As an open micer on the prestigious Melbourne comedy scene, I thought I’d share some wisdom from an amateur’s perspective.

With the Melbourne International Comedy Festival coming up, it’s that time of year where countless professional comedians are taking to open mic rooms around the city to test out and get a proper feel for their material before they use it in their shows.

Performing at newbie rooms can certainly be an unusual foreign experience for some professional comedians, so I thought I’d lend a hand and set up a handy guide for those pro comics who are facing the difficult task of having to suddenly jump back into the open mic comedy scene.

Comedians, simply follow these upcoming steps and you will be respected and loved, whether it be by the audience, the fellow comics, or every single lucky soul in the area.

1) Make a massive point of reminding the crowd that you are a pro comic and people have the luxury of seeing you for free. Even if people don’t laugh at this fact, spout it again and again. You usually get paid for gigs, so make sure people know this. You’re at a shitty open mic room! Even if your jokes aren’t good, you are above this crap. It’s really important you emphasise this.

2) Make sure that when you mention a comedic idea, that it has absolutely no punch line. Specifically tell the audience to come see you in a few months when you’ve worked it out. This leaves us wanting more!

3) Insult us. Insult us so, so much. That’s why we came here for God’s sake. We don’t want to see you practice gags, we wanna see you screw up your poorly formed ideas and take it out on us. Remember, excuses are everything!  If you’re older than thirty, make fun of us for being too young to “get it.” If you’re interstate, mock our city. If the joke wasn’t funny, call us dumb for not getting it.

4) Be edgy. And by edgy, I mean make a joke about a dead celebrity and then mock anyone who takes offence. The celebrity wasn’t respected in the same vein as Gandhi, so of course you get to insult them for getting killed.

5) Mock the venue you’re performing at. Because fuck the guys who’ve booked you.  They have made a rookie mistake in choosing inadequate lighting, and deserve to be made fun of. Sure, it’ll make the audience feel awkward and only really appeal to a few of the other comics, but screw it! They have to learn somehow, right?

6) Act like this is the worst thing to have happened to you ever. Look miserable, exhausted and like you do not want to be at the gig AT ALL.

Follow these steps and you’ll be back in touch with your fans, and have picked up a few more, in no time! Because nothing helps hone your art or sell tickets than being an unlikable piece of shit.


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