go to an open mic?
“The key is to just get out there.” I have been told this hundreds of times and, when I first heard it, I thought it couldn’t possibly be that simple. I need to prepare for weeks, draft jokes, adjust my timing and sacrifice a goat in my room before I can even think about going on stage. But preparation can only get you so far and eventually you have to jump into the deep end and keep swimming. Like most things, practice makes perfect when it comes to stand-up. And in this case, practice involves a microphone and a room full of strangers. So, I’d like to offer a few of my own tips to some people who are hesitant about really committing to stand-up comedy in Chicago.
Get involved. I’m sure you were sick of hearing this in high school/college from your parents in
Go to different open mics. The beauty of doing stand-up in Chicago is that there is never a shortage of open mics all over the city. Trust me, I understand the temptation to find one mic you like and become a regular. For the first year of doing stand up, I almost exclusively did stand-up one night of the week because “I like the open mics that day” (a statement made with no research to back it up). But if something came up that one day, I could go an entire month without subjecting a room of strangers to my thoughtless ramblings. The reality of stand-up comedy is that “getting out there” is more than a once a week commitment. And, just like one’s sex life, it is always good to spice things up a bit.
And I do realize the cliché of putting this on the end of a list for anything but I can’t help it... HAVE FUN! Most non-comedians I know tell me that they view stand-up comedy as a mortifying experience that combines the horrendous notion of public speaking and terrifying prospect of strangers not laughing at their jokes. Granted they’re usually not that funny but, ironically, that makes me laugh. Not because those things aren’t horrifying. But because I’ve already gotten out there, and no one has laughed, and I’m still alive. And because the way I see it, I get to hang out in a bar on weeknights, shoot the shit with a group of tremendously interesting people and be funny…or at least try to. So instead of sitting on our collective asses, let’s get up and go be funny. We can be lazy when we’re dead.
Conor is originally from the North Shore of Chicago but started stand up in San Diego three years ago. Now back in Chicago he performs stand-up when ever he can. You can catch him every week at rooms like, the Open Mic @ Weeds Tavern, Flock Yourself at Birds Nest, Blarney Stone, AJ Hudson's and Revolver every Sunday.