open-mic-nightGetting started in comedy is the hardest part of getting started in comedy.


Yeah – you read that correctly. Starting anything new is always the hardest part but with comedy there are so many variables – you have to know where to go, who to know, how to write, courage to get on stage – sometimes that equates to stupidity – and the list goes on but the absolute hardest part of getting into this business is finding stage time.

Depending on what part of the country you live in – or the world – you might have access to dozens of clubs that stay open until all hours of the night – then again you might live in a place where you have to drive three or four hours both ways just to do 5 minutes once a month.

I am fortunate that the Tampa are has a pretty lively comedy scene – honestly the only thing that keeps me from getting on stage at more mics is Mick.

That’s right it’s my fault!

We have mics every week at some places and some every other week but there are very few nights that I  don’t have the opportunity to find stage time.

So what does it come down to? Courage – determination and how bad do I really want this?

I did my first mic in awhile last night and I finally worked up the courage – where have I seen that word recently – to hit the mic at The Improv in Ybor. Since starting comedy in 2014 I have avoided The Improv for two reasons – both amount to cowardice but I am going to tell you anyway because it’s why I started writing this post n the first place.

The first is the most practical and least cowardly sounding of the two – IT STARTS TOO LATE! I mean to kick off at 10PM is fine when you either don’t work in the morning or are in you 20’s and hours are relative in the first place but when you’re…well into your forties 10 PM is WAYYYYY past most bedtimes – especially mine!

The other is well…pure garbage! Knowing this was at The Improv was a bit intimidating to me. I mean – all I kept thinking was this is where ALL the comics I look up to – not a height thing that includes almost everyone – got their start. Seinfeld, Ramano, Attell, Cary and so many more.

You’d think that I’d be excited to try to add my name to that list – right? Well – of course I am but…here’s where I got stupid…in my mind – those guys would be there – at The Improv Tampa with the expressed purpose of heckling me and telling me “to get outa here kid – you’ve got no future” I just didn’t “think I could take that kind of rejection”.

Now as stupid as that sounds – that was my fear. That these giants of the comedy world would be sitting in the back of the room in Ybor City Tampa and I’d have to make them laugh or be dragged down 7th by banshees wearing camouflage and nap sacks and harpies all screaming my doom into the night leaving me penniless in the McDonald’s parking lot.

Bet you thought I didn’t really put THAT much thought into it – well guess you’re wrong but you know what? I was too.

Jerry, Dave, Ray and Drew were not there last night and by the look of things would not be anytime soon.

It was most of the guys I have grown accustomed to seeing at other various mics in and around the Tampa area. And you know what…I am not intimidated by any of them. Are they funnier than me? In some cases yes – I believe they are. Are they more experienced than me? Yes, many of them are but I have discovered that I can hold my own in this area and if I make the decision to work a little harder – OK a LOT harder – the list of the guys that are funnier than I am will diminish rapidly.

Not all the mic in the area are ideal. Almost none of them will launch you to super stardom – in most cases they’ll frustrate you beyond belief. You might even leave with less hair than you started and may have to deal with being a bit sleepy the next day at…

sorry I dozed off…where was I? Oh yeah, you might be sleepy the next day but the idea is to get on stage as much as possible to perfect YOUR act not to maker the other mic-ers laugh.

You’re not there – I am not there for them. YO are there – I am there to get better.

You cannot get better – you WILL NOT get better if you’re not getting on stage.

Get on stage – somewhere. Anywhere. Any time. As much as possible.

What’s keeping you from getting on stage? Step up to the mic – your five minutes starts now…


So very true Mick. Stage time – wherever you can get it – is so important. Not only to work on material (what gets laughs and – groan – what doesn’t) but also to work on timing and delivery. I’ve been to a few of the open-mics at The Tampa Improv – including last night – and just like the ones in NYC and LA, if you can get a laugh from the group of comedians waiting to go on stage, it’s deserved. They’re usually more concerned with their upcoming three minutes on stage, or reviewing with their friends or in their own heads. It’s also important not to “cheapen” the needed experience by catering to inside jokes just to get those comedians to laugh. I’ve seen that happen too often – that the open mic becomes more of a social event rather than a work place – and the danger is to get stuck in the open mic scene. Think of the big picture – working to get sets in the main showroom next door. It’s tough, but the comics you mentioned above all did it. If they hadn’t, you would’ve never heard of them. You’re doing the right thing so keep going. You can always sleep at work… ha!

    Dave – thanks for stopping by and commenting.
    I agree 100% with your thoughts – may have even borrowed some of the overarching themes. I have seen guys – and gals – doing the catering thing. Playing to those in the room and not really working to get better just chipping away at their 15 minutes.
    Thanks again for the all the advice, support and encouragement – really glad we met.

Courage! Everybody has but few now how to use it. You…my friend have always had the know how to not only use it but to control it. We may not talk a lot but I do follow your adventure and always hope the best crowds for you. I look forward to more post and maybe some more videos of your stand up.

    Thanks – glad you’re following along. I do need to post more video the problem is that most of the video I have right now is of some variation of what I have up right now. But I am still working at it so there WILL be more. Thanks for the support buddy.

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