Open Mic Comedy

What a thing it is. Comedy of the open mic variety. I went to my first open mic since moving to Austin last night, and it was a lot of things: Fun, interesting, weird… all of it.

I arrived early to see that I was going up last, which wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I haven’t been on stage since the pandemic began so I was obviously nervous and giddy to get on stage. Sitting there and watching two hours of open mic comedy while I stewed in my own nervy soup was going to be interesting. Thankfully, I was pretty calm and just enjoyed actually being in a comedy club and seeing comedy.

The other comics were surprisingly nice. Everyone in Austin has been surprisingly nice. It’s nice. Nice. Some of the comics were horrendous, which is always the case at open mic comedy, and some were pretty good. A couple guys had really awesome sets. There were only two or three people in the audience who weren’t there to perform, though, which is an interesting vibe.

The types of jokes that were landing were primarily small penis jokes. Dark and racy jokes were working, too. I opened with my best joke that always kills when there’s an audience of normal people, but it totally bombed. Dead silence. It threw me off, and I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to go through with the original set I had planned. I wasn’t in a room full of California residents, but a room full of Texas comics. Cue the penis jokes?

I don’t really like telling penis jokes. My style is more in the realm of witty and creative joke writing. Some of my jokes can be very silly, and those are the ones I personally like best. That being said, they weren’t going to work on this night. I scrambled to think of any joke I had that had a penis in it, and I remembered one that got me some momentum with the crowd.

I then told a new joke about Costco, where I then compare different grocery stores to different countries. Surprisingly, this joke went amazingly well. I got a huge laugh from the back and a compliment from one of the comics after the show who said that it was a really good joke. Those little nods of recognition go a long way.

I blanked a couple of times on jokes that I thought I had practiced enough not to blank on the punchline, but again, I haven’t been on stage in a year so that’s not really a surprise.

I went into the night telling myself two things: to stay in the moment, and to learn from the experience. I didn’t do a great job staying in the moment, but I did learn a ton from the four minutes I had on stage. I again realized how important stage presence is. I know my material is good, but I have a ton of work to do in figuring out my voice on stage and how to come off more confident and like-able. I’ve developed a more intense tone in my joke writing, so I went up there with a little bit of a scowl, trying to really pack a punch and harness my irritation with the world.

I think it got me off to a tough start with the crowd. Comedy is all about getting the crowd on your side and riding the momentum, so I still need to figure out what the best version of me to present to the crowd is. I’m not a very irritable or angry person in general so it’s probably going to be difficult for me to pull that off on stage. At the same time, I do have that side of me that I want to express. I’ll just need to find the balance on stage.

It was a good night, overall. Something weird did happen that I didn’t really understand, though. The comic who went up after I did, asked “what was that guy’s name that just went up, Jason?” And I was like, “yeah.” And then he said “I love how he said something like ‘right ladies?’ to the women in the front, and they were totally like… no.”

Personally, I could care less about being roasted or made fun of, but the weird thing about this was it didn’t actually happen. I never said that to those women, and I didn’t even engage them in my set. This guy just went up there and made something up in a blatant attempt to make me look bad. It was really awkward. Nobody laughed. I didn’t know what he was even talking about. I don’t think anyone knew what he was talking about. He bombed embarrassingly the rest of his set. I don’t know what his deal was. I would have confronted him about it but I really don’t want to start anything my first time out. It was really odd but I tried not to take it personally, even though it was a personal shot.

Anyways, we’ll see how round two goes tonight!

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