Laughing Buddha Tips
Comedy Schools have a bad rep and for many it’s rightfully so. Most are presented by clubs with a design on one thing: getting the newcomers money before they figure out the stand up game. If your comedy school has more than say 12 to 14 students in your class, good luck getting the attention you’ll need to grow. Our school was created with the inclusion of stage time, which is the only way to learn stand up comedy. No teaching, instructor, or coach can make you funny or prepare you for the rigors of the stand up stage. Then why take classes?
It’s that time of the year. You made a promise to finally make a living in comedy this past year…it didn’t really happen. At the least you wanted to move out of open mics and bringers….it didn’t happen either. Joe Unfunny Asshole, who is always posting his great gigs on Facebook, got passed at clubs, admitted to festivals, and you’re better than him and everyone tells you so. Your day job has gotten more demanding and next year looks bleak in terms of making time for comedy. You bombed earlier this month in a show where everyone killed it. Twitter updates from working comics make you want to kill yourself. So does reading this!
I remember my very first open mic. I had done a couple of bringers and a comedy school graduation show and had received some good laughs. There were several comics at the NY Comedy Club, and most of them had gotten up and “ate it.” “Wait till they see me”, I said to myself. I got up and except for a couple of loyal buddies, no one was even paying attention. “Don’t they know who I am” I thought. They didn’t, nor did they care if I just taped my one hour HBO special. I approached my next couple of mics this way, delivering my “A” set to “A” rooms full of “A” holes! Nada. An experienced comic then said to me “no one does their “A” material at a mic. You go to a mic to work things out.” Hmmmm. Comics hate when you are trying too hard at a mic. This was new to me. I began the laborious process of finding the good mics in the city.
Many comics breaking in are eager to play all the clubs in NYC, including the headliner and showcase clubs. This is probably not the best move. For one, new comics are not ready to be a regular in those clubs which can take seven to ten years on the average if you’re exceptional. I’ve heard one owner say “Why do these new comics want to show EVERYONE they aren’t ready for the big stage!” Once you get a reputation as a new comic who really doesn’t know the craft, it’s hard to shake. You’re better off honing your skills in one club and auditioning for the bigger clubs years down the road when you’re ready. They will see you for the first time and think “Where the hell did this one come from?”
If every comic handled themselves and their business in a professional manner, my life would be so much easier as a producer but more difficult as a comic, as the competition pool would be huge. Fortunately for many of us, the majority of comics do not handle their business professionally. They fail to see that, and wonder why they can’t advance in the field of stand up comedy. There are many little things you can do to endear yourself to the people that offer you stage time.