Stand-up Comedy + Day Job don’t mix well together

11 Hours to Showtime || Nervous. Tonight (Nov 29 at 9pm), my performance at Standing on the Danforth held at the Eton House marks the biggest stand-up performance of my young career. This is a run down of my thoughts and feelings before the show, including some of the trials and tribulations of working a job and trying to do stand-up comedy at the same time. I’ll be updating this page as the day wears on so you can see what’s going on in my head…

Stand-up Comedy + Day Job don’t mix well together

Most comedians have day jobs because comedy doesn’t pay. If they’re lucky – nay, good enough – to start get paid to do stand-up comedy, it’s usually not enough to live on. You’d be surprised at how many comedians in your local club work day jobs to pay the bills.

It’s not good, not bad, just what is. And, if you’ve seen any of my videos, you’ll know that I have a day job, too. Fuz, I’m so bad I might need a night job. But you gotta be bad before you get good, right?


My Day Job (10:15 hours to showtime)

Day Job Doldrums

Day Job Doldrums

I teach a course in personal finance on the weekends. The course is two weekends, 50 hours. On the first weekend, I’m on my feet teaching the crash course for 23 hours.

I taught this weekend.

The problem with teaching under those circumstances is that I’m TOTALLY WIPED by the time Monday rolls around. Standing, talking, answering questions, quelling the uprising when the natives get restless, explaining concepts 2-3 different ways to ensure comprehension; it all takes a huge toll on me.

I love teaching and that’s the problem: when you put your heart and soul into something for 23 hours in two and a half days, it drains you completely. I was so tired from this weekend that Monday was a complete write-off comedy-wise. It sucks, because Jeff Leeson was at AltDot Comedy Lounge at the Rivoli, and he’s a fuzzin’ superstar top 5 comedian IMO in Toronto.


Biggest Performance Ever Coming Up

Tonight’s important. I’m performing at Jo-Anna Downey’s Standing on the Danforth, a top-5 open mic room in Toronto with a two-month waiting list!

What sets this show apart from the others? A Comedy Network logo adorns the banner, so big tings ah gwaan for she. Could that mean big tings might gwaan for me if I kill it? That’s what I’m hoping for. Today mild-mannered comedian in Toronto, tomorrow a superstar telling jokes in Saint-Tropez, watching a brother play a mandolay (Puff Daddy, I Need A Girl Remix Part II [I thought I should reference this before Puff Daddy sues me for copyright infringement; he seems like the type of guy that would do that.])


What I Think About Before I Go On Stage (9:38 Hours to showtime)

Tonight I’m required (ew, what a word to use)…Tonight I get the opportunity to do comedy…fuz man let’s put on some music to change my state (in other words, smile you asshole):

That’s better.

When I started doing stand-up comedy (all those 2 months ago), I would try and tell myself, ‘RELAX‘ before jumping behind the mic. After a few performances, I started telling myself, ‘YOU’RE A PROFESSIONAL COMEDIAN.’ On Friday, I heard Biggie Smalls say, ‘If the game shakes me or breaks me, I hope it makes me a better man, Take a better stand…’

This weekend, I heard Edwin Yearwood’s Good Time, and although the lyrics were cheesy, the advice remains true: And I don’t care what people say, I’m gonna have a good tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!”

I think I’ll stick with that one tonight. And I think I’m going to keep that in the forefront of my mind as I craft my set for tonight. You’re freakin’ doing stand-up comedy! Have some fun you asshole! I really gotta take applications for a new inner voice…oh fuz maybe I should say that before my set (Have fun you asshole!) That makes me laugh.


Plan for the Day (9:06 Hours to showtime)

Here’s my plan for the day:

  1. Edit this blog for headers, blue highlights, italics, links, subheadings, videos, tags and socialize via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin (8:40 hours to showtime)
  2. Clean up room so I can think better.
    Before and after clean up of room

    Before and after clean up of room

    (8:24 hours to showtime)
  3. Edit this blog for headers, blue highlights, italics, links, subheadings, videos, tags and socialize via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin (8:14hours to showtime)
  4. Take a phone call from a a new client who wants to invest with me (I’ve been a Financial Advisor for 2 years)7:47 hours to showtime
  5. Edit this blog (adding pictures so the text content isn’t overwhelming to your eyes (7:35 hours to showtime)
  6. New client calls back to set an appointment7:14 hours to showtime
  7. Edit this blog (add links and socialize to Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter) (7:01 hours to showtime))
  8. Select which bits I want to do, including back up bits in case I go too quickly and panicking because I’m not sure that I have enough for 7 minutes (material that I’ve done on stage before I mean)
  9. Getting drowsy…oh fuz! I forgot to take my Thyroxine for my Thyroiditis! [Gulp] (6:43 hours to showtime)
  10. Select which bits I want to do, including back up bits in case I go too quickly. Now I’m panicking because I’m not sure that I have enough material that I’ve done on stage for 7 minutes (6:29 hours to showtime) Decided on…
  11. Damn this human vessel! I’m hungry. Gotta eat. (5:57 hours to showtime)
  12. Decided on:
    • Religious Experience (you’ve never seen this one) (Finished rehearsing with 5:12 hours to showtime
    • Got caught up in the Edwin Yearwood Good Time song and wrote it out for soprano pan
      Edwin Yearwood's Good Time

      Edwin Yearwood's Good Time for Soprano

      (4:14 hours to showtime)
    • White People and their Cottages (3:43 hours to showtime)
    • American Eagle & Manboobs (2:59 hours to showtime)
    • Mr. Clean (2:42 hours to showtime)
    • Jamaican Too Many Kids!
    • Stand-up Comedy Itinerary for Tonight's Show

      Practice Itinerary

      (2:15 hours to showtime)
  13. Transferring Sky’s the Limit and Good Time to my iPhone to listen to before the set.(2:15 hours to showtime)
  14. Practice and rework each bit 20x, tightening it every time (i.e. removing a word each time)
  15. Decide on the order of the bits
  16. Practice entire set 10x

Along the way, I’ll break for nourishment (and by nourishment I mean…fap fap fap…lol just joking…or am I…man cannot commede on bread alone…)

The Itinerary Gets Adjusted

Because nothing ever goes to plan

Because nothing ever goes to plan

And I’m off! Will record the set…

Update! Click here to see how the set went (video included)

Sky’s the limit,

Michael Jagdeo


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
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5 Responses to Stand-up Comedy + Day Job don’t mix well together

  1. On My Square says:

    AWESOME!!! I have been there. Best advice I ever got… BE NERVOUS!!! Use that nervous energy to your benefit. Kill it!

    • Hey RH!

      Thanks! I’ll definitely keep that in mind.

      About 3 hours to showtime but that includes dropping my girlfriend off somewhere and driving to the venue.

      Oh, and Anthony Hamilton’s Charlene is one of my favourite songs ever.

      Michael Jagdeo

  2. Pingback: My Performance at Standing on the Danforth | Diary of a Toronto Stand-Up Comedian

  3. kerby says:

    Hey. Great blog. How does going to perform at an open mic work? Do you just go and sign up or is there a selection process you gotta go thru

    • Hey Kerby!

      Shit sorry I missed this! Yeah you pretty much head down to any open mic, and the producer/host will probably put you up. It’s always great to see new people going up!

      Are you in Toronto? If so, give me a shout via jagdeocomedy [] and I’ll suggest a few friendly places to check out. And if ya wanted, I could make some introductions.

      All the best, Kerby!


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