Don’t Bail On Me Now...

I'm not sure if its the number of sets you've performed, the amount of years or the amount of minutes you've been on stage that makes a seasoned comedian but I do know there's lessons to be learned from every performance. You could always pull something be it positive or negative. However when it comes down to game time you'll find that some lessons you keep relearning over over again. There's those little lessons that you should know by now and probably already do but in the heat of the moment you make all the wrong moves and do all the things you've told yourself you wouldn't. My biggest reoccurring nightmare is the old rush and bail.

Sometimes you've got a bigger idea than you're used to and you've got to take that moment to truly get your point of view across. On that journey you've thrown a line out there but it doesn't hook the audience the way you thought it would and instead of a laugh you receive a confused silence. At that moment your head gets thick with heat while your back gets cold. Your first inner response is, "they hate it... they hate it... they hate me" and you bail and scramble for something you know works but you've already crushed your confidence and you say it with a spiraling doubt swirling around your brain. Your polished bit comes out laced with uncertainty. It tanks too.  "I... I... You guys watch Mad Men...?" Tepid responses and you've burned. It's over. Time to take it to your seat and sit in it.

Signs of a Dog Shit Room...

When you’re driving two, three, four or however many hours to a show out of town to a room you've never played before, there’s an impending fear hanging over your head the whole time.

You drive about 15 mph over the speed limit because you left the city late and traffic was a bitch, but your fear is not being late. The gas light is on and the next station is 37 miles away, but that’s not the reason for the sick feeling in your stomach. Suddenly, a raven flies overhead, and you think, ‘That’s pretty ominous. I may get into an accident and die today.’ Yet even death is not the reason for the feeling of dread and doom you sense. The main fear is, this show is going to be dog shit.

You always have a different idea of what the room may look or be like, but nothing fully prepares you for the little capacity people have for how a comedy show should properly be run. So when you first show up, here are some of the signs you can look for to know you’re in for a dog fight.

What's Popping!

Too damn cold for a long fancy intro this week, except to say that the Chicago comedy scene is warm, toasty and down to cuddle... So get out and support if you can. Check out "what's popping" this week.

Punchline Panic
at  Zanies - 1548 North Wells St.
Brand new material. Brand new line up!
Jonah Jurkins
Michael Larimer
Adam Burke
Tom Brady
Conor Delehanty
Mikey Manker
Joe Fernandez
Reena Calm
Hosted by Sam Norton and Jeff Arcuri
Free for comics!
Tonight 8:30PM!

100 Proof Comedy
at The Comedy Sportz Theatre - 929 W Belmont Ave, Chicago IL.
Weekly Monday showcase!
Tonight - 8PM!

Interview with Michael Sanchez (CYSK)

The Comedians You Should Know Crew
A producer of Comedians You Should Know and former comedian, Michael Sanchez studied improv at the UCB Theatre in New York City, and began stand up in Chicago in 2006. He has performed all over the country, including Bumbershoot in Seattle, as well as The Seaport Music Festival in New York City. He even once had the pleasure of opening for Tracy Morgan. On the last Thursday of each month at the Logan Theater, Michael co-hosts and produces the I Sh*T You Not! show and it’s weekly “Poodcast” featuring real-life tales of failed restraint and bodily blunders. Michael is also a film maker, and his videos can be seen on the CYSK website, CYSK’s Youtube, as well as his own Vimeo and YouTube.

In this interview, Michael talks comedy, sharing advice on how to get booked for CYSK, and what it takes to run a successful room. CYSK is celebrating their 7 year anniversary show tonight at 8:00 & 10:30. Enjoy!

Interview with Joey Villagomez

Joey Villagomez is a staple of the Chicago comedy scene. He featured on the HBO Latino special, "Habla and Habla Mas en Chicago," and he has a monthly show at The Laugh Factory, called "Laugh Factoria" which has become one of the most popular Latino showcases in Chicago. He also performed alongside Manny Maldonado, Joey Medina, Alex Reymundo, and Paul Rodriguez in the Latin Kings of Comedy at the Horseshoe casino.

Right before headlining the Mikey O Comedy Show at Joe’s Bar, Joey took the time to share his story along with advice and wisdom on that it takes to be a good stand up. You can see Joey at the Laugh Factory February 21 and again on February 26. He will also be headlining the Lincoln Lodge on March 6. Enjoy!

The Joyful/Dreadful Weekend

What a wonderful sight it is to see your hometown heroes polish their bits before an eager audience. Such was the case for me each and every Wednesday night in 2009. Kier Spates and Leroy Williams among others would take the stage at Tyme Square, a legendary mic in Texas that ran 11 years, and crush time and time again.

It was a treat to see the pro comics on Wednesdays at Tyme Square. Ditto for Mondays at Sherlock’s. But where were these guys on the weekends? Yet a better question. Where was I on the weekends? If I wasn't at a karaoke bar, most likely I was working on jokes that could hold their own with those of the pros.


I soon realized that the pros were working. Some of them doing road gigs, some on a cruise, some in town playing a college or church.

“So that’s how a comedian’s week should look,” I thought.

You spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays at the open mics and Friday, Saturday and Sundays at
the comedy clubs. Thursday is the confused middle child of the bunch. It’s a toss up that can serve as either a practice or a work night or both.

10,000 Hours

Jason Melton
(Note: for the original unedited version by Jason Melton - please click here)

In the Comedy of Chicago article, “5 Things They Don't Tell You About Starting Stand Up”, Daniel Sharp re-states something that I've heard a bunch of times. That of course is something, something, something 10,000 hours!

From Pete Holmes to a guy in a blog, everyone says you need 10,000 hours. But, what happens once you achieve the 10,000 hours? You’ll be good at stand up? You’ll be famous? Are the hours in terms of stage time? Does writing and watching stand up count? Do you get time and a half if you perform on Labor Day?

Here’s the thing: I read the book about 10,000 hours. It’s Malcolm Gladwell’s - Outliers. Gladwell spends most the book defending his theory that if you practice for 10,000 hours at any skill, and you will become successful at that skill. I read all his evidence, and honestly, I still have no idea where that number comes from. You’re not much better at 10,000 hours than when you were at 9,969 hours, and that second number has a 69 in it. The number 10,000 is obviously just an arbitrary number.

What's Popping

It's Another Big week of Chicago comedy so lets get right to it. Check out what's popping in the scene this week.

Snack Attack Presents Nate Simmons and Swedish Fish
at The Elbo Room - 2871 N Lincoln Ave
It's the comedy show that gives out free snacks! (yes really)
This weeks snack - SWEDISH FISH
Lineup:
Jamie Carbone
David Rader
Prateek Srivastava
Dale McPeek
Amy Shanker
Nathan Simmons!
Today at 8:00PM

Female Funnies @ Zanies
1548 North Wells St. - 312-337-4027
All female lineup hosted by Patti Vasquez
TONIGHT 8:30PM!

100 Proof Comedy
at The Comedy Sportz Theatre - 929 W Belmont Ave, Chicago IL.
Weekly Monday showcase!
Tonight - 8PM!