Chapter 12 – How to Get Stage Time

Chapter 12
How to Get Stage Time

Getting stage time is the most important factor in the education of an aspiring comic. I can teach you many comedy techniques, but the only thing that will teach you to be funny is performing in front of people. Many beginners make the mistake of waiting for the “right time” to try stand-up comedy. This is, how can I put it delicately, a big load of crap. There is no right time, there’s only right now.


How to Get Stage Time
Table of Contents

STAGE TIME AT OPEN MIKES
Don’t expect to be treated fairly
Sign-ups are usually in advance
You’ll get bumped by the regulars
Heed the signal to get off-stage

SHOWCASE CLUBS’ UNPAID SPOTS
Target a club and hang out there as often as possible
Do clean material
Keep it on time

ORGANIZE YOUR OWN SHOW
Build a little stage
Make the comics bring the audience

JOIN TOASTMASTERS TO GET STAGE TIME

GET STAGE TIME AT CHARITY AND CIVIC CLUB MEETINGS

USE SOCIAL PARTIES TO GET STAGE TIME

GET STAGE TIME IN PARKS OR ON THE STREETS

DANCE BARS STAGE TIME


How to Get Stage Time
SAMPLE

OPEN MIKES STAGE TIME
These are nightclubs, restaurants, coffee houses, etc. that let anyone get stage time and take a shot at doing 3 to 6 minutes of stand up comedy. If you can be funny at an open mike, you can probably be funny anywhere. Here are some tips to help you:

DON’T EXPECT TO BE TREATED FAIRLY
These places seldom provide pleasant experiences when getting stage time. Most often, you’ll be going on stage very early, before anyone’s come in, or very late, when everyone’s left. If you’re lucky enough to get some stage time, it’ll probably consist of other comics waiting to go on or three drunks eating chili and farting. But keep the faith. Remember, it’s always darkest just before it gets pitch black.

TO GET STAGE TIME SIGN-UPS ARE USUALLY IN ADVANCE
You’ll usually have to sign up for open mike nights earlier in the day or sometimes a week or more in advance to get stage time. This can be time-consuming, but make the commitment anyway. Any stage time is good stage time.

YOU’LL GET BUMPED BY THE REGULARS
There will be times when the club regulars will bump you to a later spot or knock you off the roster altogether. I know it’s frustrating, but until you have more seniority, expect to be the low person on the comedy totem pole. Your time will come to get stage time.

HEED THE SIGNAL TO GET OFF-STAGE
Many clubs have some kind of a light or signal to let you know it’s time to get off stage. Heed it well. If you go more than 30 seconds over, they’ll become more forceful about getting you off. Worse yet, they may ask you not to come back. There goes your stage time.

TO GET STAGE TIME ORGANIZE YOUR OWN SHOW
Find a restaurant, bar, or dance club that has a P.A. system and a microphone and offer to put together a comedy night to get stage time. Most owners of these establishments will cooperate if you convince them it will bring in more business at little or no cost to them. You may have to do all the organizing and even pay for advertising, but if you can pull it off you’ll have a decent place to perform to get stage time. If possible, pool your resources with other beginning comics and delegate some of the responsibilities. Some tips:

TO GET STAGE TIME BUILD A LITTLE STAGE
If the owner will let you, construct an elevated stage. It’s psychologically helpful for a performer to be above the crowd. When you’re on the same level or lower than your audience, trying to be funny can sometimes be a discouraging venture, so create your own opportunities to get stage time.


How to get stage time gives tips to get quality stage time. There’s no replacement for stage time. Make your own stage time. Take stage time anywhere. Buy Greg Dean’s book Step By Step to Sand Up Comedy to learn how to get stage time.

 

 

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