Random Thoughts

An Eye-Opening Post by Bobby Carroll

I’ve been reading other people’s comedy blogs and I came across Chortle. It’s a great reference point for comedy news, reviews, gigs and comedians.

Chortle image

There’s buckets of blogs on there and one I really really liked was posted by Bobby Carroll on the 6th Sept 2012.

It’s all about the insanity of the ‘Open Mic Circuit’ and what we should do to get it back under control. After going to a variety of open mic gigs myself I was quite frustrated with being asked to bring a friend or pay money at the end into a bucket, even though I was one of the performers! Other nights I’ve been told to pay money up front, to gig! Christ imagine going to work and handing over your dinner money each day just to do your job!

Bobby raises some really interesting points in his post, including:

I’ll let you into a little secret about those protected former new acts. By making it they just didn’t buy or barter their stage time at bringers. They hustled for good gigs too. Turning up on spec to better nights in the hope they could be squeezed on or another open spot might drop out. Travelling out of town to perform to real audiences while watching and meeting pro acts who eventually recommend them into better venues. Setting up their own nights with genuine USPs to attract audience or paying for closers whose names sell tickets. They created their tunnel from open mic to represented new act. So an abundance of new acts are not the real problem, if the cream still rises. And rises proactively.

And one rule Bobby would like to inject into the open mic circuit:

New acts are not allowed to set a foot onstage nor utter a word into a microphone until they have watched 100 live gigs. Any potential new act requests a card from their nearest comedy venue. A card which is like the Nando’s loyalty card but without the free chicken and a fair size bigger. Every gig they attend as a paying audience member the promoter (who will not book any acts without a 100 stamps) stamps and dates. Once they have a 100 official stamps they get to perform.

With these thoughts ringing in my ears I couldn’t agree more. I need to explore different angles into the world of comedy, set up my own night, watch more paid live comedy, get onto more comedy nights involving better comics and start building my ‘100 Official Stamps Booklet’.

Obviously it would be great to put everything on hold and spend the next year watching live comedy, filling out my ‘100 Comedy’s Stamp Booklet’ like a obsessed Wilderness Explorer before I did anything else, but I feel I also need to continue on my route, especially as I have accepted a slot at the Camden Fringe 2014, and possibly the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 too!

Russell the young Wilderness Explorer - UP (film)

Russell the young Wilderness Explorer — UP

I wonder where I should go first?

Read more of Bobby’s post at: 100 ways to save the open-mic circuit — Chortle

Dan Tambling is a stand-up comedian, sketch comedy writer, actor and producer of ‘12 sketches in a London house’. This is his blog.


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