This is a continuation of Laugh Sabbath Review Part 1, which describes my experience at the stand up comedy show Laugh Sabbath held at Rivoli (332 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON).
Advice For A New Stand Up Comedian
At the end of the show, I met Rebecca Raftus, Tim Gilbert, Adam Christie, and shook hands with Nick Flanagan. They were great and super friendly. I got a list of 8 more open mic possibilities from them, and it made me feel that I could get on stage faster than I thought; my initial open mic Toronto comedy club list consisted of only 5 venues.
BTW you have to see this post by Tim Gilbert called, ‘Tattoos by Tim.’
They mentioned that the best way to break into the scene would be to:
- See as many shows as possible and press flesh with the hosts and bookers
- Don’t spam the bookers
They also mentioned that it could take as long as four to six months to get on a mic at a particular venue. That sucks because it pushes back a lot of goal deadlines I had. But then again, with any new venture, you sometimes get overly aggressive with milestone completion dates.
Crafting ‘room-specific’ comedy
Tim, Rebecca, and I agreed with me when I remarked that tonight’s audience was a, ‘Thundercats crowd.’ What I meant was that they were hipsters, which was a term that congealed in my mind but I didn’t realize was accurate at the time.
When Tim & Rebecca were giving me the list of potential open mic’s, they sometimes would describe a room as ‘tough’ and that got me thinking: “Should I prepare different sets for different crowds?”
An Example, If you will…
Women want makeup, but not all women want the same makeup for the same purposes at the same price. Some need it for work, others for movies, others to cover up blemishes.
So what does L’Oreal do? They create a product mix, which consists of different brand names that signify to the consumer different solutions. For example, Garnier is their mass consumer line. L’Oreal Professionnel, at the other end of the spectrum, is geared towards professional cosmeticians.
Back to Crafting ‘room-specific’ comedy
Is it possible that just like a company segments the market and crafts brands to meet the segment’s needs, a great comedian should craft different jokes, bits, sets, and perhaps even change his delivery to jive with the crowd type? In other words, should he tailor his performance to the crowd he’s performing to? When I come into a room, do I now have to gauge the crowd reaction to identify what will work and what won’t?
A part of me doesn’t want to accept that for two reasons:
- It means that I have to have a collection of material that I can use interchangeably depending on the crowd. My focus thus far has been to create a great five-minute set and practice the hell out of it.
- I’m not sure if it’s true. Shouldn’t I just be able to perform the same five-minute set regardless of the crowd?
Please comment below. I’d love to get your take.
Material I crafted for tonight’s crowd
I had a long transit ride home, and I thought to myself, ‘ If I knew the crowd beforehand, and had to craft an entirely new set to ‘fit’ with the crowd, what jokes would I do?’