Last week I decided to do stand up comedy at least once every week. As part of that effort, last night I went with my friend Brian to an open mic. Started at 8. My intention was to get there early, sign up for a relatively early spot in the lineup, watch some comics, do my set, and then watch some more comics and hit the road at 10.
We got there at 7:15 and discovered that the list was already 25 comics deep. “Shit, that’s what, two and a half hours in, three maybe?” We didn’t really discuss it. We just put our names down. 26 and 27.
The comedy wasn’t bad. What you’d expect from an open mic: some good, some bad, some typical, some trainwrecks, some nice surprises (Mr. Goodnight’s retrospective of 9/11-themed newspaper comics was amazing). Generally it was a fun room full of comics who know and like each other. I can understand why they come to that particular open mic.
By the time they got around to us, it was 11:30. If you measure time in movie lengths, this was a Return of the King wait. By this point, the crowd was sparse, deadened by drink, and ready to leave. My own set was somewhere in the range between “typical” and “trainwreck,” but for a guy who was exhausted, hasn’t done much stand up, and was performing to a crowd mostly composed of anxious/irritated comics who arrived even later than I did, I’ll call it a victory. The crowd tried. We squeezed some laughs out. The host was very nice, and complimentary about the set. It worked well enough. Brian’s set was actually much better than mine, and he had to follow my mess of an act. Go Brian.
I’ll definitely do it again. But next time, if I get there, and see a list of greater than 15, new rule: I’m just audience. Because you never know what waits at home…
(yes, this is a cliffhanger for the next post)