Why I Don’t Hang Out at Comedy Clubs (on my night off)

With comedians Jamille Hardy and Jason West.

Before I decided to get on-stage for the first time, I used to go to a comedy club once a month. I saw great comics like Brad Garrett, Robert Schimmel and Dennis Wolfberg wreck a room. I still love standup and really enjoy seeing someone who is great at it, but I probably only go to a comedy show a couple times a year, when I’m off myself.  Here are my reasons, in no particular order, well except for the first one.

  1. I am away from my home pretty much every week, so when I’m home, I try to be home. I don’t have the excuse that most guys have of needing to get away, so I don’t play golf, I don’t play poker, and I don’t hang out in my garage.  I have been with my wife from the beginning of my career and I don’t know a single comic that can say they’ve put in over 2 decades with the same person. I will discuss our relationship in a further episode here, but it’s safe to say that by not leaving the house when I’m not working has been a reason why we’ve managed to stay together.
  2. As I said, I still love standup, but I get enough of it on the road.  Generally, the only time I go out to see another comic is when a great friend of mine comes into town and I swing over to see him.  There are a few comics I would pay to go see myself, despite this, but I’m generally out of town when they might hit my home city.
  3. I try to watch only a little bit of standup, as I don’t want to be influenced by other comics. If you spend too much time watching standup, the odds are great you are going to become more derivative.
  4. While I do think it has hurt me a little by not being more closely connected to the local comics and local club staff, I do think you can be around too much, as well.  The more you hang-out at the club, the more there is a chance you are going to have a fall-out with someone and then you are in a worse position than if you just come by to the local open mic, once a month. Not sure what the exact happy medium is, as it is a tough one to find.
  5. This final one comes from a guest contributor…My Ego.  EGO: After I see a show, I will go out and hang-out with the comics in the lobby. As people walk by telling the comics how funny they were or that they had a good time, I stand there feeling empty inside.  I’m used to my adulation after the show and it feels strange not to get that positive feedback.  I’m not going to kid you, it is possibly the most addictive thing in being a comedian. I want my cookie!

So those are the reason off the top of my head why I don’t hang out at comedy clubs.  Now, if you are in the beginning stages, by all means you should try to get on-stage as much as possible. You should try to connect with your local scene.  Since I get enough stage time to work new stuff out, I don’t have that need.  What I feel I need most is to get away from my job.  My life is pretty crazy, so I try to embrace the home life when I get it.

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