It feels like it’s been forever since I went to an open mic. I only did 3 open mics in June, but I did a total of 7 other mics between competitions and hosting for Chris Kattan. And I’ve already done 8 shows this month that were not open mics. Actually, the last open mic I did was the week of the Chris Kattan show the last week in June.
It’s nice being busy with other shows that are not open mics. Mainly just because you feel like you are in front of a “real” audience and getting to do a “real” show. That was very true for the Chris Kattan shows where we had 100+ people there every night. Open mics can be tough because of poor attendance or because the crowd just isn’t into it. Not to mention that you usually only get 4 minutes of stage time.
But open mics are a necessary evil. It’s a good chance to practice jokes, try out new material, and to just be seen in general. It’s also good to support the clubs and other comics. When I started doing comedy back in Memphis way back in 1999, the Wednesday night open mic was my happy hour each week, a chance to get out of the house midweek and do something fun and different.
I made the list at last night’s Funny Bone open mic and was first on the list. It’s not a great spot to be, and certainly not one for me to do new material since the crowd is not warmed up yet. So I stuck to the first few minutes of my normal set just to help warm the audience up. It was a decent audience too, about 40 people in the crowd.
I stayed for about half the show, long enough to see a close friend of mine go up, and then I headed out. Like I said, it’s tough only getting to do 4 minutes when you’ve been doing 10 to 15 minute sets all weekend. I’m not bragging. It’s just one of those things that’s hard to adjust to. I couldn’t believe how fast my time went by last night.
36 people signed up for the mic. They usually end up putting up only about half of that. You have your regulars that get up every single week. Then you have your first timers that automatically get on the list. And that leaves about 8 to 10 spots that everyone else is vying for. And there have been a lot of new faces lately. And that’s always good to see too, though it makes it harder to get on the list each week. But we have a strong scene here and at least there are other mics in town.