Random Thoughts

First Rung: Open Mic Gigs…

So I have talked about it, thought about it, read a few books on it, but unless I actually do something about it, nothing is going to happen.

I need to book some open-mic gigs. These are free 5 mins slots where anyone can get up and have a go. It’s the first rung of the ladder. After a few of these the next aim is to get a 10 min slot. Still unpaid, which may seem a little unfair, but I have to cut my teeth somewhere.

I recall when I first moved to London 10 years ago, I worked for a design company in central London for free for 4 – 5 months. During this time I became friends with people in the business and was offered a stepping stone into the architectural world, which then opened the door to paid work, yahoo!

So I’m ok with the non-paid work as it will show whether I really want this or not.

Sadly I have no idea where to start. London has hundreds of these ‘Open Mic’ spots every night of the week. Also, I had read that some comics do 2 or even 3 gigs a night? Should I be doing this? Should I be doing gigs every night or just once a week? Should I stick to West London, or the whole of London? Shit, I have just read that most comics are happy to travel to all corners of the UK just to do their 5 mins! I am going to do that, is that real dedication or just time wasting madness?

While getting happily overwhelmed, I came across a book on my shelf, which had been there for about 3 years: Teach Yourself : ‘Be A Great Stand-Up’ by Logan Murray.

I must have bought this book with good intention and, like so many other books, it quietly found its way onto a random shelf never to be read or opened again. As I flicked through the book I realised that it was full of all the answers I had been stressing over. Armed with my faithful yellow pen I dived in and highlighted the living daylights out of that book.

The book mentioned that there were courses run by the author to help eager, overwhelmed monkey boys like me, so my next stop was to get myself onto one of his courses. Then I would know which direction to go in, I could meet similar comic wannabes, as well as finding out where I should start searching for my ‘Open Mic’ spots.


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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