What some comics forget to bring to the comedy club…

Comics often get upset with crowds when they moan and groan at different jokes.  “It’s a comedy clubs, relax!”  If you hang around with a group of comics, the jokes extend beyond the stage often at one another’s expense.  No matter what’s going on at home, the club is no place to bring your problems and baggage, only your humility.  Put your ego aside when you come to a comedy club (and while you’re at it, on Facebook as well).

That doesn’t mean you can just go in and make fun of anyone.  There’s a bit of a pecking order and for you to determine whether your ball-busting comment is worth it.  Think ahead of time, “Will what I say influence whether I get work or not?”  That doesn’t mean a veteran can just go round cracking on everyone.  There’s a long list of headliners that nobody likes.  We joke with the ones we love can tolerate to be around so don’t go attacking comics you’ve barely talked to.

At the same time, learn when to time your cracks.  For example, if you’re going to make fun of the MC during an open mic or a regular show, remember that the MC will get the last word after your set.  The pecking order warning from above is also there because odds are the more experienced comic is better at comebacks than you.  I’ve been on both sides of this exchange over the years.

Honestly, unless you’re a headliner getting a door deal, you need the club more than the club needs you.  That means everyone who works at the club is more important than you, so be careful what you say even if you’re just joking around.  Also, learn not to take yourself so seriously.  You should be mentally focused before taking the stage, but that doesn’t mean you should be strutting around as if you’re about to take the ring in a UFC fight.  Calm down, you’re doing five minutes.  The more you act like a super-star, the more you’re going to get mocked.

Stay humble on Facebook as well.  For every great accomplishment you post, throw in one or two remarks about your real life struggles or shortcomings as well.  And if you can’t think of anything wrong with yourself, ask Joe Lehnig.  He’ll be happy to keep you grounded.  And if you think I’m being a hypocrite in this entry, we just don’t know each other well enough.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes on this topic, come find me.

For more tips on handling yourself better on and off stage, check out Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage.

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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

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