7 Questions To Ask Comedy Club Open Mic Comedians

open mic comedian questionsThe vast majority of comedians start out performing at local comedy club open mic nights or other comedy open mic venues to develop their stand-up routine.

If you are in the process of considering jumping into stand-up comedy…

One of things I would recommend that you do is talk with the new comedians who are currently participating in comedy open mics.

Below is a list of 7 questions you may want to ask other open mic comedians as you gather some basic information about the stand-up comedy scene in your area…

The Questions

1. How long have you been performing stand-up comedy?

This is not just a great icebreaker question, but it can also help you determine what the comedian knows about the local comedy open mic scene.

If someone has just started out in stand-up comedy, they may not yet be aware of all the comedy open mic performing opportunities like someone who has been doing it for 6 months or longer.

2. Are there other stand-up comedy open mics or other performing opportunities in the area?

This is a really big one because not all comedy open mics can be found online. Another reason is that comedy open mics can come and go throughout the year.

As a general rule comedians who have been performing even for a short time will usually have the scoop on most if not all of the comedy open mic opportunities in any given area.

3. What’s involved with getting stage time at an open mic?

Each comedy open mic is different with regard to how stage time in a comedy open mic is allocated.

In some instances it may be a bringer show where you have to have number of guests show up in order to get stage time.

In other instances, it may be a simple sign-up process.

4. How many people do you have to bring to a show (for bringer shows) to get stage time?

This is related to question #3 and can vary for each comedy open mic night that has a “bringer” requirement.

As a general rule, the requirement tends to be 3-5 audience members in order to get bringer show stage time.

5. How much time do you get on stage?

Again, this can vary for each comedy open mic. As a general rule, new comedians are afforded between 3-5 minutes of stage time.

Note: It is important to not exceed the stage time given. Otherwise you can risk having limits put your comedy open mic performances.

6. What process do you use to develop your stand-up comedy material?

If you took the time to watch the open mic comedians perform, this can give you some insight on what process they are using that is working or what is not working when it comes to getting laughs on on stage.

7. Are there any stand-up comedy writing groups in town?

Sometimes new comedians will meet on a regular basis to work on potential stand-up comedy material ideas, expand their existing stand-up comedy material and to provide an avenue to deliver that material before it is taken to the stage.

You will find that most open mic comedians are regular folks, just like you and most will gladly answer your questions.

Expect a wide range of responses. But your main goal is to gather information on where you may be able to get stage time for yourself and to network with other comedians.

Note: If you are new to stand-up comedy and want the real scoop on what you need to know first about becoming a comedian, check out the Stand-up Comedy Secrets For Beginners audio series included as a bonus in the Success Primer For New Comedians.

You should also have some patience when it comes to getting stage time in the beginning because there always seems to be far more people in line than there is stage time available.

But don’t let that discourage you and here’s why…

The Rest Of The Story

I should also mention that the quantity and frequency of stage time a comedian can get in any area is usually (but not always) related to their ability to generate laughs consistently on stage.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

In a comedy open mic show, as a general rule the better comedians tend to get the better spots in the line up of comedians which is during the first half of the show. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Many times you will find that established feature and headline level comedians get spots in the first half of a comedy open mic show because they have the ability to generate laughs while they are working on new stand-up comedy material.

After that the less experienced comedians or the comedians who can’t get laughs tend to get time in the later half of the show.

When you first start out as a comedian you are an unknown and unproven entity. Also, no one knows how serious you are about pursuing stand-up comedy.

So you can expect to be in the later half of a comedy open mic show when you first start out. And it only takes a string of 5 or 6 horribly unfunny and unprepared comedians to quickly thin out a comedy open mic audience.

In other words, when your time to hit the stage comes there may be little if any audience left for you and your act. Most of the people that are remaining may be other new comedians that are in the back of the room.

Now here’s the big secret most new comedians miss:

Even though audiences can be thin to very thin in the beginning, the newest comedian still has the ability to demonstrate their stage presence and level of preparation when they do hit the stage.

In other words, you have the ability to make a positive and noteworthy impression during an comedy open mic performance even there is not a single audience member in the room when you hit the stage.

Unfortunately, most new comedians completely squander stage time opportunities in the very beginning (and far beyond for that matter).

They tend to be hugely unprepared and really don’t have so much as a clue as to how to develop and deliver a stand-up comedy that will generate generate laughs.

And as a result, you will see many new comedians stuck in the second half of stand-up comedy open mic shows if they can get stage time at all.

As you continue to look for information about becoming a comedian, know this:

  • Every comedian has 100% control over the stand-up comedy material they choose to take to the stage.
  • Every comedian has 100% control over the process they use to develop and deliver their stand-up comedy material.
  • Every comedian has 100% control over how well prepared (or unprepared) they are when they hit the stage.

In other words, a comedian has 100% control over the speed at which they can progress in stand-up comedy if they truly know how to develop and deliver a stand-up comedy routine that gets noteworthy laughs.

Once you see for yourself just how awful and unprepared most new comedians are, you should be able to understand why there are tremendous opportunities for the relatively few comedians who can actually deliver the goods when they hit the stand-up comedy stage.

Related Article: The Top Ten Reasons Talented People Suck At Comedy Open Mics

5 Stand-up Comedy Lessons - Killer Stand-up Online Course
This training module intro page provides comedy lessons on why conventional stand-up comedy writing methods don’t work.

7 Replies to “7 Questions To Ask Comedy Club Open Mic Comedians”

  1. Getting stage time seems such a critical factor. Asking other comedians how they get stage time seems to be a good approach. It is always useful to gather all the intel you can.

  2. Theres a 3-week waiting list at the most popular open-mics in Denver, Co. And they don’t hesitate to bump 1st timers with people who have performed decently in prior shows. I’m tempted to try promoting my own open-mic at some type of mom & pop store. Do you or any readers have suggestions with how to approach a venue owner? Are there better places to try typically than others? Like is a coffee house too quiet? Are bars better than restaurants? I’m anxious to get a live audience that doesn’t know me. I stopped testing my sets on friends and family because it’s hard to get a true read. Please let me know if someone mentioned having success at a paticular business type.

    • Unless you are able to promote your own shows, what you are asking can be difficult at best. And until you can deliver a killer show (whether it be you alone or with other comedians), it will also be difficult to sustain a show.

      • It’s hard enough to book actual working comedians into bars, bowling alleys, and other non-comedy club venues. And even when they do get booked, many times there is simply no interest on the part of the audience in a comedy show. They’re there to have a few drinks and watch the ballgame on TV, or bowl with their pals, not listen to some comic they’ve never heard of and who, frankly, probably isn’t all that funny. The audiences at these kinds of shows usually don’t even listen, but they can and often do go from uninterested to hostile, making for a very unpleasant evening for all concerned. There’s a reason these kinds of shows are known as “hell gigs” among comedians. And if that’s how they treat actual working comedians, you’d better believe it’s going to be ten times worse if they have to sit and listen to a bunch of open mic amateurs, most of whom are not only not funny, they’re downright anti-funny. I can’t imagine any non-comedy venue agreeing to allow an open mic night. If you can somehow convince one to, I doubt if they’ll agree to a second one. But if you think you can pull it off, by all means go for it, and more power to you! Keep us posted!

  3. Bar/non comedy club open mics are usually ran a little loose compared to traditional comedy clubs, but what I learned so far:

    1) be on time-if it’s your first time at that venue, 15 mins before sign up. That way you get to find out who’s in charge of the list, rules (usually there’s a comic meeting before the show), a chance to see the venue and/or the people you’re performing for.

    2) new polite and humble to everybody, especially the bar and wait staff-you don’t want to be a jerk to a random person and later find out it’s the owners nephew or the owner. Nobody had a Comedy Central special so even if you’re the funniest person in the office, nobody here cares.

    3) be prepared to get the worst slots or no time-most comedy clubs put first timers up regardless, but if they only have 12-17 spots and 35 comics show up, unless it’s first come first served, the guys who bring people (it’s a business), one who come out week in, week out, and the buddies if who’s in charge (if you don’t like it, start your own mic). And if you do get on, stay for the remainder of most of the show. If you brought 20 people and they all left after you went on first and the rest of the guys have to perform for 5 people, prepare to go last from now on.

    This is just some stuff I noticed, these are not facts so don’t quote me on any of this, I will deny everything

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.