Most people think performing stand up comedy is easy. They have likely seen one or many professional comedians perform, and they make it look very easy, What most people don't realize is these performances have been written and worked over months or even years to be crafted into a perfected performance that appears as if its the first time they've ever told the joke or story.
When you decide to take the plunge and sign up for a comedy open mic night, typically most get nervous in a addition they have friends and or family out to support you. Here are some tips on how to make it go as smoothly as possible and to avoid making a complete ass out of yourself.
1) Due to nerves most people tend to drink alcohol or smoke weed to calm their nerves. This can help calm the nerves, but just use restraint and limit consumption of these things as it will in fact negatively impact your performance. Again, this can be tough as Open Mic nights tend to be happening fun environments especially with friends and family in the crowd.
2) Sign up and be sure to find out from the open mic host where you are in the line up as well as how many people have signed up. A well run room will limit the open mic performers to no more than 10-12 depending on how much time each is given.
3) In addition to the line up details, its is also crucial to find out in as much advance as possible, how much time you will be getting. Again, a well run open mic will be giving performers 3, 5, or 7 minute sets.
4) Have a rehearsed set of 3, 5, or 7 minute sets. 3 minutes can seem like a lifetime on stage especially if it isn't going well up there. There is no shame in knowing where your sweet spot is and most well rehearsed set time and letting the host know so that they can fit you into the line up appropriately. Simply going up and 'winging it' can make an open mic go very badly.
5) BE MINDFUL OF THE LIGHT! When the host lights you, be sure to nod, point or give some form of acknowledgement that you saw the light and you are going to wrap up your set. It is frowned upon if you can't simply follow the rules of the host as the show is timed out and if you run the light it can throw everything off for the host.
Last and most importantly......Have FUN, it is Comedy after all!!