Good Habits and Bad Open Mics

Well by the taint of Saint James, ain’t life a trip? I want to take a nap right now, but I forgot I made tea. So now I have to drink the tea. What a couple of horrifying options. My life is so hard and difficult.

Speaking of hard and difficult, how about that open mic stand-up comedy? What a grind. I did a mic last night, and there was music playing in the other room so it was difficult to hear, the closest person to the stage was about 30 feet away, and the two guys before me bombed so hard Biden had to send in a relief package. Is Biden still alive by the way? I haven’t checked the news in a while.

Anyways, it was another shit mic, which was kind of good cause I wanted to work on this new joke about limes. It’s my new favorite joke. I can hardly get through the whole thing without laughing, which is fun because sometimes I’m the only one laughing. Stand-up is a lot more fun when you’re doing what makes you laugh instead of what you think will make the audience laugh. The audience is also more likely to laugh if you really believe in your jokes, even if it’s a silly bit about limes.

I honestly don’t even know if I bombed or not. Nobody was paying attention. It’s hard to say you bombed when you’re talking into the abyss. For me, I don’t really care about how many people are in the audience, as long as they’re close to me and they’re paying attention. Doing stand-up feels weird when you have to yell to the back of the room and try and get cheap laughs. Last night, the only times people would laugh would be if you said “retard!” or “faggot!” really loud. I know this because I watched it happen. There were no punchlines, just the words. Killer stuff.

But that’s okay. Those mics are still important to go to because you never know when you’re going to find some gold. You might say something new and get a few laughs, spicing up your bit for the next go around. Plus, experience is experience. With each hell gig you perform at you become… stronger? More weathered? More defeated? All of these things, I suppose. But the hope is that you become better.

I am getting a lot more comfortable on stage, and I think that’s the most important thing for me right now. It never feels good to bomb, but I don’t worry about it anymore. Sometimes I even welcome it. “This crowd is gonna hate this joke, but I’m gonna tell it anyways because it’ll make me smile later.” That was a real thought that went through my head. I have issues.

Also, there’s certain jokes you know are really good even if they don’t work on a certain night. Once you have enough success with a joke, when it happens not to work on a given night it doesn’t get me down. Instead of thinking “oh no, this joke didn’t work. I must not be funny,” I’m able to say “I know this joke is funny, it just didn’t work tonight.”

There’s tons of reasons why a joke won’t work. Often times it has nothing to do with the performer. Sometimes somebody drops their everything bagel and the collective attention veers for ten seconds, and the punchline goes flat. Sometimes it’s your first joke of the set and people are shuffling around in the audience still trying to find a seat. Sometimes you suck and you’re just not funny and it totally is your fault. The possibilities are endless.

Boy I really am tired. Good thing I poured the world’s biggest mug of tea. I’ve been reading the book Atomic Habits lately and I started logging the habits I want to continue. It’s been a huge help so far. I put an X on a piece of paper for every day in a row that I complete the habit, and if I don’t complete it, I must start over. I’ve got four pieces of paper: Wake up at 9:00 AM every day. (I go to sleep at 2 and having a regular sleep schedule is really important for me.) Write one joke. Write one page of the book. Write one blog post.

Turning it into a beat the streak game is giving me a lot more incentive to keep the streaks going. Even when I’m tired or feel like a poop in a car seat, I really don’t want to start at zero again. As the streaks get longer, I think I’ll have even more motivation not to break them.

Okay I’m gonna go take that nap now. Bye.  

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian from Northern California. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media, make a donation, or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

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