Last night I performed at Comedy Underground’s open mic night. I had some new jokes I wanted to try out so I got there early and signed up. I was by myself, so no one was there to film me or to whisper to me before I went on stage, “You go sister friend!”
There were a lot of comics lined up–I think there were over 30, including a headliner. I was the 16th person signed up, but that didn’t mean I would go on.
Live comedy is not like a YouTube video. There are bits you notice, like how people handle the mic or the stand. Some people forgot to move the stand behind them when they pulled the mic out. Others didn’t talk into the mic and the manager hollered, “Talk into the mic!” Some of the younger guys yelled into the mic and the host later said,”Thanks for blowing up our Radio Shack setup!”
There were mostly guys. I was one of four females there and definitely the only Pacific Islander and most definitely the only one from Saipan. I know that’s racial (facial?) profiling, but there were no other performers like me there: Chamorro women with too much lipstick. And what would I have said if there had been a fellow 670 sister? Hug her and yell, “TWINSIES!”
There were hecklers, luckily mine was heckler free. A white guy in the back kept yelling, “Yeah, holmes!” at the host. A woman who sat in front of me tried to participate with the comics like it was a Tavis Smiley interview. When a comic made a joke, she nodded and announced, “That’s contradictory!” Yes, that’s the infrastructure of a joke. Thank you for the assessment. Now. Stop. Talking.
There was fight during one guy’s set. A man who was obviously drunk had been accosting some other people earlier. He had taken a seat next to the mouthy lady, wrapping his arm around her. He started on the comedian and then yelled, “I’m from Pittsburgh!” He stuck out his fist for a fistbump. The comic did a fist bump and then leaned into the guy and asked him to shut the hell up. The crowd cheered. The manager came out with security. It must have taken about three or four minutes to convince the man to leave and he started yelling, “Don’t fucking touch me!” The lady joined in, saying something I couldn’t hear before she stormed off. For those who paid five bucks a ticket, they really got a show.
The range of talent really varied. There were some people who came on stage with perfect timing and set up, others announced during their three minutes, “Oh this is going to be a long three minutes” or “This is really bombing.” Like announcing how terrible they were and not just owning it. Some people brought up their notes, either glancing back at them or flipping through a notebook and saying into the mic, “Okay next page!” There were two guys who brought props –one had an old cell phone he pulled out of a Safeway bag, the other had a puppet. I think it was a beaver. A beaver!
I went on halfway through the show and some of the crowd had already left. There were scattered laughs and I couldn’t see one single face unless they were right at the edge of the stage. I did two new jokes and pulled into my bag of mom material until the red light went on and I wrapped it up, thanking the crowd and scurrying off stage.
I stayed till the end and told some of the comics they were great. One of the other women said, “You were funny! Keep doing it!” I don’t know if she said that to be nice, but I needed to hear that.
Overall, it was a great night. Now to do it a million more times.