When I started doing stand-up seriously and consistently 12 years ago, I had people coming to my shows I hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t even have MySpace or Facebook and I had college buddies and former drinking associates show up to open mics I said I had done before without even checking with me. My first paid show was a bringer show – I did a twenty minute set at a bowling alley and brought 37 people at $7 a ticket. I was paid $40, but that’s for another blog.
The irony is that I wouldn’t show my videos of me doing comedy in that first year to anyone today as I fear I would be brought up on crimes against humanity. I went back in 2011 and watched the videos I had uploaded to MySpace and deleted my entire account. I can’t get people out now unless I’m performing in their living room and even then it’s 50/50. HOT TIP: I love when people come to my shows, but don’t ever ask me when my next show is and then say “Hey, text me before your next show after that!” I have a website, we are Facebook friends and I just told you when my next show was. Want me to buy you a parrot that repeats my show lineup? Set up reminders in my phone so you can not come to any other shows?
I honestly think that’s why most comics quit after a short time. I had a pal who would only do stand-up when his friends or co-workers could come out, probably for the home team boost. When no one came, he wouldn’t perform. It’s waaaayyy harder to make strangers laugh.
Of course, when you have family come out, it affects your set. I’ve seen comics get nauseous realizing their mom is coming and their little filthy mouths can’t spit out their normal jokes. You also get this – try new jokes and people ask, “Why didn’t you do your “normal” stuff?” Or the converse, “Oh, you did the same stuff as last time.” DANCE FOR ME CLOWN! DANCE!
Again, I’m happy to see all comers, friend or foe, but it is nice to have your friends attend shows. After all, most of them saw me in 2007, I owe them big time. Probably 2008, most of 2009 and parts of 2010-13 also.
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