My Performance at Standing on the Danforth

I apologize for not doing this post earlier. When we last had a chat, you stood over my shoulder as I prepared for the biggest open mic of my young career at Standing on the Danforth at Eton House hosted by Jo-Anna Downey. Showtime’s at 9pm; let’s go…

Jump to: Anticipation | My Set (Video) | Long Walk Back to Seat | Advice from Mike Wilmot | Conclusion | Country Song

The Approach


Entrance

I enter at 8:31pm, and Shania Twain’s Raining on our Love is playing. This is what I see:

Aww man! This is the biggest stage of my life and everyone has decided to stay in because of the rain! Yeah right. Jo-Anna Downey has been running this room for more than a decade; it’s FULL by 9:15pm.

I take a seat near the front so I can film the masterpiece that will be my set. And the show starts…

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Anticipation

As I wait to go up, I remember something On my Square told me before my set:

I’m supposed to remember, ‘Have fun you asshole‘ as well, but the pressure’s on, and my mind has other things to focus on.

The previous comedian is ending his set, and my mind LOCKS onto the same thoughts:

  • What are the first lines of my opening bit?
  • How can I make a joke related to what he’s talking about? Come up with a joke, come up with a joke, come up with a joke, goddammit that one isn’t funny come up with another one, ok I got one practice it practice it, WHAT WAS IT AGAIN!? practice it practice it…oh yeah…I hope that works…I think it’ll work…

‘Let’s bring up your next performer, Michael Jagdeo’…oh shit

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(Video) My Set with Post-mortem Comments

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The Long Walk Back to my Seat

The walk back to my seat is a blur. I don’t want to make eye contact with anyone. A lady smiles and says, ‘Good set’; bless her heart, she’s lying…

Please Jo-Anna, just introduce the next comedian and – for the love of God – don’t say, ‘Another round of applause for Michael Jagdeo‘ because that’s going to be followed by a clap drizzle that’ll make me sink into my chair.’

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Advice from Mike Wilmot

Although that night didn’t go the way I wanted it to, Mike Wilmot, a LEGEND in Canadian comedy, is in the back! I start a conversation with him. He asks how long I’ve been doing comedy, and I tell him two months. He looks at me puzzled, chuckles dismissively, and leaves me with a gem of encouragement that has me on cloud nine the entire drive home:

Your act is like a sale, and if you groom it, you can travel the world with it.

Wowzers.

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Conclusion

Takeaways from tonight:

  • I learned that my sets CAN work, but they just need tightening, more rehearsing, more funny lines..
  • I can benefit from taking ‘stage directions‘ when practising, i.e. try it more relaxed, try it sarcastically, try delivering it deadpan, etc. Here’s what I mean (jump to 02:20):
  • The post-mortem really helped. It’s never as bad as you think it is…
  • Wilmot’s advice reminds me not take myself too seriously. The rest of the comedians on tonight’s stage had a minimum of 3 years of experience on them, and I’d like to think I didn’t completely bomb.

 

Signature

I always end my posts with music (I’ve played a combination of trombone, trumpet, and steel pan since I was 12). In keeping with the country flavour that Shania kicked off in the beginning of this post, give this song a shot…country ain’t all bad:

(I can hear you say, ‘all country sucks’…just give it a…oh Sweet Jesus he’s rapping…fuz me…ever wish a song was just the chorus for 3 minutes? Fast forward to 02:10)

Michael Jagdeo


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About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for blogTO.com.
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2 Responses to My Performance at Standing on the Danforth

  1. Pingback: Stand-up Comedy + Day Job don’t mix well together | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  2. On My Square says:

    You have material… NO dead moments from you, the audience feels you know what you are doing when you don’t have those ‘thinking about what to say next’ periods. Your style reminds me of young Bill Cosby. Which is good, not too many people can tell a story and get jokes into it today. Love the notes you put added. Never respond to someone in the crowd before you get your first joke out. The first 20 seconds is your moment to show you are in control at an open-mic, when you start to get regular work you will have 2 minutes.
    It’s an open-mic so there is no reason to over think it, fall in love with being on stage.

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