I’ve only been to one open mic, but I’m signed up for one on Saturday night to try again. I had a long call with a friend who did comedy with me back in the day and regaled him with all of the things that are different after 14 years away.
I don’t want to spend any of my limited minutes on stage talking about how I used to walk to school, uphill, both ways in the snow about doing comedy in 02/04… so here are a few things that have (and haven’t) changed in the last 14 years.
- There are so many rooms. I wonder if I have a copy of The Reader from a typical week in 2003 to see how many open mics we used to have. I don’t remember there being more than two a night and most people only went to one. Now there are upwards of 10 every night of the week – even on weekends?!?!?
- YouTube didn’t exist when I did stand-up comedy. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. We had Friendster, Hotmail and plenty of us went to Kinko’s to write and print in the middle of the night.
- There might have been one comic who took their notes up on stage on a Palm Pilot in the early aughts, but rooms were all about paper notes. Last night about half of the comics took their notes up on their phone, which means they are spending time waking their phones up between jokes.
- Dudes in their 20s still tell rape jokes. Find a different starting point, gents.
- The room was a lot more diverse. There were only two women, but there were 5-6 Asian comics. In 02/04 a room was diverse if 3 of the 50 comics were black and 4 were women. In a list of only 15 comics, to have 1/3 be people of color – that was remarkable!
- Drink specials and kind bartenders (at least at Spyner’s) are still part of the scene. There were $2.50 beers last night.
- People have a lot to learn (and I have a lot to remember) about using mics – that’s the same as it always was. But as Jerry Seinfeld taught us in 2002, all you’ve got to do is get the mic out clean.
I’m going up again tomorrow night. I’m going to keep working this jokes and trying different rooms. We’ll see what happens.