Bringer Open Mics: An Annoying Price to Get to Perform at Some Places

There’s an interest phenomenon I’m starting to witness in my local comedy scene. If it’s your first time performing at certain open mics, you need to bring a certain number of people to get stage time.

I’ve heard of bringer shows before, but not open mics. And here’s the kicker: the more experienced comics don’t have to bring people. I get why the hosts want people brought to the show. I get that they want an audience to tell their jokes in front of. But there are a lot of problems I see with this setup:

Artificial Audience

This is the same problem with bringer shows. The audience wants to see the comic that brought them perform, and the might not be as interested in the other comics.

It’s an Open Mic

I would get bringing people if this were an actual show, but it’s not. This is where I’m testing out new material. Am I supposed to ask my friends to give up their plans for the evening to watch me try out five minutes of new material? If the roles were reversed, I kind of hope they wouldn’t ask that of me.

Not Everyone Has to Bring People

For bringer shows when everyone is bringing a minimum number of people, you know there’s at least going to be X number of people in the crowd. Here, if there are only some many people who are new to the mic (those are the ones required to bring people), there may be a sparse crowd. Honestly, if I was the only person that had to bring people, I’d just assume gather my friends in one of our apartments and perform for them there.

Story Time

I had a friend perform at one of these shows. He had to bring five people, and because it was his first time performing at that venue, he only got three minutes. Yeah, that’s right, three measly minutes after he brought five people.

That was the deal for “new comics,” which is what they call everyone who’s performing for that mic for the first time. Luckily I enjoy watching other comics’ sets. But if I just wanted to watch my friend, I’d have been in for a rough time.

You mean to tell me you invited me out here to see you talk for only three minutes!?

They have an open mic on Saturday night too. If it’s your first time, you get three minutes—and you have to bring 10 people! I’m sure it’s “easy” to get people to come to the show.

Hey, how about instead of the bar, we all sit and wait until I get to be on stage briefly.

I imagine I’d have one friend get up to use the bathroom, and come back only to find out I’d gone up and done my whole set in the time it took him to take a leak.

Oh, and the worst part was that they introduced my friend as “new to the world of standup.” He’s been doing open mics for over six months now. It was just his first time at that venue.

They actually had a decent crowd though. I might just need to save up my money to bribe some friends to go, just to break into that venue.


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