When it comes to the comedy open mic scene, most new comedians take a “monkey see, monkey do” approach.
In other words…
They don’t really know what they are doing when it comes to developing and delivering a high level stand-up comedy act, so they tend to do what they see other new comedians do.
Here are some major mistakes that new comedians make at comedy open mics that can hold them back:
1. Using notes on stage.
Most new comedians don’t really know how to properly prepare and rehearse to deliver a high quality stand-up comedy act.
So they use notes on stage like they see other comedians do. The problem with that is…
Audiences aren’t stupid. The second that comedian uses notes on stage, they know immediately that the comedian is a rookie.
Not only that, but a comedian who uses notes also immediately losses some vital laughter generation aspects, such as proper comedy timing, audience engagement and the ability to “get on a roll” with their stand-up comedy material.
2. Approaching an open mic audience as insignificant and delivering a substandard routine when there are few audience members.
Stage time for comedians, especially new comedians tends to be scarce.
Yet most new comedians tend to squander the stage time they do get not realizing that one of the keys to rapid progress is to be able to squeeze the most out of every single performance and be able to make measurable improvements on a performance by performance basis.
3. Performing comedy material that does not work and expecting it to simply get funnier over time.
If you go to any comedy open mic anywhere in the world, you will find comedians who have been doing the stand-up comedy material that doesn’t get laughs — in some cases for years.
They tend to be unaware that their stand-up comedy material doesn’t get laughs.
They don’t know how to develop stand-up comedy material that is customized for their comedy talent.
They don’t know how to engage in performance evaluation/improvement activities to tighten, edit or discard comedy material that doesn’t work.
Here’s what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt:
A new comedian won’t ever get past the open mic stage if they follow the herd and make the same mistakes most new comedians make.
What every comedian has ultimate control over is the stand-up comedy act they develop, how they prepare that act for the stage and the performance improvement activities they engage in.
And if a comedian can’t develop and deliver a stand-up comedy routine like a pro, they certainly aren’t going to get results like a pro.