Observations From an Open Mic: Respecting the Host

open micI thought I’d share my thoughts on a unique situation that happened at an open mic I performed at last Thursday. For the most part, everything was normal throughout the show: comics went up, told jokes (some funny), tried new material, tried old material, poked fun at others in the room, etc.

Then the open mic “ended.” The end, however, happened right as a small crowd of about eight to ten people walked into the room. The host was closing up the show and decided to tell a few more jokes since we now had an audience (It had been just about all comics until then). After he finished just a couple of jokes, he thanked everyone for coming and asked people to clean up after themselves.

The crowd didn’t want to leave. They had come to watch their friend perform, and they started to chant, demanding their friend be given stage time. Even though the host said to come back next week, it didn’t stop the friend from going up and doing a set.

My first thought is that the friend shouldn’t have done the set. As much as the people there wanted to see it, they don’t do the work to organize the show. Angering the host is not a good idea. Why upset the person responsible for organizing a time and doing comics a favor by making him do extra work? If he gets upset, maybe he doesn’t want to host the open mic any more. Nobody wins in that situation.

My other thoughts are about what I should have done. My first thought is that I shouldn’t have stayed; I should’ve walked out. This would have at least showed the host that I respected his time by acknowledging that the show was over.

I think, though, that maybe I should have said something to support the host–something along the lines of “it’s not easy to host, be respectful, etc.” Maybe that’s what I should’ve done.

I ended up staying, and I think part of it was a general curiosity as to what was going to happen. Part of me thought the host was going to let him perform, something I won’t be surprised if I find out never happens. I was also unsure as to what I should do. If the guy who went up angered the host enough to where he didn’t want to organize an open mic anymore, me walking out probably wouldn’t have done any good in changing his mind.

But as I said, I stayed for the friend’s set. After he finished, I did tell everyone that we should help the host clean since we stayed later than we should have. I also went up to the host and asked if there was anything I could do to help. It may have not been the best thing for me to do, but it was definitely better than just peacing out.



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