How I Prepared For My Performance At The Hard Rock Cafe

What Goes Into A Great Set?

Two and a Half Quinn with Quin C. Martin and Michael Jagdeo

After doing a set for RogersTV’s Toronto’s Talent, Quinn C. Martin (the show’s host) put me on his show, ‘Two and a Half Quinn‘ at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Big tings a gwaan 2012.

What Set Am I Going To Do?

My initial reaction was to perfect the bits that did well for RogersTV, which were:

However, from a marketing perspective, I wanted to do something different. Why?

Developing a Video Press Kit

developing a press kit

The way I look at it, if I’m going to do a major venue, I want to use new material. I mean, does it help to do the same material and get laughs? Sure.

That said, I want to be able to show that I’m building a repertoire of material that can do well in any situation. I also want a professional catalogue of videos that I can use in an online press kit, with the logos of Yuk Yuk’s, Absolute Comedy, Hard Rock Cafe, and so on in the background.

Honing the Kim Kardashian Bit

why do we care about celebrities like kim kardashian - JagdeoComedy on Twitter michaeljagdeo.wordpress

Practically speaking, here’s how the bit I used at the Hard Rock Cafe evolved:

  1. Developed the premise of Why We Love Celebrities.
  2. Saw and – from a business perspective – realized that I admired her rise to fame.
  3. Penned the idea.
  4. ‘Tested’ the idea by dropping it into a conversation with friends. That got laughs and a few that’s true’s, so I knew that the premise was sound.
  5. Tried it at Blair E. Streeter’s Comedy Show at Naughty Nadz and bombed. I was really pissed on the way home and even considered quitting the open mic scene. However, the next morning, I pulled up my panties and restructured the bit in order to get to the funny 10x quicker. Bombing was an integral part of crafting this bit.
  6. Tried the new bit at Neil Griffin’s Comedy Show at TA’s Bar & Grill and got laughs consistently throughout entire bit.
  7. Revised the bit a final time. On the day of the rehearsal I realized that, in conjunction with the manboobs intro from the top, I’d have a a five-minute set.

But that wasn’t the only way that I prepared.

Insights from Meditation

meditating on my balcony - jagdeocomedy standup comedy toronto

Those of you that have been reading the blog know that I’ve recently started exercising and meditating everyday. I’ve gotten so many insights about myself that I’ve literally gotten addicted to the practice.

Meditation is the process through which I create everything I want in my life. If you want to know what the hell I’m talking about, read Dr. Robert Anthony’s Beyond Positive Thinking.

Rehearsing at Home

preparing for my set

On the day of the performance, I locked myself in my room and went through 10 iterations of:

  1. Rehearsing the bit.
  2. Listening to the recording.
  3. Making notes about how I wanted to deliver lines.
  4. Played Mark Morrison’s, ‘Return Of the Mack’ on steel pan to break up the monotony.

Throughout the process, I imagined how the crowd would respond and committed myself to delivering both the lines and stage directions (physical to go with the lines) on point.

The Power of Visualization

I took public transit down to the venue, and that gave me the opportunity to visualize my set. I’ve heard that many golfers use visualization techniques to imagine how they are going to swing and picture where the ball will land before they take a shot.

They call my name. I walk up to the mic. I say, ‘Keep it going for Dave Brennan’ while I get the mic stand outta the freakin’ way as soon as possible. I deliver my improv. I deliver the set. I get huge laughs as I end the set and ask the host to come back.

That sequence played in my head like a movie on the way down. At times my ego was like, ‘Are you sure they’re going to laugh? You’ve only practised this twice in front of an audience.’

But something triggered a matter-of-fact response that said, ‘WHAT?! That bit is GOLD!’

My stop.


me on stage before the show

Me on Stage...why am I holding the mic like that?!

Luckily, we got there half an hour early, and that gave me the opportunity to take the stage while the place was still empty.

If at all possible, I love to get very familiar with the stage, the mic, the lighting, the seating…everything. I don’t want any surprises when the cameras are rolling.

I also got a chance to meet the other performers (Calwyn Shurgold, Dave Brennan, and Michael James Samuels).

Getting The Juices Flowing

michael jagdeo michael james samuels quinn c martin toronto comedians

One of these things is not like the other...

Michael James Samuels and I hit it off right away because we had the same passion for R&B and reggae music. I knew that I had rehearsed enough beforehand and so I didn’t feel the need to crawl into a corner and go over my lines, which is what I usually do.

My major goal at that point was to get as comfortable as possible. Joking around with Michael and Tanika Charles (a songstress who was also in attendance) really helped me unwind and keep the creative and humour juices flowing.

Moments before I Step On Stage

I was to be the first act after the host warmed up the audience.

I took a seat on to the left of the stage away from the crowd, propped up my iPhone, and listened intently so I could craft some improv to open up my set. Once I came up with the improv line, I rehearsed it a few times so that I could get the wording just right.

My name was called.

I went blank.

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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2 Responses to How I Prepared For My Performance At The Hard Rock Cafe

  1. Nice says:

    Quinn C Martin such an asshole!!! So angry in real life… calls women names and is so degrading! I WOULD NEVER pay my hard earned money to support this immature jerk!!!

    • Hey Nice,

      First and foremost, thanks for commenting.

      You’re right. He can be an asshole. He can be angry. He does call women names.

      But you’ve also just described A TON of comedians. Doug Stanhope, arguably one of the most popular comedians in the world, does everything you’ve just described and more on a regular basis.

      How has he been an asshole towards you?


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