Stand Up Comedy: First Time on Stage and Etiquette: Oberservations From An Open Mic (Part 1)

I watched an new comedian perform for the first time this past Sunday at a local open mic, and I think there is a lot we can learn from it.  That’s what this mini-series is about–this comedians entry into the world of stand up comedy and my thoughts from observing it.

My Thought for Today: Be Sober.

Going on stage for the first time is tough.  You’re going up in front of a bunch of strangers to try and be funny–and on top of that, people will tell you most comics bomb their first set.

My first time (years ago), I participated in a show for first-timers which made the process a bit easier.  Nevertheless, the comics (myself included) paused a lot and looked down instead of at the audience.  In essence we performed for the floor.

Ok, now back to last Sunday night.  Said comic went onstage drunk.  Yes, he kept eye contact with the audience and his delivery was relatively smooth (at first), yet he ran into other problems.

  1. He stopped making sense
  2. He lost the ability to use his indoor voice.
  3. He lost the respect of the audience and other comics

Point 1: Making sense is essential.  Even if you bomb, you can at least return to your set and make improvements.  If you don’t make sense, you run the risk of not knowing what you were talking about.

Point 2: The mic was invented so its user didn’t have to yell.  When you yell into a mic that’s on you just may cause a slight  discomfort to those listening as well as unintentional wincing.

Point 3: Most Important! Going on stage drunk shows you lack both the courage and respect for the art that is stand up comedy.  There are a lot of comics that take what they do seriously and won’t like it if you don’t act like it as well.  Fans don’t appreciate it either, and you want as many of those as possible.

As a result of him performing intoxicated, his time was cut short, and he was both heckled  by the audience and insulted by the following comedian.  These last two points will be covered in later posts in this series.


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