Even before you ever perform at your initial comedy open mic:
1) Get your own microphone.
Alternately, as my high school bowling instructor put it when a kid (OK: me) did not have 35 cents so they could bowl,
"beg, borrow, or steal!"
Yet another solution:
The class gear is just sitting there before and after every class.
Stop being so polite:
When you get your own gear, what you want is a straight-necked microphone stand
with a solid base,
and a combination amplifier/speaker.
In 1980, all this gear cost a total of $100.
What's that look like?
See the three (3) photos below :
It can take up to 6 months to learn how to use a microphone if the only time you handle a mic is when you are in a comedy club.
"But, Jim: we can't find one under $100, even at Radio Shack."
Not in the store where they want to sell high end gear.
Look for deals on their web site and the web in general.
Remember: at this point, you do not need something expensive.
You just want to hear it if:
•You have the volume up so high that it picks up your own breathing
•and you can hear the sound of spitting your p's and t's spit into the mic.
Not ready to spend about $100 for a radically inexpensive mic, mic stand and amplifier/speaker?
•Then just use a cord and a soup spoon to practice basic microphone technique:
But if you have your own gear at home or can get to a mic elsewhere, you can learn how to
• look like a professional inside of 6 days, working every day all of 5 minute per day:
And do not be afraid to "walk amongst them!"
2) Make arrangements to get your first open mic performance recorded to video:
All the newer smart phones and tablets have a built-in audio/video camera.
For best results, get a cheap camera tripod for about $50 and a clip for the camera shoe that comes with the tripod.
Example (but get one that fits your smart phone) for an iPhone or iPodTouch4 (see mine in class):
For the tripod adapter, things to know for setting up your smart phone in a night club:
Make sure a friend sits with the camera the entire time you are on stage so no one walks off with it
All tripods have the same “camera shoe” thread:
shoe holds camera and has threaded hole,
tripod has screw that fits this threading = screw shoe onto tripod.
But smart phones and tablets do not have said threading.
This is where the tripod mount comes in as an intermediary since it has both:
•and a spring clip to attach your phone or tablet to the tripod.
Therefore, this $11-13 Tripod Mount might work: http://www.amazon.com/dip/B0056C4VRK/?tag=hyprod-20&Hasid=15721738659&hypos=1o1&hexed=&haven't=g&veranda=606432220331607455&hipbone=&hp=&GHQ=&ref=asc_df_B0056C4VRK
Description: “Mount your smart phone or mobile device to any standard tripod - with the iStabilizer Tripod Mount.
iStabilizer products are designed and engineered to work with all smart phones, including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, FLIP MinoHD, UltraHD, and all models of the iPod Touch.
The Tripod Mount is small enough to travel with you wherever life takes you.
Once you've attached the Tripod Mount to your tripod, just pop in your smart phone or mobile device and you're ready to go!
It's quick access mount lets you instantly swap devices.
Capture one scene on your iPhone and switch to create another video on your iPodTouch or Android.
The Tripod Mount can be used on any tripod with a standard ¼ x20" camera mount, aka 'camera shoe.' “
So, use your own smart phone/tablet
or have a friend record you on their smart phone/tablet,
•and email the video file to you immediately.
Simple as that!
Because how you interact with an audience before you "learn too much"
•will help your comedy mentor Jim Richardson to eventually bring out your uniqueness
•with the control made possible through proper writing and performing techniques.
Not to worry about that now:
just take you best shot,
. . . but get it on video!
3) Get out of the chute fast—be unstoppable:
•Don't waste time:
asking the audience how they are doing,
asking them to applaud the club or the MC,
begging the audience for sympathy,
nor saying anything that is not directly setting up your first joke:
•Start with your second strongest joke.
•When you get to your punch lines:
be looking at one audience member, right in the eye,
and keep looking at him/her a full :02 seconds.
Or better, keep looking at said audience member well past the :02 mark
•until the audience laughter begins to fade.
If the audience does or doesn't laugh at your first joke, it doesn't matter:
Always just go to another audience member, and proceed with above steps.
As John Wayne put it in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (1949):
"Never apologize, corporal, it's a sign of weakness!"
Remember: this is a vigorous activity.
Confidence builder: a little realized truth that can set you free!
•Stand-up comics walking out on stage have at the outside 10 seconds:
a) to live up to the audience's expectations
b) by getting a big laugh
c) that also introduces their main character.
For that initial 10 seconds, the audience is totally on your side.
Think about it.
Have you ever hoped the next comic would be totally unfunny?
Why would you want to suffer through that?
Same thing happens when you meet someone for the first time,
whether socially or in a business situation:
•They want to like you.
That's why they are offering you that very friendly opening handshake:
Therefore, if everyone took the accomplished stand-up comic's example
and had a well planned introduction,
everyone meeting someone for the first time
would be as relaxed as a seasoned comedy performer.
Try to improvise?
The comedy graves are full of wannabe comics who always open with an untried "I-hope-joke."
How can you have a series of tried and true jokes,
•even before you step on stage at your first open mic?
Simple: every time you come up with a new joke, tell it off-stage
to at least 20-30 different people
before a full day goes by.
Don't know 20-30 people?
Good: this works much better with perfect strangers,
just like an audience begins as a group of folks you have never met.
Reason you want to tell your new jokes to strangers:
You real friends know too much about you which audiences do not know.
The trick is to give the audience all the information they need to know in order to get the joke.
In the set up lines.
Make new friends.
By standing in line at the post office:
Ask a person near you, "Would you like to hear a joke?"
If they agree, they have given you permission to tell them a joke.
Alternately, just slip your jokes into conversations with strangers.
If they raise their hands above their waist like they are about to hit you,
do not them any more jokes.
Go from store-to-store, standing in line, telling your jokes:
There are little audiences in embryo everywhere
. . . just waiting for your jokes to bring them to life!
After you have told a joke 20-30 times,
you will have automatically edited it down to the most efficient version.
Plus, you will have involuntarily
•memorized that joke.
Such a deal!
Good news: since you now already know your act backwards-and-forwards,
•you only have to worry about that opening 10 seconds!
Go get 'em, Tiger!
Just a simple, country comedy coach
•Get in touch:
Comedy Coach and Co-Writer
PO Box 4524
Santa Rosa, CA 95402