Last night I went to the open mic at Funny Bone. A little over 30 comics signed up and I think 17 made the cut. I was lucky enough to get on the list, but not so lucky to have to go up second! But a spots a spot, so no complaining.
I ended up getting bumped to third which was fine by me. Sometimes more experienced or professional comics stop by and get squeezed into the show. It’s not a big deal when you are early in the show, but when you go in the middle you might get bumped and find yourself waiting a while because that comic will end up doing fifteen to twenty minutes, especially if the audience is good. I only had to wait five.
There were two first timers last night. I thought one of them did okay and shows some potential. He looked a little more comfortable on stage than the other. But overall, it was a rough night for all of us. The crowd took a while to get warmed up, and that happens sometimes. It’s not the comics fault necessarily. We weren’t having bad sets because of anything we were doing. The crowd just wasn’t into it, and that can make the show feel like it’s dragging.
It’s odd because afterwards sometimes people will come up to you and say they had a great time and enjoyed the show. Ummm…thanks, but why weren’t you laughing? Sometimes people just don’t laugh out loud, even though they are enjoying themselves. Laughter is contagious, but if no one is doing it, it’s not going to catch on.
I could judge this early on just by the emcee’s routine alone. He was trying hard, but the audience wasn’t ready to give in just yet. In situations like these, I usually stick to my more solid material and avoid trying new jokes. It sucks because you want to try out new material at open mics, but it’s going to be too hard to judge how well those jokes do.
But even after doing my regular material that I know is my best, I got laughs but not the genuine belly laughter I’ve heard before. Other comics did the same, and got the same reaction. And that’s when you know it’s not you. It’s the audience.
It’s all chemistry really. It’s interesting. The audience is either cold, luke warm (last night), or they are hot. The comics are dying on stage or they are killing it. I wouldn’t say last night was a cold audience, but there were some comics who died. One comic gave up about a minute in because he kept forgetting his material. He even had his notes on stage and just got lost. It happens.
So it’s another open mic and no big deal. Not one for the books. Not one we’ll be talking about next week. But it’s time on stage which is valuable to any comic. You accept it. You do it. You learn from it. And we move on.