Tuesday Night Open Mic: The Mic That Almost Wasn’t

I’d been thinking about the mic all day at work yesterday, carefully deciding on some brand new jokes I wanted to try out. I even had a call back to the Emmy’s that I thought was worth using since I could probably only use it once. I even thought of a new bit on the way to work, wrote it down and decided to try it too.

During a break a signed into my Evernote account and began to write out a new four minute set. If the laughs fell right, I wouldn’t even be able to get to the last joke but that would be okay. Losing time because of laughs is always a good thing. Now I just had to make the list and hope for the best.

And I did make the list! Great! I could try out my new stuff and hopefully come away with some keepers. But at 8pm (30 minutes after the show is supposed to start), the showroom still looked like this:


Yep. And all the comics were standing around like players in a locker room waiting for the refs to call it because of rain, or because of the lack of an audience in this case. But shortly after I took this photo, people began to filter in. They were a younger bunch, maybe ten people total, but we finally had at least someone to tell jokes to.

But most comics know that a tiny crowd isn’t going to be very responsive, and that ended up being a very true observation. You could tell a lot of other comics were trying out new stuff just for the sake of getting it out and working on how you are going to say it. And if it earned even an inkling of a laugh, that was even better. And those inklings were few and far between. Even the professionals that drop in and get to go up were trying new stuff while crickets chirped in the showroom.

I began to panic a bit and piece together a new set in my head, but I didn’t want to do that. I knew it would just be a waste of a mic if I did my regular solid material. Sure, I’d probably get some laughs but I knew that material worked already. Why do it here? Why do it now? Other comics had seen it already, and they were leaving right after their sets anyway. The management was socializing at the bar in the lobby. No one was really watching this show except for those of us waiting to go up.  There was even a girl or two up front in the audience who couldn’t put down their cell phones for even a minute to pay attention to the comics on stage.

I was next to last on the list, which meant the odds of losing some of the audience after check drop was pretty high. And that did happen. So fuck it. Another forgettable mic for the books, and they are all forgettable. As my time to go up crawled closer, I did scratch one joke from my set and decided to just make it through the three other bits I had planned: one was brand new, one was semi new, and the other was a newer bit I’ve been doing for about a month. And if I still had time after those, I’d close with a one liner and get the hell off stage.

And I got the response I expected. My first semi new piece got some laughs out of them. Again, not loud belly laughter but some kind of response that I guess we can define as laughter. My other newer bit did better and I even had a chance to call out the girl on the cell phone, and she ended up Googling what I told her to and she held up her phone proudly. The bit speaks to the audience a bit and kind of invites them to participate which can be dangerous, but this crowd was on board. And my brand new bit bombed. I stretched it to cover the minute I had laughed just for the sake of getting it out. And it was over.

I didn’t even stay to watch the last comic after me. I said good-bye to a friend and walked away. It was already after 10pm, and when this mic starts on time at 7:30pm I’m usually already home and in bed by 10pm.

No more mics for me this week. I didn’t make the list for the Wednesday mic but that’s okay. And open mics for me next week are iffy. I’m on the panel for a roast on Wednesday, and have tickets to see a show on Thursday. So if I do any mic, it’ll have to be Tuesday again.


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