Friday, April 16, 2010

This week was my final stand-up comedy class. I commemorated my graduation by signing up for one final 3-minute slot at their open mic night.

Although I knew I could do an ok set by just refining my material from the previous week, it seemed like I could learn more by trying out new material. I figured I could probably do 3 more minutes on a subject like Google alone. So, I combed through some of my notes and came up a few minutes of Internet jokes. I whittled this down to 3 mediocre minutes, throwing out some dead-weight bits and replacing them with other dead-weight bits. I found the right place for the dick joke and called it a set.

Ladies and gentlemen, "I Am Prepared to Give Up at Any Time" reluctantly presents my second (and probably last) stand-up comedy set ever. Some of you have been reading my blog for years, and this video is your reward/punishment. Please note the following:

1) There were a few other newbies performing that night. I wasn't the worst, but I was far from the best. Let's be generous and say I was slightly worse than the average beginner.

2) Yes, I know that my microphone technique sucks and my timing isn't much better. That combined with the mediocre audio quality of this video makes some of the jokes hard to hear.

3) I describe a family member at one point and my description is completely fabricated.

4) Yes, I am very nervous up there. Mostly I look somewhat calm, but when I trip over my words and forget important phrases, it's pretty clear that I am working hard.

Ta dah!


Lola said...

I LOVE it. Especially the dick joke!

Pilaf said...

Well Mike, that was certainly not indicative of your actual humor... as my wife was watching and commenting: "He was from your class in high school? He looks really young" (softening you up for) "He isn't very funny". I mentioned to her that you're hilarious in person and in writing... apparently neither translates to on stage.

My two cents -- do not quit. The joke where you threw out "hypotenuse" -- "cosine" is in fact the funny word. Those hard "k" sounds always leave them laughing -- they must have taught you that in comedy class. Kidding. (See -- the K there... hilarious).

You have always been funny -- don't quit this. Not yet. Fail and bomb -- I did for more than a year until I figured my hook to the audience and once you figure your hook -- it works with everyone. Yours has always been (for me anyway) your suffering at the hands of others who are CLEARLY STUPID. Stories about your interfacing with stupid folks has always been my favorite of your stories.

My stage has been at auctions -- but laughter keeps people awake and throwing money at me. More laughing, more bids, more invites to come back and auction stuff. It ain't stand up but stand up is just letting people have a laugh with you, isn't it?

You did not stink -- don't quit.


Mike said...

Thanks, Lola!

Hey Pilaf. Actually our text did talk about hard-k sounds and their comic superiority. I just love hypotenuses. Anyway, thanks for the constructive criticism and the encouragement (excluding your discouraging first paragraph).

Siôn said...

To be honest with you Mike, I expected to watch that video and see you crash and burn on that stage. As it turned, I was wrong. I quite enjoyed that. Some bits funnier than others, naturally, but fair play that was decent stuff. Don't stop now!

Mike said...

Thanks, Siôn. Obviously I wasn't hilarious up there, but it went better than I feared.

Ms.PhD said...

The material is really pretty good - though I second what Pilaf said. Some of your posts about your family are hilarious; your posts about ridiculous things that happen when you take your daughter places and observe people being stupid are probably the best.

I think different material choices would help, and you have plenty to choose from, so don't quit yet. A little more confidence in your delivery will come quickly with more practice. And I think you'll find that audiences respond even more to confidence than to the material itself. If you're comfortable, they're comfortable. You don't want nervous laughter, which is all you'll get if you seem nervous. You want dead serious delivery and involuntary guffawing. And I think you have all the ingredients to get it. You just need to practice.

Mike said...

Hiya Ms. PhD. Your comments are well taken, but I should explain that part of the reason I did the material I did was precisely to get away from the stuff I normally do. First off, I had focused on kid-humor the first time I did stand-up and wanted to do something different this time, and secondly I only had 3 minutes and didn't necessarily want to spend them all trying to translate a typical blog story into stand-up format. Seemed like a different format required different material. Maybe not. I'm new to this.

carey said...

Mike! You did great! It's a lot harder than it looks! I know I'm late commenting on this, but this is so great you took a risk--that's half the battle. Hope you had fun with it!

Mike said...

Thanks, Carey. Yeah, I had some fun with it, when I was terrified.