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Little Reid, Big City #15

Reiders,

I feel a bond between us, strengthening with every blog. I can feel you, I can hear you, I can see you. I can imagine you, tears gently streaming down your cheeks, your eyes –bloodshot, filled with emotion- gazing over every word I write, and in your heart, finding a fullness you thought only achievable through a life in Christ. In many ways, you are baptized by these blogs, though instead of Jesus –Reid. Instead of water –dick jokes.

That joke I wrote about last time (Dog Dick/Baby Bottom) really pulled me out of the joke slump I was in. I’ve been trying a lot of new things at mics, perhaps even things I’m not entirely interested in, but just to challenge myself. In a recent joke, I try to find how many times I can get away with saying “apple”, and so it turns out: about 85 times. It’s a great exercise in repetition, requires a lot of confidence, but lately I’ve been pulling it off to very agreeable results. Last Monday, I attempted to do a five minute set only using one-liners. I’m not a one-liner comic by any stretch, most of my bits end up at around the two to three minute mark, but I like a lot of jokes I’ve written for twitter and thought, “Hell, why not?” It’s very different doing such quick jokes, and I wasn’t quite adapted to that kind of humor, but out of the fifteen jokes I tried I found some definite possibilities in a few of them. Now I’m beginning to think that perhaps there is a place for shorter jokes in my humor, as long as they match with the style I’m developing. I’ve also been attempting more personal material, even talking about quasi-political opinions a little, and while it’s not something I feel a huge calling to pursue, it’s helping me grow and expand my range as a performer. No matter what you do as a comic, the audience can only handle so much of the same thing, so I figure it’s good to stretch out as such.

Also: I’m going to be hosting an open mic starting next week! At the beginning of the year, I wrote down a list of goals, and among those I included hosting an open mic, and running at least a monthly booked show (working on venues! Soon!). It’s led me to seriously consider what I look for in open mics, the atmosphere I want to develop. I took a train to a show I was doing recently with (damn good) comedian Mike Lawrence, and we spent a lot of time talking about the open mic scene, where it’s flawed and where it shines. He said something that stuck out to me: “Every open mic is living. They’re living things –and you know that because they all can die.” He talked about treating each mic not as just an opportunity to work through your jokes, but to make the experience something one-of-a-kind, to make it special and fun. Last week I did a mic at the Eastville comedy club (where I’ll be hosting mine) where the beginning was amazingly rowdy; everyone was shouting at the host, laughing, getting into fights between comics, and generally going insane. There was a palpable energy, and everyone did better because of it. I just this week did another mic there, where despite being more filled, the atmosphere was essentially static. Everyone sat still and emotionless, not so patiently waiting for their time to perform. You could tell that the other mic was living, because this one was certainly dead. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what leads to either outcome, but it’s definitely about the feel you build, how the host starts off the show, the people involved, the looseness of it all. It’s a lot of intangibles, but so many people do it well, so I know that creating a “living mic” is not only possible, but consistently possible. We’ll see how I do with it next week!

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