Ways To Know You Have The Mind Of A Stand Up Comedian


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Everyone with a pulse, loves to make people laugh. It is in our very nature to want to make others feel good, and laughter is a huge motivator. Not everyone, however, wishes to do this standing on a stage, in front of strangers, trying out original material written for the sole purpose of creating laughter. But, this does not mean that a person does not have the heart, or mind, of a professional joke teller. The following is a list of things that typically identifies those people who, without knowing it, have the mind of a Stand Up Comedian:

  • If you are typically the quietest, most withdrawn person, at a party: It is kind of strange to think that the most introvert of people would actually be one of the funniest, isn’t it? One of the most incredible traits of a stand up comic is that they are amazing at simply and quietly, observing the world around them. Word of caution; when you get these to people speak up, watch out! Hilarity may ensue and some feelings may be hurt!
  • If you remember watching Looney Toons in absolute silence: Although cartoons can be rather humorous, a stand up comedian watches them with a discerning mind. We know that cartoon is funny, but we try to figure out why?? The mind of a comic is extremely analytically geared and figuring out why something is funny only adds to that enjoyment, even if we don’t express it outwardly. I can still remember my old man walking in to the living room while my brother and I watched cartoons. Seeing what we were watching and not reacting with laughter, my dad yelled, in Spanish, “Rianse’, tontos!” (“Laugh, dummies!”)
  • You find the humor in even tragic events: In the mind of a comic, it is never “Too soon” to think of something funny in the face of tragic events. Although it is “Too soon” to express those funny thoughts audibly, a true stand up comic has the patience to find the levity of the situation, and use it at a more appropriate time. It may actually never be appropriate, but we’ll be damned if we don’t share those inner thoughts before our heads explode. Here’s an example: A father finds out that his 14-year-old daughter has already lost her virginity. Although devastated, the father can’t help but think, “Well, at least I’ll save a ton of cash not having to pay for a Quinceanera.”
  • You prefer to drive without the radio on: Most stand up comedians are entertained more so by the thoughts running in their heads than by One Direction playing on the radio. Even if the radio is on, chances are, we don’t even know what’s playing.
  • You talk to yourself…and answer back: Countless of times, during the day, a stand up comic has conversations with themselves. Often times, we are only replaying an actual conversation we had earlier with someone, that we felt could have gone much better. Perhaps we could have used more wit, or thrown in a funny one liner, but we missed the opportunity! How do we improve on that? Practice! Next time, it will only come out more effortlessly.
  • The only people who can make you laugh are children, your parents, or your significant other: It’s not that we don’t find other people funny, it’s just that we appreciate things for different reasons. In the case of children, we love the fact that they speak their mind and never filter their thoughts. Who better to find the fault in anything that a kid! In the case of our parents, it is more so that we have known them all of our lives and we know what to expect. Then one day, they do something totally unexpected and it cracks us up! I remember that I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I ever heard my mom say “shit!”. I’ll call that the “Betty White” effect. Oh, and let’s not forget our significant other. Let’s face it, you picked them because they brought a smile to your face, and there is no one better to laugh with than the one that shares your heart!
  • No humor is off-limits: Sure, you can’t joke about anything with just anyone! Sometimes you’ve got to know your audience. While it may be okay to joke with your best bud about serious issues, it would not be wise to joke that way out in the open where someone would actually get offended. Like it or not, everyone reading this blog has uttered inappropriate jokes with someone close to them. We will just leave it at that, okay?

I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but I would love to read your suggestions!

I hope you enjoyed this blog! :~)

Performing For A Bunch of Lawyers


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Tomorrow, I have a gig performing in front of a bunch of Insurance Litigation attorneys. I will also be delivering a short Motivational message before doing some stand up. After the stand up portion, I will be Emceeing their White Elephant Gift Exchange. This should be a blast! Okay, now on to this blog and my purpose for writing it. I have been performing for corporate audiences for about a year now and I have learned that the best way to connect to these type of audiences is to prepare, at the very least, 5 minutes of custom material. The following is what I have written so far. Some of it will make the final cut and some of it won’t. This is where you come in. I appreciate the fact that you take the time to read what I put out there and would LOVE input from all my readers! If you like a particular joke or even have one of your own you wish to throw my way, I WOULD LOVE TO READ YOUR SUGGESTIONS! Okay, here we go:

  1. Wow, when I first saw all these white guys in suits in one room, I thought I was at a Mormon Convention. But then I saw some Latinos in here with suits and it felt like I was at a Quinceañera.
  2. I’d like to thank (XYZ Law Firm) for inviting me here today. It must be so cool to be a lawyer! Lawyers get to practice in the confusing world of Civil Litigation. Or the brutal world of Criminal Litigation. Or the most exciting of them all; Insurance Litigation!
  3. I can only think of a few things more exciting than that!
    A Dentist appointment. I LOVE when someone makes my gums bleed! I pretend I’m Dracula.
    A Parade. Who doesn’t love standing in the cold for hours?!
    A Prostate Exam. You may go in to see the doctor, but you leave having gained a friend.
  4. Practicing law in a Latino city like El Paso must be hard.  I was recently down at the courthouse and saw 2 Latinos, dressed in suits. I couldn’t tell which one was the lawyer and which one was the defendant? Then one of them spoke up in the courtroom and said, “Thees is a travetee, jour honor!” That’s when I realized, THAT’S the lawyer! Hey, ‘Travesty’ is a pretty big word.
  5. Insurance law firms have such great commercials. “My attorney got me 2.2 million dollars. I may be missing my arm, but now I can buy a new one!” Then the lawyer appears on the screen and says, “If you’ve been hurt in an accident, we can help. We are the Strong ‘Left’ Arm of the law!…or whatever limb you happen to be missing. Call us today! If you are missing both arms, then have someone else help you CALL US TODAY!”
  6. I like that your law firm didn’t go for a name to describe your tenacity. Some firms go for such intimidating names like:
    The Lion
    The Tiger
    The Bear
    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
    Law firm names are never stereotypical. I mean, I would jump at the chance to hire; THE WEASEL! Hey, the weasel is a quick and clever creature. I hired “The Bulldog” for my divorce and my ex-wife’s lawyer made him look like, “The Puppy”. The Weasel would have at least got me my X-Box back.

    Okay readers, that’s as much as I have written so far. I might add a few more here and there, based on your suggestions. Remember a few things though; this is a corporate audience and the material has to be clean. Let’s try to stay away from the sexual or race references. Although I make Latino references, they are typically clever enough not to offend audiences of any kind. Oh, and I’ve taken those bits for a spin in front of corporate audiences before, so they are well tested. LUCKY FOR ME! Okay, have at it readers! I hope to read some good stuff here!

SEE YA!

Dating in El Paso, Texas


The last girl I dated was a stay at home mom. Her ankle bracelet didn’t let her go more than 10 feet away from her house.

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Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate Doing Stand Up Comedy


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HERE WE GO:

10. Inviting friends and family to my shows knowing full well they’ve heard my jokes over 100 times.

9. I look fat on stage.

8. I hate making eye contact with the only person in the audience that is NOT laughing.

7. The comics going on after me will be 10 times funnier than me.

6. I’ll be trying a new joke that will be met with 9/11 type silence.

5. People will laugh at the set up to a joke and go completely silent at the actual punchline.

4. Sometimes I spit when I talk and I can see my spit in the spotlight as it hits an audience member in the front row.

3. I have to force a smile even though my set is tanking.

2. I’m funnier in my head.

AND THE #1 REASON I HATE DOING STAND UP COMEDY…

1. At the end of the show, audience members ask me if they can take a photo with all the comedians… Then they ask me to take the photo.

Readers and fellow bloggers, feel free to add to the list, whether you’re a stand up comic or not! I would love to read your take on it!

Headlining At The Comedy Spot In Scottsdale, Arizona

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My Feature performer, Iggy Samaniego, from El Paso, Texas, destroyed the room before I took the stage. All I had to do was RIDE THE WAVE!

Things That Make You Go, “Ugh!”


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I will never claim to be funnier than any other stand up comedian. I truly believe that comedy is subjective. That is to say that what makes me laugh will not necessarily make you laugh. Having said that, there are some things that make me shudder when I watch relatively new comics take to the stage. I think, for the most part, it is an evolution of sorts. When a comic is starting out, it is very easy to seem less then genuine. Inexperienced comics tend to go for what they assume to be, and easy laugh. Here is a list of the things I see and hear that make me want to look away in disgust.

  1. Toilet humor:
    Yeah, we all poop. We all fart. We all have diarrhea after eating Taco Bell. On the surface, this type of humor seems funny, because as kids, we always laughed at this subject matter. But on a stand up comedy stage? Unless you’re bringing a new angle to the subject, leave the poop jokes on the throne. The audience has most likely heard em’ all.
  2. Talking about banging other chicks while your girlfriend or wife, or both, are sitting in the audience:
    If any of the audience members know that this is the case, they will undoubtedly look in the direction of your companion after you’ve delivered the punchline about how you didn’t think your fist could do “that”. This takes attention away from your joke and causes a disconnect with the crowd. The audience then spends the rest of your set imagining the horrible things that will take place when you and the Mrs. get home. I know that being “real” on stage is important, but let’s not get too “real”. Stand up comedy is more than bringing reality to the surface, it’s about doing it in such a way that others can laugh and not feel guilty doing so.
  3. Political Rant:
    No one cares, man…No one cares. If we wanted to hear political views, we would tune in to talk radio or at least watch the political commentary shows on Comedy Central. Don’t remind us about how bad a shape this country is in. If we were being invaded by China, the audience wouldn’t give a crap. We just wanna enjoy our drinks and get entertained like the Roman Emperors we all are!
  4. Internet Jokes:
    I can’t even believe that this one has to be mentioned. Look, if you read a joke on the internet and think that you are the only one in the entire world that was privy to that masterpiece, you are as confused as Bill Clinton on the witness stand! Nothing, and I mean, nothing, angers me more than to see a comic get credit for a joke they did not write. Sure, you’ll get the laughs, but you will lose the respect of those you call, “fellow comics”. Grow up and bomb doing your own stuff!
  5. Going Over Your Time:
    Most audience members have no idea what “going over your time” means. Simply put, the club or venue allows every comedian a certain amount of time to perform their set. Apart from the orderly function of this aspect of stand up, it also allows the next comic to get themselves pumped and ready to take their turn. When a comedian goes over their time, the comedian following them begins to fume on the inside. Thoughts like the following, go through the next comic’s mind, “When is he gonna get off!” “The jokes haven’t been working and they’re still in search of a great closing?!” Look, do your time and once you see the “light” given by the sound guy, FINISH AND GET OFF THE STAGE! Make it a habit of not getting off when you’re supposed to, and you will find that you will either, not be allowed back, or your next appearance will be much shorter than you anticipated. Be a professional and FOLLOW THE LIGHT!

Alright, I could go on, however, I like keeping things short to keep my readers engaged. If you have anything to add to this list, be my guest! I enjoy reading each and every response.

Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There!


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If you have been going to stand up comedy shows or performed on them often enough, eventually, you will see and hear things that make your butt cheeks tighten up and make you wanna say, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!” Well, allow me to share a few of the moments I have been privileged to witness. Disclosure: Once you start reading, you can’t look away. Okay, here we go:

1. At an open mic, I witnessed a young man take the stage and proceeded to freeze. Nothing came out of his mouth. He literally took the mic and looked out at the audience and said nothing. I don’t know if it was stage fright or if this was his “bit”, but this “bit” lasted almost 10 minutes! He just stood there… I think maybe he uttered a word or two, but they certainly weren’t memorable. The audience felt tense for the guy. We all waited for him to say something. Anything! But, nope, it didn’t happen. His 10 minutes were up, he said “Thank you” and got off the stage. I’ve never seen the poor kid up on stage since…

2. At a regularly booked show, a comedian’s set wasn’t going particularly well and he was beginning to get heckled by a couple that took issue with one of his jokes. In an attempt to “riff” (engage the audience in a monologue), the comic dug himself a deeper hole. As the minutes wore on, the couple got louder and the jokes were no longer jokes. The comic tried his hardest to win them over but it didn’t help that the comic just got more insulting and less funny. At the end of his set, the comic tried to make amends with the couple and was completely ignored. That was tough to watch…

3. During another paid gig, a comic took the stage and started off well. Within about 15 minutes, the wheels started to fall off. All of a sudden, the material went a little “blue” (a term used to describe toilet or sexual type humor). The audience was no longer digging the material and the laughs suddenly stopped. Feeling the tension, the comic proceeded to scold the audience for not laughing, (not a good way to win an audience over). The comic ended his set 10 minutes shorter than what he was scheduled for. I watched, staring at the floor hoping I would become invisible…

4. A few years ago, during a weekend show at a comedy club in Arizona, the headliner took to the stage after the first two comics tore the room up! The comic had a “low key” style of delivery and, for the most part, had good material, but on this night, the audience was already used to the high energy of the first two comics. Well, that didn’t result well for him. The comedian started out well enough, but within about 20 minutes, the room started to slowly clear out. People were leaving. That has been the hardest thing to watch. The comedian made up for it the next night and performed an amazing set! But, what a price to pay…

Stand up comedy is like that. It’s not pretty. Each of the four incidents I described above will happen to every comic. If you’re in stand up comedy, and some of these things haven’t happened to you yet, well, you just haven’t been in the business long enough. If you are in denial about the reality of stand up, quit now.

The Evolution of the Stand Up Comedian


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I’ve noticed an evolution of sorts, in the way stand-up comedy is honed. I suppose that you can say the same thing about most any occupation? If we all have to “Start somewhere”, then it stands to reason that, with the passing of time, you are never the same as when you started. For those of you that have taken an interest in performing stand-up comedy, or know and support someone who does, then read on as I explain what I believe to be a decent interpretation of the evolution of a stand-up comedian:

Starting Out

This period can last for quite some time. Every aspiring comic will start out at an Open Mic show, where a club, promoter or bar venue will offer an opportunity for anyone to get on stage and try out a set of stand-up comedy material. Anyone who has dared to attempt this feat will undoubtedly agree that, putting together a 3 to 5 minute set seems easy at first, but soon becomes incredibly daunting as the premises and jokes, that have been playing in our heads for years, all of a sudden don’t sound as funny when said out loud. But, we’ve committed to perform, so we will write and rewrite our little 3 to 5 minutes. Taking the stage for the first time is as nerve raking  as having the police run your driver’s license during a traffic stop. You’ve memorized the order of your set. You’ve memorized each and every word and have rehearsed your set in the shower, over and over again. Heck, you’ve probably showered at least 6 times on the day of your first gig!

This is actually  the way things will go for a while. Every set will sound rehearsed. The success of every set will hinge on the memorization of the order of your jokes and heaven help us if we have to deal with a heckler! That will throw us completely off! It’s not until you’re set sounds less and less rehearsed that you will be able to take the next step; Thinking you’re funny…

Thinking You’re Funny

Oh yes, you’ve perfected your 3 to 5 minute set and have increased your time to 10 minutes now! You’re on your road to stardom! How is it possible that other people aren’t jumping on your fan bus yet? You’re only a few months in, but how much longer is it going to take before the masses recognize the prodigy they see before them? You are now confident enough to invite your friends and family out to a show and you’ve even updated your Facebook occupation to “Stand Up Comic”.  Never mind that you have a degree, licenses, or a job that would make others salivate, stand up is what you’re proud of! It won’t be long before the comedy clubs hear about you and burn up your phone for booking information!

Then comes the “bomb”… Yup, that bomb that is in everyone’s deck of cards. You can’t avoid it. It’s there. It’s the card that no one wants, but comes with the deck. Ironically enough, it’s the “Joker” card. Oh, and you will soon come to find out that there are plenty of those in your set. This is the time that you realize, there are no short cuts in stand up. This is also the time when some comics face the reality that it is just too hard to continue and certainly not worth the heartache. Some “Jump the shark” here and others keep plugging along to the next step; Punching it up

Punching It Up

You’ve got your nice, little 10 minutes of decent material. It’s funny, but it could use some more laughs. By now, you’re about 1 to 2 years in and you are now starting to realize that you might need to put in a little more work before you’re invited to the Conan O’Brien show. Although you have several ideas to other premises, you realized that you need to work a little more on the material you have now. You reluctantly go the open mics around town but you are still being humbled a little more often that you would like to be. It’s tough to do the same 10 minutes in front of the same audiences night in and night out, but you continue to do them in hopes of saying something off the cuff on stage, that will result in a new punchline or new bit. It’s about this time that co-workers, friends and family ask you, “Are you still doing that comedy thing?” Endure this level and you’re ready for the next one: Learning to Write.

Learning to Write

You’re going on 2 to 3 years now and you’ve realized that there is more to stand-up comedy than just writing a clever one liner. In fact, you now realize that you still have a lot of work to do. You’ve learned about “Act Outs” in the past, but have been too hesitant to do them, after all, your jokes are great without the need to make a fool of yourself and act anything out on stage, right? Well, after a few years of watching other stand ups and comedy shows, you now see how the Act Out portion of a joke is the real money-maker! That’s where most of the laughs happen. But, where can you find places in your set to act things out? It’s gonna take a lot of trial and error, but what the hell, you’ve already bombed enough times to really care about looking bad on stage. “Efff it!”, you say. All of a sudden, something magical happens; as you’ve been working on your act outs, you’ve stumbled on other premises and other jokes that you know will go great on stage! Shoot, you’re getting almost 20 “Likes” on Facebook every time you post one of your witticisms! Now that you’re getting it, you’re ready to move on to the next step: Getting paid to perform.

Getting Paid to Perform

Chance are, by now, you may have gotten an opportunity to host or open a show at the comedy club or other venue. You’re not quite where you want to be yet, but you’re making progress. You have a nice, tight 10 minutes and maybe a few minutes to sprinkle around. There was a time when you actually claimed to have 30 minutes to an hour worth of stuff, but if you’re really honest, you’ll understand that only 8 to 10 minutes of it is actually funny. You’re 4 to 5 years in now and now realize that you were way off thinking you were ever ready for stardom. This may take a decade or two! At this point, you’re getting really annoyed by other young comics, who are just starting out and think they’re the next Richard Pryor, Louis C.K. or Bill Bull. You have promised yourself that you would not get too cocky and that you will always be realistic about what you’ve accomplished so far. When you think you have an hour’s worth of good material, you really only have 15 minutes. When you think you have a half hours’ worth of good material, you actually only have 10. Once you have decided to be completely honest with yourself, you can then take the next step: Learning to sacrifice your children.

Learning to Sacrifice Your Children

Don’t let the title of this section fool you. I’m not saying you’ve got to abandon the real children you took part in co-creating. It’s bad enough you’re already having to pay child support. That investment may pay off one day when one of your kids makes it big while you’re still plugging along at open mics. What I’m referring to in this section is learning to dump the material that is just not working. Sure, you got a few chuckles that one time at a bar called Ernie’s, but it was from a couple seated in the back that was laughing at a meme on their phones. You should be a good 6 years in by now and are starting to realize that not everything you write is gold! In fact, what makes you laugh, isn’t necessarily funny to your audience. By now, you’re learning to read an audience and are taking more risks now. Some of those risks pay off and others crash and burn like the dude from “Jackass”. (No, it’s not too soon. It was only a matter of time before one of those dudes earned the Darwin Award.) You are now very realistic about stand-up comedy and are in no hurry to get famous anymore. As long as you’re constantly coming up with new material and honing and developing your set, you’re happy. People are taking notice that you are not only a good comic, but you can actually write a joke! Now that you’re no longer self-deluding yourself, you’re ready to move on! Showing them the real you.

Showing Them The Real You

When you get here, man, you’re just scratching the surface! But, it feels great! This is when you are about 7 to 8 years in. Now, you’ve been on stage so often that you are not afraid of being You. Many young comics don’t realize this, mostly because no one ever tells them to their face, but, there was a time when you weren’t you on stage. That’s right, you weren’t. You were Dane Cook, Bill Bull, Bill Hicks, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. You were anyone but YOU! This happens without much realization. It’s just that you were influenced by those comics mentioned above and others. It’s almost like a husband and wife when they start looking like each other and acting like one another. It’s almost inevitable. But, now, you’re being You on stage. The real You. The You that your friends and family like. Your personality is really pouring in to your jokes like never before. No longer does your set sound rehearsed. It sounds smooooth! Even when you are trying out new stuff, it’s almost as though you’ve been doing it for years. If a joke tanks, you just plug along and your personality wins the audience over in the end! Some comics may reach this level sooner than others or even later. Whatever the case may be, once you get here, the journey has just begun. Hang in there and keep plugging along!

Can You Win Them Over?


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In a previous blog, I wrote about passing several milestones on your way to stand up comedy success. I’ve mentioned how it will take years to hone, perfect and get to the level every aspiring comedian dreams of. Tonight, I add one more notch to my journey.

Allow me to set the scene. Five comedians have already taken the stage. The first three completed sets of seven to ten minutes. The fourth comedian performed for almost half an hour and really got the crowd going. The fifth comic, and producer of the show, took to the stage and picked up where the last comic left off. He completed a twenty minute set and, for the most part, kept the attention of most of the audience, however, some of the patrons were beginning to get back to their regular, rowdy bar activities. By the time he was done, the audience no longer seemed to be in the mood to devote their attention to anyone holding a microphone.

Here we go:

1. I took the stage to no intro music. Considering that the promoter had just finished his set and was acting as the DJ for the night, I was out of luck!

2. All of the patrons seated at the bar had now started talking loudly and carried on their camaraderie despite the show in progress.

3. I came on to no applause. I literally walked up on stage and was handed the mic by the promoter, who made a valiant attempt at a very nice eulogy, er, I mean, introduction.

There is where it starts. The noise in the bar is too loud to get in to any prepared material. There are still a few tables up front with people who are gazing right at me as though they were about to witness a traffic accident but don’t have enough time to react, so, they just stare intently. In eight years, I’ve learned a thing or two about a crowd like this.

First, FIND THE ONES THAT ARE STILL WITH YOU. I spoke to those tables directly and was able to “Roll” nicely, with crowd work, into some of my prepared material.

Secondly, I’M THE ONE WITH THE MIC. The people seated at the bar may be talking loudly, but I’ve got the power of the mic! I spoke right into that big headed cone and pressed on to the delight of the people that were still pulling for me.

Thirdly, if I noticed that I’ve lost the attention of some of the willing and able members of the audience, I BROUGHT THEM BACK WITH A CONVERSATION DIRECTED RIGHT AT THEM. Yes, this required more crowd work, which might go over well, or not, but I was letting them know that I still needed them and who can help but not feel wanted at that point?

I moved fast so as not to let one laugh go stale. Kind of like licking that ice cream cone before too much of it melts into your hands. Yuck! I believe in pacing yourself on stage, but when the distractions are fast and furious, you NEED TO BE QUICKER TO THE PUNCH.

For about fifteen minutes, I struggled, and I CALLED THE MOMENT. I said, “I don’t care that I’m bombing. This is not new to me. I’ll stay here for another fifteen minutes while you all stare at me and watch the tragedy unfold. At the beginning of my set, I had stepped off the stage and walked among the front row of tables. At about midway through my set, the promoter motioned at me from the back of the bar to get back on the stage. I responded with, “You want me to bomb in the spotlight? I’d rather go through this in darkness!” With that statement, I won over a few more people who, I would assume, were ENDEARED TO ME BY MY SELF DEPRECATION.

By about the twenty minute mark, the bar chatter had completely died down and most of the audience was now hanging on my every word. I was now the center of attention, finally! I plugged along, and now, it was a real comedy show again. I finished strong and after I set the mic down, the majority of the audience, individually shook my hand and paid me compliments that will ring forever in my ears.

Is this the only time I’ll need to face this type of crowd? Well, if I’m going to be doing this for a living, I figure I will need to go through this at LEAST 100 or more times.

IF YOU’RE IN STAND UP COMEDY ONLY FOR ITS SUCCESSES, YOUR JOURNEY WILL BE A SHORT ONE.

Think Classy, You’ll Be Classy


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“Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you’re a slob.” – Kevin Costner as “Crash Davis” in the movie “Bull Durham”.

This is perhaps one of my favorite movie lines of all time. In context, Kevin Costner’s character has been given the task of mentoring a young pitcher in baseball’s minor leagues. Crash Davis often teaches young “Luke ‘Nuke’ Laloosh”, played by Tim Robbins, lessons about life and how those lessons are vital to a successful baseball career. In this scene, Crash calls to attention the pitcher’s slob laden approach to his hygiene and appearance.

I believe stand up comics can take this lesson to heart as well. At least, I do. I have always made it a practice to look my very best when I have been booked for a show that will be presented in front of a paying audience. It has become quite the norm to watch comics take to the stage appearing as though they just got off their couch wearing clothing that seemed like an after thought. I am not suggesting that one should dress up in a suit and tie to tell jokes on stage as though appearing on the old Johnny Carson Show. What I am saying is that we need to make an effort to put our best foot forward when performing in front of a live, ticket paying audience. This allows you to appeal to as many of their senses as possible.  Through out the night, you will have the opportunity to appeal to 4 of the audiences 5 senses, (I don’t see how it would be possible to have them taste you, unless things get pretty wild), and the better impression you make on each of their senses, the more they are likely to remember you.

A few weeks ago, I attended an open mic, here in El Paso, Texas. I was wearing a very loose t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I hadn’t shaved in a few days and I looked rather raggedy. I have always dressed up for all of my paid performances, but this was an open mic, so I really thought is was no big deal. Right before I took the stage, I noticed two individuals walk in to the bar. I recognized one of them as the headliner appearing at the local comedy club that week. A comedian from L.A., he had recently appeared on Conan O’brien and was currently embarking on a national tour across the country as a nationally known “Headliner”. The fellow he was with, I assumed was his feature performer, who was also performing at the comedy club all week.

I went on stage and had a great set. I even noticed that my material was even making the L.A. comics laugh. At the end of the night, I made my usual rounds of the tables, thanking all of those that attended and gave us their attention. I really wanted to meet the L.A. star and just shake his hand, but I was intercepted by the other guy that walked in with him. He went on to tell me how I had impressed him and his friend so much during my set. Although they came to watch an open mic show and expected to see the same type of “hacky” material that typically accompanies such shows, they were pretty impressed at the originality of my set. He then said the following: “If you ever go to L.A., I think you would do great, but let me give you a little advice. When you appear on stage, try to look your best. Bookers and agents are looking for talent all of the time, but they are also looking for talent that they can market. They want to see comics that are pleasing to the eye. When they see someone like you who has talent and looks good, they will be lining up to offer you the fruits of your labor.” I thanked him for the great advice and completely forgot about meeting the “Headliner”. I don’t think I could have asked for better feedback!

Check out the Bull Durham clip below!