Having learned my lesson earlier in the month, last week on a rainy Tuesday, I made the trip to the Laugh Factory in Hollywood to sign up for the open mic. I got there at 2:30 and was number two in line when they opened signups at 5. The signup is for the following week, so at 5:15 I was free to go. Since I made my goal, I decided I didn’t need to go to the other Tuesday open mic in Hollywood, and I joined the rush hour traffic heading south.
Yesterday I went up to Hollywood again, this time with a solid G-rated three minutes. I’m convinced it is impossible to go from Long Beach to Hollywood and arrive at 6:30PM. If you leave at 4:30, you get there in an hour (i.e. at 5:30); if you leave at 5:00, you get there in an hour and forty five minutes (i.e. 6:45). I did the former; I always prefer to be early rather than late.
Because I was the second signup, I was second up on stage. Since this was more audition than true open mic, I did only tried and true material, with a few new phrases to link the three pieces. I thought my set went reasonably well, but I did not get a call back to do more time next week.
I have to say I was a little disappointed. Until this morning, when I got an invite to do a show at Flappers in Burbank next month. And I didn’t have to stand in the rain to get it.
I feel like I’m starting over as a comedian in Long Beach – no one knows me, so I don’t get invites to shows like I do in San Diego. This means getting back on the open mic circuit. The first one I tried to go to apparently has shut down, as there was literally no one there when I arrived. The second one, while listed on a comedy open mic site, was clearly a music-only venue. That’s two misses in as many tries.
The 800 pound gorilla of the Long Beach comedy scene is the Laugh Factory. It’s an easy bicycle ride from our place, but at my level, the only way to get booked there is go through their Hollywood location. And the way that works is you show up one week to sign up for the following week’s open mic. So the week before Thanksgiving, I battled traffic to get to Hollywood an hour before the sign up opened. They take the first 15 people; I was number 16.
Not wanting to waste the trip, I followed a few other comedians to the open mic at the Improv. This one is a “put your name in the hat and we’ll draw them at random” event. I didn’t get selected, but at least I got to spend some time with a comedian I know (who also didn’t get selected that evening). Ugh, two more misses.
Still determined to get on stage in my new home, the following week I found an open mic at a restaurant attached to and associated with the Irvine Improv. Since it was my first time at the venue, I did no new material. But it felt good to be on stage and I enjoyed the burger.
I received a last minute invite to a Thursday show at the Comedy Palace in San Diego, so I headed south a day earlier than I’d originally planned. It turned out to be a mostly LGBT comedian show. I tried some new material and it worked fairly well – then again, with a punchline that references Madonna and an LGBT crowd, it should. Unfortunately someone bumped the camera and so the video of my set has me mostly offscreen a lot. Another miss. Three of us were also on the stage on Saturday at a show I produce with my comedy cohort Jennifer. So that was three shows in four days.
Jennifer and I also produce a Wednesday show in San Diego, so I came down. We’re having trouble building audience, and this week everyone who was there had seen most of my routines multiple times. Yup another miss. I decided to ditch the material and just talk to the crowd. I know I need to do crowd work, but it still scares me. As far as I could tell, no one died of boredom during my time. Some people even laughed at my stories. I wish that I had recorded it so I could know where they actually laughed. Lesson learned.