This past Tuesday I was lucky enough to make the set list again at open mic at Funny Bone. This was my 4th mic since returning to the scene back in May. I was the 10th comic on the list but got bumped three times as they squeezed in headliners. Basically, sometimes more experienced comics who have hosted, opened, or been a headliner before show up and they squeeze them into the show. None of the open mics get bumped off the list, but I ended up being 13th instead. It can make for a long night, but you get to see a good show by watching other comics and the audience gets warmed up too. At least I didn’t have to go first or last!
I had written a set which was all new stuff for this night except for my key opening joke which I use every time. After the sign-up and meeting, I overheard someone say there was a biker convention at the plaza this week. And guess who was in the audience? Yep. Mostly bikers. This was a bit scary at first and for a second I considered changing my entire set, but I decided against it because I’ve done that before and it doesn’t end up being as strong because I either forget stuff or don’t have my timing down. So, I stuck to the plan.
The audience was definitely having a good time, and the bikers were awesome! They laughed so much that my opening stuff ran a bit long because of their laughter. That’s always a good thing. But soon I was getting my first light which means I only had a minute left. You only get four minutes. So I had to cut out a few things from my last bit so that I didn’t go over. It was still funny, but definitely not as strong as I was hoping. That’s okay though. I’ll probably try it out at least once more to see if I get a different reaction, and so I can at least do the entire bit the way I intended. If it bombs or doesn’t do well again, then I know it’s time to move on.
That’s what’s interesting about this dynamic. I really expected my second bit to be funnier than the first. Instead, the tables were turned. But ya never know, it could be completely different with another crowd. I’ll definitely try out the entire set again either way just to see what happens.
That’s part of the appeal of doing stand-up, particularly open mic night. You can try out new stuff and you get instant feedback, and instant gratification. Being a published author too, it’s like getting a good review or having someone tell you they enjoyed your book. Compliments let you know you accomplished what you had hoped. In comedy, Laughter is golden.
I’d love to be able to do more open mics each week. There’s a strong scene here. You can just about hit one every night here in St. Louis. But the majority of them are in bars and don’t start until 10pm or later. I’m past my prime on staying up that late on a “school night.” Tuesday night is the earliest, but at Funny Bone there’s certainly no guarantee you’ll make the list each week. I’ll be hitting Funny Bone again next week but when Helium Comedy Club starts doing their open mics again next month, I’ll try signing up there too. Unfortunately it’s on the same night and around the same time so I can’t do both, but at least I will have two chances.