I have been doing open mics around for the past seven or eight months now. I really like doing stand-up comedy and I am happy that I waited until now to do it. I don’t feel competitive, and I love when other comics make me laugh. My goal is to have a tight five-minute set. This video from when I performed a few weeks ago at Foxy Loxy, a coffee shop in my neighborhood. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my sister kept feeding me “jokes” that she thought I could use in my set. She gave me ideas, but it takes a while to formulate a joke. Joke writing is not as easy as it looks. You have to have a set-up and a punchline. Also, a callback is also good. When the audience can see how you called back to a previous joke, they laugh not only because they see how clever you are for making it, but also they feel clever they are for catching it. It’s a win-win!
I went up at comedy open mics here in on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday’s open mic was at the Sentient Bean. The crowd was mostly stand-ups and I was the thirteenth comic up. It takes patience to wait out an open mic. I don’t want to be first, but I would love to be about sixth or seventh.
Friday’s open mic was at Foxy Loxy Cafe. It is so much fun to do stand-up outside in a courtyard. The crowd was mostly locals, and I think my jokes got more laughs that they did on Thursday. Anyway, I am performing again this Tuesday at Crash Comedy at the Sentient Bean at 8PM. I will be doing a character in a piece that I am still writing.
I also made a podcast episode, Episode 5.
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Lately, more people are doing social media and part of that is a numbers game. Like an amateur comedian just starting out, you have to have a certain amount of people coming to the show to perform. In the comedy world, this is known as a bringer show. If you have a friend who is just starting out doing comedy, then you know about the dreaded bringer show where comedians can only perform if they get enough people to come to the show. Similarly, some people have social media gigs which require a certain amount of engagement on a weekly or daily basis. To reach these numbers, some social media coordinators will reach out to the friends repeatedly for “Likes”, “Retweets”, “Followers”. I don’t mind when someone sends me something and politely asks if I would consider spreading the word to my community. However, I really dislike when people send me a “sample tweet” in the hopes that I will simply copy, paste and tweet out to the world.
First of all, I recommend social media professionals to stop over-promising to clients. Building social media presence is a long term process. If a client wants 1000 new followers a month, then don’t take the job. They can just buy twitter followers if they need the numbers so badly. Secondly, the strain that you may be putting on your friendships is not worth it. It is better to find which subset of friends who may be interested and message them. Stop sending blanket updates to everyone and please don’t beg for RTs. If you treat social media outreach like a bringer show, no one will come and the joke will be on you.
Listed without commentary and in no particular order, here are
eight ten funny Black men that I have seen do stand-up comedy.
1. Baron Vaughn
2. Eric Andre
3. Hannibal Burress
4. Baratunde Thurston
5. Victor Varnado
6. Elon James White
7. Dave Lester
8. Donald Glover
9. Jordan Carlos
10. Wyatt Cenac
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