Laughs for our New Comics Showcase on Oct. 13 at the Aloft Louisville Downtown.

We introduce you to some of our favorite comics from the area who could be the next big stars.

Then veteran comic, actor and playwright Keith McGill will close the show.

Our new comics include: Aaron Love, Alex Hernandez, Bradley Zahnd, Cali Botkin, JoJo Jones, Mairead Thomas, Michelle Renee and QSmoke.

See you Oct. 13 at Aloft for a night of laughter, plus great food and drinks from the Corner restaurant in the Aloft lobby.

Sunday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m.

Louisville Laughs presents: Liam Nelson

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs on Sunday, Oct. 16 at TEN20 Craft Brewery for a special show with touring standup comic Liam Nelson.

Liam, from Atlanta, Ga., has featured at comedy clubs and other venues across the country.

He will be joined by Orlando comic Ty Colgate and Louisville’s James Ferguson.

Admission is free. Donations are accepted. Reservations ensure seating.

Come out for a night of laughter, great craft beer and food from MozzaPi and Happy Belly Bistro.

Sunday, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday Comedy Showcase

The Bard’s Town

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs on Oct. 23 for our Sunday Comedy Showcase featuring some of our favorite standup comics.

The show will include: Jesse Johnson, Lena Beamish, Nathaniel Potts-Wells, Grant Volkmar, Dusty Carter, Lucious Williams, Brandy Norton and host Creig Ewing.

Admission is free. Reservations help ensure seating.

See you at The Bard for a night of laughter, great food and drinks.

Thursday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.

Comedy Night at Gravely

Gravely Brewing Co

Free tickets

Start your Halloween weekend off with a laugh at Comedy Night at Gravely. We have a group of standup comics who will have you grinning like a jack-o-lantern.

The show features Adam Minnick of Cincinnati, who has performed at comedy clubs and festivals across the country. Adam also has own Dry Bar comedy special.

Also on the show:

  • Comedian Donna Watts, a veteran TV and radio personality
  • Ty Leach, who recently finished runner-up in the Funniest Person In Louisville contest
  • Pete Wolynec, a Louisville comic and member of The Non-Essentials cover band
  • Host Creig Ewing, founder of Louisville Laughs

Admission is free. Tickets ensure seating.

Join us for a night of laughter, fresh beer and great food from Mayan Street Food.

The “Are you a good open mic comic?” test

You go to a lot of comedy open mics and are working on your one-hour Netflix special. But are you a good open micer now? Here’s a test to tell.

You showed up to the mic on time. Congrats! Give yourself one point

You stayed for the entire show. Sweet. Give yourself another point

You mostly stayed outside smoking during the show. Whatever. Deduct one point

You left as soon as your set was over. Sure. You’re busy. Deduct one point

You stayed for the show mostly talking loudly with people at your table. Zip it! Deduct two points

You bought food or a drink or at least tipped for water. Nice. Give yourself two points

You didn’t purchase anything or tip anyone. Times are hard. Deduct one point

You brought people to the show. Awesome. Give yourself a point for every audience member you brought

All your friends left as soon as your set was over. That sucks. Take back half those friend points

Your set was funny and people laughed. You rock! Give yourself two points

Your set went over the time. C’mon. Deduct one point

You said something on stage like, “I’m so high right now.” Dude! Deduct one point

You gave feedback to a comic who asked. Great. Give yourself a point

You gave feedback to comics who didn’t want it. Uncool. Deduct one point

You stayed after the show to hang with other comics. Cool. Give yourself one point

You hung around after the show to hit on other comics and wait staff. Creepy. Deduct one point

THE SCORE

8 points or more — You should be headlining open mics

5-7 points — You’re a solid feature

3-5 points — Have you thought about hosting?

1-2 points — Comedy is hard

0 points or less — Karaoke is fun, too

About the author

Creig Ewing is a comedian and show producer. He has put on hundreds of open mics, showcases and comedy shows in the Louisville area. He has hosted numerous shows and has featured at The Caravan Comedy Club in Louisville. He gets a lot of seemingly positive comments on his comedy.

How to get booked on shows as a newer comic

You’ve done a bunch of open mics and other shows. People say you are funny. How do you get booked on comedy shows?

Keep grinding — The best way to continue to get better at comedy is to keep doing it wherever the opportunities exist. Open mics, contests, showcases, Zoom, out of town shows. Whatever works for you. You are getting better, meeting more people and developing a reputation as someone serious about comedy.

Show your face at comedy clubs/venues when you don’t have a spot. You might land one, and you also put yourself on the radar of bookers.

If you wonder why you have been sitting home for six months and no one has asked you to be on a comedy show, it’s because you have been sitting home for six months.

You notice how some people keep gobbling up all the opportunities? Because they are always busy.

Be reliable — When you do get an opportunity, be on time and ready to perform. You show up late or not at all or are too drunk or high, you make a bad impression that lasts a long time.

Reliable also means that bookers have a good idea of your comedy. If you submit a video where you do bits about puppies and butterflies and then your whole act at the retirement center is about whacking off, that may not land a second show.

Gather your tools — Most bookers will want a video of your act, so get a decent video of you doing at least 5 minutes. MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE LAUGHING. You are submitting a video to show that you are good at comedy. And a video of you telling jokes while the crowd is silent or talking about the weather is not a good impression.

You also will want a decent photo — something that can be cropped into a headshot but is more than a headshot. And in color. I love B&W art, but you don’t want to be the only comic with a black & white photo on a flyer.

At some point, you will want an electronic press kit that contains videos of your act, photos, links to your website, social media, etc. For now, at least put together a couple paragraphs that describes your act and what makes you unique.

Reach out to bookers — If you don’t know the person booking the show, the best way to reach out asking for work is to determine how they want admissions submitted and follow that method. If they want it at the comedy club email, send a request there. Don’t send it via text to the owner’s phone number you saw on a buddy’s phone. Most comedy clubs will tell you how to submit on their websites.

Be professional when reaching out — Send an email that includes your name, a link to your video, maybe a photo and say you are interested in being a host, feature, headliner, being on a showcase whatever. Don’t volunteer to do something you can’t deliver yet.

So many people are so bad at sending emails that don’t include their name, a video or anything helpful. You can stand out immediately by being a little bit professional.

If you have credentials — won a contest, were selected for a festival, hosted at a comedy club, acting, etc. — say it. Saying you “opened” for headliners doesn’t do much except to seem like you are grasping.

Let the booker know if you can help sell tickets — “I am originally from your city, and I am sure I can get a dozen family members and friends to the show.” Just make sure you follow through.

Get out of town — Whenever you can, try to find a stage out of town. When you are there, make connections. Build a network of comedy contacts. One benefit of performing out of town is the people don’t see you as that comic who was a brand-new open micer just a few years ago. Also, you can do that bit you’ve done 1,000 times back home, and it’s fresh.

Help promote — If you are on a show, make sure to share the ticket link, flyer, etc. on social media. Heck, offer to put up posters around town. If a booker gives you a chance to be on a showcase and you haven’t lifted a finger to help generate an audience, it doesn’t sit well.

And promote shows that you aren’t on as well. You generate good will that way and may get on the next one.

Put on your own shows — A lot of folks make their own way by putting on their own open mics or shows. This isn’t for everyone. Heck, it’s not for half the people who do it. But it’s an option. Or offer to help people who do put on shows. Or find a job at a comedy club. This is a tried and true option.

Watch your social media — If you reach out about being on a show, a booker will probably check out your social media. Is your social media presence something that would make a person want to work with you or avoid you?

Be funny – This helps too.

About the author

Creig Ewing is a comedian and show producer. He has put on hundreds of open mics, showcases and comedy shows in the Louisville area. He has hosted numerous shows and has featured at The Caravan Comedy Club in Louisville. He gets a lot of seemingly positive comments on his comedy.

Louisville Laughs comedy events on tap in August

Louisville Laughs has an exciting list of shows in August, including the opening rounds of the first Funniest Person In Louisville contest. Here is what’s on tap:

Thursday, Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.

Funniest Person in Louisville first round

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Tickets

Have some laughs and help choose the Funniest Person in Louisville for 2022. Thirteen comics will compete to advance to the finals, and the audience and judges will determine who moves on.

Come cheer on the comics and enjoy great food and drinks from the Corner restaurant/bar at Aloft Louisville Downtown.

Sunday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m.

Comedy at TEN20 open mic

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free admission

Join Louisville Laughs for the Comedy at TEN20 open mic. Comics work on their best sets, and you can enjoy laughs, craft beer and great food from MozzaPi and Happy Belly Bistro.

To sign up for a spot to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com.

Thursday, Aug. 18, 7 p.m.

Comedy Night at Gravely

Gravely Brewing Co

Free tickets

See you on on Aug. 18 for another popular night of laughter at Comedy Night at Gravely Brewing.

August’s standup comedy showcase features comic Jeremiah Martin of Lexington. Jeremiah is a crowd favorite who recently beat out a dozen other comics to win a comedy contest at the Louisville Comedy Club.

Also on the show is Bonita Elery, an actor and standup comic, and other favorites. Your host is Lena Beamish, a rising star in the Louisville comedy scene.

Admission is free. Tickets ensure seating. Come for the laughs, fresh beer and great food from Mayan Street Food.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 7 p.m.

Comedy at TEN20 FEEDBACK mic

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free admission

See you on Aug. 21 at TEN20 Craft Brewery for our first feedback mic, where comics (and brave audience members) can give other comics suggestions, tags and punchlines for their bits.

Blake Hammond, who has a long-running feedback mic in Cincinnati, is coming to help get it started off right.

Work on your sets, enjoy some laughs, craft beer and great food from MozzaPi and Happy Belly Bistro.

To sign up for a spot to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com.

Thursday, Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Funniest Person in Louisville first round

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Tickets

It’s another chance to help choose the Funniest Person in Louisville for 2022. Thirteen comics will compete to advance to the finals in the second competition in the opening rounds, and the audience and judges will determine who moves on.

Come cheer on the comics, have some laughs and great food and drinks from the Corner restaurant/bar at Aloft Louisville Downtown.

Sunday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Funniest Person In Louisville first round

The Bard’s Town

Tickets

It’s another chance to help choose the Funniest Person in Louisville for 2022, this time at The Bard’s Town. Thirteen comics will compete to advance to the finals in the final competition of the opening rounds, and the audience and judges will determine who moves on.

Come cheer on the comics, have some laughs and great food and drinks at The Bard’s Town.

Louisville Laughs comedy events on tap this week

Louisville Laughs has a lot of busy week of shows this week with something for everyone. Here is what’s on tap this week:

Monday, May 16, 7 p.m.

Louisville Laughs New Comics Workshop

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free

Louisville Laughs is holding this free workshop aimed at giving new comics the basics to perform — from how to handle a microphone to how to find stage time.

Instructors will include comic Keith McGill, comedy writer Bret Sohl and Louisville Laughs’ Creig Ewing

To sign up for the class, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m.

Comedy Night at Gravely

Gravely Brewing Co

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs on April 21 for another night of laughter with Comedy Night at Gravely Brewing.

This showcase of standup comedy features appearances feature comic Keith McGill, plus Brian Pitre of Indianapolis; Austin Deller of Cincinnati and Louisville’s Katy Bevins, Lena Beamish, Eric Groovely and host Creig Ewing.

Come for a night of fun, fresh beer and great food from Mayan Street Food.

Friday, May 20, 8 p.m.

Never Say Die Comedy Hour (or two)

Never Say Die

Free admission

This is a special show at Never Say Die. We will open the show with performances by local favorites Tim Northern and Jeff Toy.

After that show, we will hold an open mic for comics.

Have a craft cocktail and join the fun.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Never Say Die shows are every third Friday.

Saturday, May 21, 8 p.m.

Bob Batch & Friends

Falls City Taproom

Tickets

Join Louisville Laughs for this special standup comedy event at the Falls City Taproom.

It will be a night of Louisville Legends of comedy with Bob Batch, Mark Klein and Donna Watts.

This is a show you won’t want to miss and can bring the whole family to see. Bob and Mark have worked across the country and on cruise ships and corporate events and have acts proven to entertain everyone.

Bob Batch is a veteran of more than 10,000 shows and has worked with everyone from Ray Charles to Robin Williams.

Mark Klein has entertained some of America’s largest corporations and has worked for numerous cruise lines.

Donna Watts is a veteran of radio and TV who recently features at The Comedy Caravan.

Tickets are $15. Join us for a night of laughter, fun and great beer and wine.

The event is sponsored by Falls City Beer and Old 502 Winery.

Sunday, May 22, 7:30 p.m.

Bard’s Town Clean Comedy Showcase

The Bard’s Town

Tickets $10

Louisville Laughs has a great night of comedy for the whole with some of our favorite comics from around the region doing clean comedy sets.

You’ll have a great night laughing along with Zach Wycuff, of Cincinnati; Jerrel Beamon, of Dayton, Ohio; Julie Heckman, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Chester Goad, of Cookeville, Tenn.; and Louisville’s Alex Whittenburg, Crystal Phoenix and host Creig Ewing.

This standup comedy show will take place in The Bard’s first floor lounge. Patrons wishing to dine should arrive early to dine in the main restaurant. 

Louisville Laughs comedy events on tap for May

Louisville Laughs has a lot of great comedy shows, open mics, comedy classes and laughs scheduled this month. Here is a breakdown of what’s on tap for May.

Thursday, May 12, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday Comedy Showcase

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs for our Thursday Comedy Showcase on May 12 at Aloft Louisville Downtown.

This standup comedy show will feature veteran comic Mike Nilsson, as well as a demonstration of the Same Game from comics Keith McGill and Donna Watts where the audience can participate.

Also on the show are comics Katy Bevins, Evan Lewis, Lacey Biller and Samuel Lee.

Admission is free. Tickets are requested to ensure seating.

Come for a night of laughter and great food and drinks from the Corner bar/restaurant in Aloft’s inviting lobby.

Sunday, May 15, 7 p.m.

Comedy at TEN20 open mic

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free admission

Join Louisville Laughs for our popular comedy open mic at TEN20 Craft Brewery in Butchertown.

Comics — some new, some veterans — do their best to make you laugh and try out new material.

Comics also have the chance to earn $25 for sets of the night!

Come enjoy some laughs, craft beer, food from MozzaPi and Happy Belly and more.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Comedy TEN20 is every first and third Sunday.

Monday, May 16, 7 p.m.

Louisville Laughs New Comics Workshop

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free

Louisville Laughs is holding this free workshop aimed at giving new comics the basics to perform — from how to handle a microphone to how to find stage time.

Instructors will include comic Keith McGill, comedy writer Bret Sohl and Louisville Laughs’ Creig Ewing

To sign up for the class, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m.

Comedy Night at Gravely

Gravely Brewing Co

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs on April 21 for another night of laughter with Comedy Night at Gravely Brewing.

This showcase of standup comedy features appearances by Tyson Cox and Brian Pitre of Indianapolis; Austin Deller of Cincinnati and Louisville’s Katy Bevins, Lena Beamish, Eric Groovely and host Creig Ewing.

Come for a night of fun, fresh beer and great food from Mayan Street Food.

Friday, May 20, 8 p.m.

Never Say Die Comedy Hour (or two)

Never Say Die

Free admission

This is a special show at Never Say Die. We will open the show with performances by local favorites Tim Northern and Jeff Toy.

After that show, we will hold an open mic for comics.

Have a craft cocktail and join the fun.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Never Say Die shows are every third Friday.

Saturday, May 21, 8 p.m.

Bob Batch & Friends

Falls City Taproom

Tickets

Join Louisville Laughs for this special standup comedy event at the Falls City Taproom.

It will be a night of Louisville Legends of comedy with Bob Batch, Mark Klein and Donna Watts.

This is a show you won’t want to miss and can bring the whole family to see. Bob and Mark have worked across the country and on cruise ships and corporate events and have acts proven to entertain everyone.

Bob Batch is a veteran of more than 10,000 shows and has worked with everyone from Ray Charles to Robin Williams.

Mark Klein has entertained some of America’s largest corporations and has worked for numerous cruise lines.

Donna Watts is a veteran of radio and TV who recently features at The Comedy Caravan.

Tickets are $15. Join us for a night of laughter, fun and great beer and wine.

The event is sponsored by Falls City Beer and Old 502 Winery.

Sunday, May 22, 7:30 p.m.

Bard’s Town Clean Comedy Showcase

The Bard’s Town

Admission $10

Louisville Laughs has a great night of comedy for the whole with some of our favorite comics from around the region doing clean comedy sets.

You’ll have a great night laughing along with Zach Wycuff, of Cincinnati; Jerrel Beamon, of Dayton, Ohio; Julie Heckman, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Chester Goad, of Cookeville, Tenn.; and Louisville’s Alex Whittenburg, Crystal Phoenix and host Creig Ewing.

This standup comedy show will take place in The Bard’s first floor lounge. Patrons wishing to dine should arrive early to dine in the main restaurant. 

Thursday, May 26, 7:30 p.m.

Clean Comedy Showcase

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs for a Clean Comedy Showcase on Thursday, May 26, at Aloft Louisville Downtown.

This show features comics from around the region performing material suitable for the whole family.

It’s going to be a fun night with Adam Minnick from Cincinnati, Kris Izzi and Andy Imlay from Evansville and Louisville’s Lucious Williams, Hillary Boston, Lena Beamish, Andrew Riggs and Patrick Lynch.

Admission is free. Reservations ensure seating.

Come out for a night of laughs. Food and drinks available at the Corner bar/restaurant in the Aloft’s lobby.

Louisville Laughs comedy events on tap for April

Louisville Laughs has a lot of great comedy shows, open mics and fun scheduled. Here is a breakdown of what’s on tap for April.

Sunday, April 3, 7 p.m.

Comedy at TEN20 open mic

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free admission

Join Louisville Laughs for our popular comedy open mic at TEN20 Craft Brewery in Butchertown.

Comics — some new, some veterans — do their best to make you laugh and try out new material.

Comics also have the chance to earn $25 for sets of the night!

Come enjoy some laughs, craft beer, food from MozzaPi and Happy Belly and more.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Comedy TEN20 is every first and third Sunday (no open mic on Easter this month).

Friday, April 15, 8 p.m.

Never Say Die Comedy Hour (or two)

Never Say Die

Free admission

This is a special show at Never Say Die. We will open the show with performances by local favorites Brad Lanning and Lucious Williams.

After that show, we will hold an open mic for comics.

Have a craft cocktail and join the fun.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Never Say Die shows are every third Friday.

Thursday, April 21, 7 p.m.

Comedy Night at Gravely

Gravely Brewing Co

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs on April 21 for another night of laughter with Comedy Night at Gravely Brewing.

This showcase of standup comedy features a special appearance by touring headliner Mark Viola of Florida.

Also on the show are Cincinnati comics Jon Holmes and Nick Noble, Lexington’s Mike Fields, Louisville comics Bonita Elery and Hillary Boston and host Creig Ewing.

Admission is free. Reservations are requested to ensure seating.

Come for a night of fun, fresh beer and great food from Mayan Street Food.

Sunday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.

Kelly Collette with Lee Kimbrell

The Bard’s Town

Tickets $15

Louisville Laughs has landed another incredible comedian for The Bard’s Town Sunday Showcase: Kelly Collette!

Kelly Collette was named Cincinnati’s best comedian by CityBeat in 2020 and has toured clubs and colleges throughout the country. She can be heard on SiriusXM and Pandora. Her DryBar Comedy special, “I Made You This,” was filmed in November 2020.

Kelly will be joined by fellow Cincinnati comic Lee Kimbrell.

This standup comedy show will take place in The Bard’s 2nd floor theatre. Patrons wishing to dine should arrive early to dine in the main restaurant. 

Thursday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.

Louisville vs. Indianapolis Comedy Battle

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Tickets $10

Join Louisville Laughs for one of our popular comedy battles. This time four comics from Louisville take on four from Indianapolis, and the audience decides which city is the funniest!

Louisville comics include: Lucious Williams, Evan Pride, Jeff Toy and Jen Cooper

Indianapolis comics include: Dustin Burkert, Sara Huntington, Nolan Miller and David Brooks

Tickets are $10.

Come to the Aloft Louisville Downtown for a night of fun and laughter where you are the judge!

What people say about your comedy set and what it really means

You’re looking for feedback from your open mic set at Harry’s Haven of Ha Has or wherever and ask a couple comics what they thought. Some comments may sound positive, but this may be what they really mean:

Good set — I was smoking in the alley and didn’t see you.

You’re a good joke writer — Your ability to tell a joke sucks.

You showed a lot of confidence — Your material was terrible.

That was really edgy — That was really inappropriate.

You really went there! — You said m*ther f*cker 27 times at a retirement home gig!

I can see that set killing on Netflix — I actually heard those jokes on Netflix.

Your jokes never get old — You have been doing the same 5 minutes for 10 years.

You have a lot of energy on stage — You were pacing around in circles.

Good to see you doing some crowd work — You were the seventh comic to ask everyone how they were doing.

Not bad — Your set was better than mine, dammit!

About the author

Creig Ewing is a comedian and show producer. He has put on hundreds of open mics, showcases and comedy shows in the Louisville area. He has hosted numerous shows and has featured at The Caravan Comedy Club in Louisville. He gets a lot of seemingly positive comments on his comedy.

Tips for your first or next time doing standup comedy

You decided you want to try stand-up comedy. Congratulations. Whether it’s a bucket-list goal or you believe you’re the next Dave Chappelle, here are some tips to make your first (or next) time on stage a success.

Gather your jokes

Some people try to go onstage and wing it. Don’t be one of those people. Compile your set of jokes.

Whatever jokes you tell should say something about you. Anyone call tell a joke about the the president. You are the expert on your family, your friends, your life.

Write your ideas down

At first, I wrote down every joke by hand. Now I do a lot of the editing in my head, but I always carry a notebook or something to write down joke ideas.

If writing by hand isn’t your thing, type or dictate them into a phone. Ideas may come to you at any time. A cashier says something funny. You’re helping a friend move. If you have an idea, write it down or record it. If you are certain you’ll remember it later, you will be sorry.

A pretty good way to spot a comic is to find someone scribbling in a well-worn notebook.

Practice your routine

Go over your material. You can do it in front of a mirror, before other comics or in your head. I often go over what I am going to say in my head while I’m taking a walk. It helps to keep you free from distractions.

While reviewing your jokes, always look to get rid of words that aren’t needed to get laughs.

Time yourself

As a new comic, you probably will get 3 to 5 minutes on stage. Comedy clubs are serious about the time allowed. At most places you will get a light alerting you there is a minute left. If you go over your time that is called “running the light” and is frowned upon.

It’s no sin to leave the stage with some time left. It is to go over your time. When timing yourself, leave some room for laughs. But don’t count on laughs, especially your first time.

Cut out wasted words

Your job is to get laughs. Keep the words that are needed to get to the funny and cut the rest. What words could be cut out of this joke, for example?

“Common sense isn’t so common anymore, is it? Yesterday I had to run to Kroger to buy some groceries because we were running low on food and stuff, and the cashier put dryer sheets in the bag with my lunch meat. Now my bologna tastes like Bounce.”

Use original material

It is understood in stand-up comedy that the jokes you are telling on stage are jokes that you’ve written. Sometimes you will hear new comics tell jokes that have been told around the water cooler forever. Those are called “street jokes.” You don’t want to tell them on stage.

If you get successful enough, you can buy jokes from joke writers. For now, concentrate on writing your own material.

Sometimes you hear comics tell jokes that other comics have told. That is called joke theft, and you also don’t want to be known for that.

It’s not unusual for comics to arrive at the same basic joke at the same time. This especially happens if you are writing jokes about current events or common joke topics like online dating. The more original you are, the fewer problems you’ll have telling jokes similar to others.

I would encourage new comics to try clean or PG 13 material for their first times. Comics can get a lot of laughs being dirty and cussing in some places and turn off the audience in others.

See live shows beforehand

If you’re going on stage and you’ve never seen a comedy show outside of Netflix, see some in person. If possible, go to the club or venue where you are going to go up for the first time.

It will help to get more comfortable. You can see where the comics sit, where the list for the order of the performance is kept, who is in charge, what the audience reacts to and what doesn’t work. It will put you way ahead for your big night.

The more shows or open mics you see, the better grasp you will have of what works and what doesn’t. Be aware that all open mics are not equal.

Schedule your open mic

Not all open mics work the same. For a comedy club, you may need to email for a date that could be weeks away. If you email a club about an open mic, tell them your name, where you are from and you can tell them it’s your first time. Clubs like first-timers because they tend to bring audience members.

You don’t have to explain that your friends think you are funny or that you were in your middle-school play. It’s an open mic, so everyone gets the chance on stage.

A Thursday night open mic at a bar may be “show up and sign up” meaning you go and put your name on the list for a spot that night. Some of these types of mics are popular and the list fills up early.

Don’t assume that an open mic means you can show up with no warning with all your friends and get on stage. Do some research.

Be confident or fake it

Confidence is a big factor in successful comedy. Teachers often do well because they are used to talking to a room full of people. You’ve practiced your jokes, you know them by heart, your friends laughed, so get up there confident that the audience will love you.

You’re still going to be scared, but trust yourself. You got this. If you appear overly nervous, people may not laugh because they are worried for you.

Stay sober

It’s tempting to have a few shots of liquid courage before you go onstage. Save it for after your set when you are celebrating.

Remember when you went to the open mic and saw the guy say, “I’m so toasted I can’t remember what I was going to say?” Don’t be that comic.

Tell people it’s your first time

If it’s your first time on stage doing standup, let the host know and let the audience know. If it’s an open mic with mostly comedians, you will have their attention. And audience members are supportive of new comics. You’re doing something most of them couldn’t imagine doing.

Move the mic stand behind you

You’re introduced, and now you’re on stage. The first thing you should do is take the mic out of the stand and move the mic stand behind or beside you. You don’t want it to be in front of you blocking you.

My first time I was afraid I would drop the mic, so I left it in the stand. It’s fine, to leave the mic in the stand, and it frees up your hands. But if you take the mic out, you don’t want an empty mic stand in front of you. It’s a distraction for the audience.

Look at the audience

You are telling your jokes, but where do you look? Look at the audience. Move and  turn to address the whole room. Ideally, you look straight at certain audience members if a joke seems to relate to them (you’re telling a joke about dating and a couple is in the front row).

But if this is too much the first time, look slightly over their heads. Don’t put your head down and talk to the floor. The sooner you are able to look at the audience the easier it will be.

Hold the mic near your chin

You’re doing great and have moved the mic stand behind you. Make sure to keep the microphone close to your chin. Sometimes comics wave their arms around and forget they are holding the mic.

Also, don’t scream into the mic. You want everyone to hear you but you don’t want to pay for a new mic. Don’t fiddle with the stand. And definitely don’t drop the mic. It’s not funny and good mics are expensive.

Look for the light

You’re almost done. Keep an eye for the light signaling your time is almost up. It may be a small light from a phone. New comics often are so into the moment they don’t see the light.

You will have no sense of time on stage. Trust me. Your 3 minutes can seem to go by in 3 seconds or 3 hours. But you have practiced and timed yourself so you know that your time is wrapping up just by where you are in your jokes.

The light signaling your time is almost up should not be confused with the spotlights. Don’t stare into them. They may be really bright.

You did it

You’re wrapping up. Put the mic back into the stand and put the stand back in front. It’s a signal that you are done. Thank the crowd and wait for the host to come up on the stage.

Congratulations!

Stay for the rest of the show

Unless you were the last comic, don’t leave the show with all the friends and family you brought till it’s over. Nothing kills the vibe of a show like a first-time comic who brought 30 people and who all leave as soon as their friend performs.

Stay till the end. Talk to some other comics afterward. That’s your first step to getting on your next show.

About the authors

Creig Ewing is a comedian and show producer. He has helped to put on hundreds of open mics, showcases and comedy shows in the Louisville area. He has hosted numerous shows and has featured at The Caravan Comedy Club in Louisville.

Keith McGill is a comedian who toured internationally working cruise ships and is a much sought-after entertaining for corporate events.

Louisville Laughs comedy events on tap for March

Louisville Laughs has a lot of great comedy shows, open mics and classes scheduled. Here is a breakdown of what’s on tap for March.

Sunday, March 6, 7 p.m.

Comedy at TEN20 open mic

TEN20 Craft Brewery

Free admission

Join Louisville Laughs for our popular comedy open mic at TEN20 Craft Brewery in Butchertown.

Comics — some new, some veterans — do their best to make you laugh and try out new material.

Comics also have the chance to earn $25 for sets of the night!

Come enjoy some laughs, craft beer, pizza from MozzaPi and more.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Comedy TEN20 is every first and third Sunday.

Friday, March 18, 8 p.m.

Never Say Die Comedy Hour (or two)

Never Say Die

Free admission

This is a special show at Never Say Die. Cincinnati comic Chris Weir is coming down to do a set to prepare for his album recording.

After that show, we will hold an open mic for comics.

Have a craft cocktail and join the fun.

To sign up to perform, email LouisvilleLaughs2@gmail.com or message Louisville Laughs on Facebook.

Never Say Die shows are every third Friday.

Saturday, March 19, 8 p.m.

Melissa Doran — Next Stop: New Jersey

Falls City Taproom

Tickets $10

Melissa Doran has been one of the most popular comedians in the Louisville area for the past decade. She’s leaving to go back home to New Jersey and take her career to the next level.

Join us as we enjoy Melissa’s comedy one last time here in Kentucky.

Also on the show are William McKenzie, June Dempsey, Misty Stine, Nathaniel Pott-Wells and host Creig Ewing.

Tickets are $10.

Come for the laughs, fresh beer and wine from Old 502 Winery.

Thursday, March 24, 7 p.m.

Comedy Night at Gravely

Gravely Brewing Co

Free tickets

Join Louisville Laughs for the popular Comedy Night at Gravely Brewing Co.

This show features comics from across the region, including:  Hanna Ljungholm and Spencer Domolky from Cincinnati; Jetta V from Indianapolis; and Louisville’s Jake Hovis, Lucious Williams, Reed Sedgwick and host Creig Ewing.

Admission is free. Ticket reservations are requested to ensure seating.

Come for the laughs, fresh beer and great food from Mayan Street Food.

Sunday, March 27, 7:30 p.m.

Jake Ruble and A.J. Wilkerson

The Bard’s Town

Tickets $15

Two best friends — comics who travel the country together with some of the biggest names in comedy — bring their stories from the road to the stage!

Join Jake Ruble & A.J. Wilkerson for a night of standup, story telling and crowd participation as these two comedic travelers take the stage together for this very special engagement!

Enjoy a night of laughter and dinner and drinks at The Bard’s Town for a one-of-a-kind evening.

Thursday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.

New Comics Showcase

Aloft Louisville Downtown

Tickets $5

Join Louisville Laughs for our New Comics Showcase at Aloft Louisville Downtown.

Come see some of the most promising new comics in the area, including Nathan Alexander, Lena Beamish, Danielle Schwolow, Jake Macias, Kelli O’Toole, David Santos, Melman and Esther Sturgeon.

The featured performer is Dayton’s hard-working Jerrel Beaman, who is a star in the making.

Come out for a night of laughs and enjoy a drink and great food at the Corner restaurant in the Aloft lobby.

Admission is just $5.