What to do the other 23 hours

Last week I was on the road working at Crackers in Indianapolis, Wednesday through Saturday.  The hotel is a lot nicer than most, but whether your gig gives you a hole or luxury it’s important to figure out how to spend your time wisely when you’re not performing.  In fact, I think the 23+ hours you’re not on stage can be just as important to your career as your stage time.  Instead of sitting around watching premium cable while surrounding yourself with different sauces to dip your chicken nuggets in (something I learned from another comic called the “nugget buffet” which is actually really fun), try to improve your act and yourself.  Trust me, you have the time (seriously though, nugget buffet can break up a bit of the boredom so don’t rule it out).

1.  Find a gym–Almost every city has a nearby place to workout.  The club or hotel often provides passes so be sure to pack a few days worth of shorts and t-shirts.

2.  Listen to your act–record and listen to your sets.  It can be boring (I’m so sick of my set by 2nd show Saturday) but you’ll be surprised how much more “aware” you are of every little detail in each joke.  This can be the difference between a good and great set (and a good and great comic).

3.  Read a book (NSFW sound).  <—-Not a link to my book, I promise.  It’s a youtube video my students directed me to last year.  Reading allows you to think like a writer.

4.  Write a at least one new joke and incorporate at least a little bit of it into one of your late shows.  If a set is going great or bad, it allows you to take a little risk.

5.  Send out your avails.  This is best to do while you’re working because bookers see that you’re busy and not desperate.

6.  Get into an internet fight.

7.  Be a tourist.  Find something free in the town you’re in via Google and go to it no matter how boring it is.  There’s a joke there waiting for you.

8.  Prepare for your show by having your merch organized and your outfit ironed.

9.  Sleep at night, get up in the morning…at least while the free breakfast is still out.  The danger of reversing your days and nights is that you eliminate a lot of your downtime options, so stick to a normal schedule that won’t have you awake at 4 a.m. with nothing to do.

10.  I’ll leave #10 for you…comments, suggestions?  I’d like to include more tips for those on the road.  This helps to give a taste of the future for those working hard to get to this point.  I find that I’m still learning something new every week on and off stage and still making a lot of mistakes.

These tips were rather basic, but there are a lot more detailed tips and inside info about what the road is like in my book, Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage.  C’mon buy it!  It’s a worthwhile investment to your career and a tax write-off.  If you want to learn the steps and keys to becoming a paid comic, order my book.

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About Rob Durham

With an English Degree, three years as a doorman at the Columbus Funnybone, over a decade of stand-up experience, and a recent certification in teaching high school English class, writing a book seemed like the next inevitable step for Rob Durham. The son of a coach, Rob has an excellent ability to teach and explain things in the easiest and most direct way possible. His (often labeled ridiculous) memory allows him to think of every possible situation that a new comic might face because at one point he was there too. Rob gives an inside look at comedy that doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges every performer faces. Without ego and the myth that “anyone can do it” Rob gives the reader a true feel of what living the so-called dream feels like, from preparing for that first open mic night to touring the country. View all posts by Rob Durham

One response to “What to do the other 23 hours

  • Dana Sitar

    Free daytime hours in a hotel are great for getting work done on the computer. Work on your online presence: build up your presence on social networks (without giving in to distractions), work on a blog, write a newsletter, etc.

    If you’re so inclined, hotel rooms can be great for writing, as well. Use that time to work on a side project, or even smaller writing work like press releases or answering email Q&As.

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