In this article, The Business of Stand-Up Comedy: Be a Part of the Comedy Community – Part 2, I’ll discuss more ways to immerse yourself in your local comedy world.
In my previous article, The Business of Stand-Up Comedy: Be a Part of the Comedy Community – Part 1, I offered a series of steps to integrate yourself in to your local stand-up comedy population.
Here are a few more approaches:
Be an MC for Open Mics.
First learn what makes a good MC. Then when you go to the open mics you’ll realize most of them are horrible. They either don’t care or they’re all about getting as much stage time as they can get for themselves. The MC is supposed to be the frame, not the picture.
It is a miserable job that no one wants because comics are rude and insecure. It is a pain in the ass, yet can get you loads of stage time. The way to get your stage time is to be a good MC to make the show, if we can call it that, to be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Then insist on a five minute slot of your choosing to perform. This way you can be a good MC and get stage time.
Once you’re known as a really good MC, other open mics and comedy rooms will want you to host. Again, insist on having your own time slot in the shows as payment for your services.
(See my book MC Training Manual for instructions on being an MC and how to effectively run open mic nights).
Find a Mentor
If you haunt a club long enough, the established comics will recognize that you’re serious and you’re not going away. At appropriate times approach them and ask for feedback. They will most likely tell you which jokes they like and which jokes they do not like, but this can be helpful.
The idea is to get a known comic to take a liking to you and offer to give you advice and help you move up the comedy ladder to get more stage time. To avoid being manipulative, pick a comic you admire and would enjoy being friends with on a personal level. A mentor is one of the only short cuts there is in stand-up.
Create Your Own Shows
This is too complex matter to discuss thoroughly here. But if you want stage time to hone your show and keep your material sharp, and you don’t want to wait for someone else to give you the chance. Create the opportunity for yourself. This is your career. Take charge and do whatever it takes to build your thirty minutes worth of material and get it on tape. In most large cities there are rooms you can get for free if you can bring a small audience. There are a clubs and restaurants that have small rooms that can be used for comedy shows. Be imaginative to create opportunities.
You cannot have a business until you create and carry out a business plan. Just doing shows and waiting to be discovered means you will be doing a lot of shows and doing a lot of waiting to be discovered. Be proactive, set goals and make plans to get work. Then you will be doing shows and waiting around for your paycheck.
In my next article, The Business of Stand-Up Comedy: Get a 30 Minute Video, I’ll give tips on how to get a thirty minute video of your stand-up comedy show.