So You Have Resolved To Try Stand-Up Comedy!

2013Welcome to 2013, dear reader! There are some pretty good odds that you have never been to this page before. Statistically, a lot of folks start stand-up comedy in January. Maybe it’s the New Year’s resolution push, maybe it’s something in the air, maybe it’s something in the water like fluoride that they release in some kind of seasonal of pattern to keep the populace mildly energized but not threateningly so. In any case, it’s a great time to start comedy!

Portland comedy is full of really nice, supportive people. It also happens to be hopping right now — there’s a lot of great stuff going on. So if you’re looking to try stand-up, you’ve picked a good spot in the space-time continuum! Be sure to check out the open mic list to know where to go and how to sign up. Here, as a a welcoming gift just for you, is some totally unsolicited advice from both newbies and oldbies in the scene right now:

  • Be nice. It’s okay if you’re nervous or terrified, most everyone is.
  • Don’t “wing it”, have some plan no matter how elaborate or basic.
  • If it’s your first time then the audience is on your side, people want you to succeed. You’re a hero!
  • Say what you think is funny, not what you think people will think is funny.
  • Learn to be funny before you try to be edgy.
  • Introduce yourself to the host, and if you liked a comedian on the show, tell them so. They like that!
  • Hello newcomer, if you plan to start your set by saying “now I’m a little too dark and edgy for some people” and end with “rapeeeeeee” how about instead plan on not.
  • Don’t tell jokes. tell the same funny stories you tell your friends — your oldest, best ones. And get off stage after you finish your first story, or at 3 minutes, whichever comes first.
  • Spend the first 10 seconds of your first set speaking INTO the mic. Keep speaking INTO the mic. You got it now, keep speaking INTO the mic. Raise it up a bit, there ya go, and speak INTO the mic.
  • No one ever said the stage was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth… only that the truth is usually the funniest shit on stage.
  • Listen to other performers and respect the light.
  • Write every single day and get on stage as much as possible. Watch good comedy. Work as hard as you can. Respect that stand up is the most beautiful and pure art form in the world and treat it like it’s precious.
  • Four words: am I right, ladies?
  • I’d advise you to avoid doing it. Since I started doing stand up I’ve lost my job, my marriage and I can’t see my kid anymore. Not that this had anything to with me performing stand up; it’s just things that have happened since I started and I wanted your pity for them. Thank you for your time.
  • Say “bang” after every line to let the crowd know you just said a punch line. How else are they supposed to tell?
  • Don’t listen to advice.
  • Oh, and keep working it; it works.

Contributors included Philip Schallberger, Jon Washington, Patrick Perkins, Katie Rose Leon, D’Emmanuel, Joe Hieronymus, Dan Weber, Josh Fisher, Barbara Holm, Scott Rogers, Danny Felts and Nariko Ott. Check them out, they’re all really funny folks.