I’m Killing At Comedy Open Mics – So What Do I Do Now?

comedy open micAre you truly killing at the comedy open mics?

Would you like to know what you need to do to take your stand-up comedy to the next level?

Here are some recommendations that you may want to consider if you are doing well at comedy open mics.

Validate Your Performance Level

Killing on stage means that you are closely approaching, meeting or exceeding an average of 18 seconds of laughter each performing minute (headliner level stand-up comedy).

You may not be aware of this, but if you have a smartphone, you can easily and objectively verify the level that you are performing at by using a few common apps that you most like already have installed:

Stand-up Comedy Metrics | Laughter Measurement - Comedy Evaluator Pro
This article describes the objective and measurable metrics associated with headliner level comedian laughter levels.

I say this because objective evaluations are focused on the actual audience laughter results you are able generate when you hit the stage, without regard to the type of comedy material you are delivering (some people won’t care for your comedy material no matter how much audience laughter you generate with your routine).

Using this type objective analysis eliminates any sort of subjective determination anyone else may have about how well you are performing (which can vary widely from person to person) and lets you know definitively where you are at in your stand-up comedy journey.

A related aspect to this is your performance level consistency. In other words…

In order to move beyond the open mic scene, your stand-up comedy will need to generate high laughter levels when performing most any audience — not just occasionally or sporadically. Again, you can simply use your smartphone to confirm this.

Maybe I should define what killing on stage really means as a comedian first…

So let’s assume for a minute that you have been hitting the stand-up comedy open mics for a while and you start killing on stage consistently.

What’s next? How do you move to the next level in your stand-up comedy?

My Recommendations

Here are 5 solid recommendations that you may want to strongly consider if you are killing at comedy open mic nights and want to progress as rapidly as possible in world of stand-up comedy (ie: moving towards paid gigs):

1. You need to demonstrate that you can do more than 3-7 minutes of solid stand-up comedy.

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One of the mistakes many comedians make when they start getting big laughs on stage is continue to deliver the same 3-7 minutes of stand-up comedy material when they perform.

Optimally, an opening act needs to have 10-15 solid minutes of material. And ultimately, you want to be able to deliver 45+ minutes of solid stand-up comedy material.

The only way to demonstrate that you have enough material to be considered for an opening act spot (or a middle act spot for that matter) is to rotate your stand-up comedy material — and continue to kill on stage when you do.

2. If needed, start cleaning up your stand-up comedy act NOW.

If the only stand-up comedy material you can do is “dick jokes” or adult material, you are painting yourself in a corner and limiting your gig opportunities for several reasons:

There is already an endless sea of comedians who can do “dick” jokes or “shock” comedy and they have been performing this material far longer than you have, making your climb up the stand-up comedy ladder in the comedy club market difficult at best.

But that’s not all…

Because of the overall limited availability of comedy club gigs for comedians to perform at — even on a nationwide scale — comedy agents, talent bookers and talent buyers tend to be far more interested in comedians who can also work outside the comedy club arena (corporate gigs, cruise ships, conventions, special events, etc.).

Bottom line: There’s far more money (and far more gig opportunities) for the comedy agent, booker or talent buyer in gigs outside the comedy club market — and for you as well.

Note: The stand-up comedy material a comedian chooses to deliver is 100% a personal choice made by the artist. The recommendation above is just that — a recommendation only.

3. Stand out from the rest of the comedians when it comes to your appearance on stage.

This is very easy to do because…

Most comedians dress as if they just came back from taking trash out to the dumpster.

Bottom line: If you want to blend in with every other comedian out there and not stand out, just wear a t-shirt, jeans and running shoes on stage.

4. Set-up your dedicated EPK (electronic press kit) as soon as possible.

Let me cut right to the chase on this:

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While nice to have to boost your online presence, you WILL NOT get any stand-up comedy bookings from MySpace, Facebook or Twitter.

If you do not have a dedicated online EPK (electronic press kit) as a comedian — comedy agents, bookers and talent buyers simply will not take you seriously as a pro comedy entertainer.

You don’t need anything fancy or expensive (as a matter of fact you can do this for free), but you do need an EPK that is crisp, easy to navigate and has your comedy resume, bio and some select (and brief) YouTube videos of you killing on stage.

5. Don’t be satisfied with just reaching an average of 18 seconds of laughter each performing minute.

I have found that most comedians who can reach an average of 18 seconds of laughter on stage can reach an average 20+ seconds of laughter on stage.

Check out these Success Stories if you want to see new comedians generating 24+ seconds of laughter on stage. Important to note is this:

You DO NOT have to be a “headliner” in order to generate headliner laughter levels with your stand-up comedy. You really just need to know what you are doing when it comes to developing an act that uses all of your comedy talent.

The more laughs you can generate each time you perform, the more you will stand out among those comedians who have less drive and less talent than you have.

If you follow those 5 recommendations, it won’t be long before you will only be using comedy open mics to work out new stand-up comedy material and can shift your focus to getting paid performances.

Final Thoughts

The reality of being able to kill audiences consistently is this:

It will be you act and the laughter you generate when you deliver it that will cause you to to be approached to perform for gigs beyond the open mic scene.

And while you may not have any control over the venues you perform at or the audiences that show up, you do have 100% control over the most important aspect of stand-up comedy that will get you where you want to go and that is:

The act that you deliver to get the laughs you need to move well beyond the comedy open mic scene.