Time Out New York magazine came out with this list of all “the best open mic nights in New York City,” and, as many open mic comedians such as myself have noted, the list is not accurate. At all. Maybe it’s a marketing thing, but it’s mostly just a list of the biggest clubs in the city. Which, very obviously to comedians, are often some of the worst open mics in the city. The very first one listed, the Comedy Cellar, doesn’t even have open mics!
If you’re looking for good open mics check out badslava.com or freemicsnyc.com. There are tons of great open mics where a bunch of better comics come to try out their stuff…and it’s usually the basement of some bar in Brooklyn, not all the best clubs in Manhattan. Maybe I’ll make a list of my favorite mics one day!
A couple of comics who host great mics made this video calling out Time Out NY for what they’ve done. Funny stuff.
Eli Sairs is a great comedian in NYC and I see him at The Creek and the Cave all the time. He wrote this funny piece for the TheInterrobang about how you can get people to compliment you after you have a monster set. I like it.
As he says, “New York comic Eli Sairs runs a free comedy show called Wildcats with Joel Walkowski and Jeff Wesselschmidt every second Friday of the month at 8 pm at The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens). The Wildcats are a street gang that surprises audiences by invading a respectable event or charity and using it as a playground for their offensive comedy anarchy, like a punk rock 3 Stooges.”
“It was really unclear at first what was even happening. Because, you know, it is an open mic and it’s a performance,” the shop’s co-owner Rhonda Ealy told local television station KTVZ. “People at first thought it was some sort of theatre.”
This is a humor piece written by NYC Comedian Lucas Gardner and published in the New York Times. It’s a funny thing I like that pokes fun at the hoops you have to jump through to get stage time as an open mic comic in New York. Garner has written a lot of funny stuff. If you like this, check out his personal site.
My buddy Patrick posted this list on his blog a few weeks back and I’m remembering it again. It’s a fantastic list of things to remember when you’re running your own mic, and I think it’s especially applicable to New York City.
Patrick runs one of the best mics in the city at The Creek and the Cave in Long Island City on Thursday nights. Check out his blog! He’s a really funny dude.
I was at a crowded open mic on a Friday night – the last one of the night that everyone who doesn’t have a show goes to. A friend I had made a few days earlier (say, Jess) made her way up to the stage and started her three-minutes set. It was early in the night and so the majority of the comics were in the room paying close attention. She told a couple of new jokes that didn’t go over so well, so she asked the audience of comics “why isn’t this funny?” It was a genuine question, although it was definitely rhetorical. She was just wondering aloud.
“You’re not being silly!” Someone shouted from the back of the room. Everyone looked back. It was another comic known to be brash at open mics, let’s call him Ryan.
It was my last night in New York City. I had spent the whole summer going to stand up comedy open mics. I was leaving the next day for my hometown in the Chicago suburbs before heading all the way back for my last year of school in California just a few days after that. It was late at night, probably 1:00 in the morning and no one was out. I had just finished my final mic which started at 10:00 PM Saturday night at the Irish American Bar & Pub. My set was okay: I had a couple good jokes, but I went up late and everyone was tired. Typical. I always went up in the last group at that bar. At least, that’s the way it seemed. My friends and I had been sitting around the bar for three hours until all the comics had gone up and performed their sets. And we had gone to two other mics earlier that evening. As it turns out, that mic ended up leaving the Irish American to be hosted at another bar. And so it was not only my last mic in New York for the summer, but the last mic at the Irish American for anyone.