I went to an open mike comedy club last night. OMG! You talk about painful! (MEAN ALERT! I am going to be hateful right now.)
I did not know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t this. We arrived a little late so maybe the “headliners” had already gone on. There were about eleven more people, and despite the emcee’s bubbling introductions that roused warm welcomes and cheers, these guys did not bring a lot of laughs with them.
It might have helped if there had been a few more people in the crowd. There were about 15 people there, and they had all been, or were planning to be, onstage. I only saw one guy with a girlfriend there – they left as soon as he bombed onstage.
Coming from me this might sound hypocritical. There have been many, many, MANY of these posts that I didn’t think were very funny and I’m sure you wholeheartedly agree. Most of the misses were because I was tired, I had eaten a big plate of beans for dinner and my stomach was gurgling, distracting me and making the air was hard to breathe, so I’ll admit I didn’t put a lot of thought into them.
Some of my posts have made tears roll down my eyes (although that might have been the beans, too). But last night at the open mike, I had tears but not from laughing. It was a crying shame how bad many of those guys were.
You could tell they had the talent to be funny – nice voices or great smiles or a rapport with the audience. But their problems were similar to mine. They didn’t put enough time into it.
They came up to the stage carrying notebooks. Oh boy. It’s always nice to see a comic come up on stage and read jokes. After awhile I was hopeful that at least some of these pages contained something that could make me laugh, but alas, ‘twas not the case.
The notebooks, I think, were security blankets. The guys glanced at them, pondered, cocked their heads, cocked them to the other side, and then looked up at us perplexed because maybe the lighting on stage made it so they couldn’t read what they’d written. Whatever the reason, there was nothing on those pages to help these guys in their struggle to be funny.
One guy got onstage and said, “Well, I put my name on the list because I’ve never gotten up in front of a crowd and I wanted to see how it felt. Hmmm, feels pretty strange and pretty scary. Hmmm, I guess it would have been, uh, nice if I had prepared something…” He went on like this, rambling about how he should have prepared for five of the longest minutes in recorded history.
Then a guy got up and said, “I had sex last night with an 80 year old woman.” We groaned because he was about 18 and we all started picturing it in spite of ourselves. The alleged comedian said, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” More groans. It was even worse when he started describing the sponge bath.
Somewhere in their lives someone must have said to these people, “You’re a funny guy.” Being funny at a party is not the same as performing comedy onstage. Funny stand-up guys actually write jokes and present them in a logical, funny order. They work at it, and this is where the difference comes in.
Another thing these guys did was say, “uh” every 4th word. “So I…uh….went down to the…uh….corner store and found….uh…..a magazine full of naked….uh….women who were….uh….naked and I….uh…. was….uh….thumbing through it when….uh…..”
The emcee couldn’t take it either. He got up after about 8 people and said, “You know, you see a lot of comics on TV. That’s where all comics want to end up, on TV. And one thing you might want to notice about these comics on TV is that they NEVER have a notebook when they go onstage. Just never see it. Just thought I’d mention that.”
So the very next comic brings his notebook up, but the one after him went onstage empty handed. “Ooooo,” I thought, “maybe this guy is going to be good.” He gets up there and fumbles around with his “uh’s” and “everybody doing okay tonight?” Then he starts contorting his hand around, twisting it this way and that as if he’s trying to find a freckle just below his elbow. Finally he says, “Oh hell, I heard what you said about the notebook and so I wrote my set list on my arm but now I can’t read it.” That got one of the rare laughs of the evening.
Actually, that’s not true, There was an older woman who laughed at everything. You could tell she thought her mission was to help bolster these budding talents. I thought it was very sweet, and I laughed a few times too – but mostly to keep from crying, as they say.
If open mikes are supposed to be funny, they should have “closed” this mike. Ha ha. I think anyone who could remember a few simple jokes would be a great hit at this place. For instance, these jokes would have brought down the house: What do you call shoes that a frog wears? Open toad shoes. Or what do you call a cow that’s had its calf taken away? De-calf-inated. LOL – I could be a comedian! Maybe you’ll see me up there next week.