I believe that stand up is one of the purest forms of entertainment. Although it feels like anything can happen, the comedian is more than prepared for every situation and you’re almost always assured of getting a good show! Ah, but an open mic! That’s entirely different! An open mic night allows anyone to get up on stage and perform anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of material. For a professional comic, an open mic allows that comedian an opportunity to either work on new material or polish up some of their tried and true stuff. An open mic is also open to those who are just starting out and are still working on honing a set that is good enough for the professional stage. Now, this is where it gets good! You truly never know what’s going to happen! Any comedian on an open mic may do well, so so, or completely bomb right in front of a live audience! These possibilities alone are why open mic’s are so entertaining! Anything can and will happen and you have the opportunity of witnessing every laugh or bouts heart wrenching silence! There is true entertaining value in that!
As a comic, that’s what I live for. I live for the laughs and even the silence. When you take to the stage as an open mic performer, the assumption is that you have no clue about what you are doing. So, when a joke or bit or routine works, a comic begins to build their set. It may be a few seconds to a few minutes of good material, but every joke counts! Every joke that works will only make that comic stronger and each and every open mic performance will eventually turn in to a paid gig!
I performed at my first open mic in 2006. I did NOT go on stage unprepared! If you are considering performing stand up comedy at an open mic, there are a few things you must do. You CANNOT go up there expecting to be funny on just your wit and personality. Here are a few things I suggest you should do before walking that plank:
1. Learn what a joke is. That’s right. I know it sounds elementary enough but, if you don’t know what a joke is and why people laugh at it, you are destined for tragedy in front of a lot of strangers. Lucky for you, I’ve blogged about this subject! Check it out from the following link entitled, The Anatomy of a Joke and Why You Laugh:
2. Get your hands on a book that teaches how to perform stand up comedy. You can even find some internet sites that offer these tips but owning a book on the subject, in my opinion, is what I would suggest. Here are a couple of links to 3 of my favorite books:
The following link is what I consider the most advanced resource for those that are looking to improve on the basics and beyond! Taught by one of the most hilarious comedians out there, The Greg Wilson, the material he covers in his DVD’s are well worth the cost!
That’s it! That’s all you need to get started! As a matter of preference, I would suggest starting out with the “Step by Step Guide to Stand Up Comedy”. You will most likely be able to find it at your local bookstore so that you won’t have to wait for shipping.
Feel free to also ask me any questions about the subject. I may not be a headliner yet, but I can always give you great advice on the path I’ve already taken and save you hours and days of grief! After all, as aspiring comics, helping others get what they want, we can get what we want.