If you can get your friends to come watch an open mic night, that usually helps you and the show quite a bit. At a lot of clubs you have to bring friends (usually 5) just to get on the show. Other clubs understand that part of the reason you’re a comic is because you don’t have a lot of pals. While friends always mean well, unfortunately they can do a lot of damage to your reputation, so it’s important to talk to them ahead of time about a few things.
1. This isn’t the music industry. They don’t need to worry about promoting you and talking you up ahead of time. You’re not ready to be promoted yet, so tell them they can relax and…
2. Enjoy the whole show. Even if it’s a contest, they should laugh for everyone they enjoy. No comic wants to win a contest that he or she doesn’t deserve to win. Usually it’s just open mic night, so there’s no contest at all. The better the other acts are doing, the more energy and show momentum you’ll have from the crowd during your set. Stay the whole time.
3. Do not complain about anything. Did you order a margarita and get a rum and Coke? Too bad, suck it down and like it. Let this be a small metaphor for the showbiz industry that your comic buddy is about to take on. And tip, a lot, obviously.
4. Wait until after the show to talk with you about your set. There’s nothing worse than when a group of ten sees their buddy do well and then feels the need to hold a congratulatory meeting right there in the show room. Or, sometimes half the crowd will go out to talk with him/her at the bar leaving a void in the audience.
5. Friends have the potential to ruin your future at this venue or others. Think about that. If they get too drunk/stupid and the staff connects your friends with you, it can get you left off of the list in upcoming shows. A lot of this goes back to #3.
For other tips on how to survive and eventually make money in the comedy industry, order my book, Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage. (Available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and in paperback as well.)