It is competition season for my comedy scene, which always flares up everyone's competitive nature. Here's the thing: The idea that Stand Up Comedy is somehow a competitive thing, is absolutely bullshit. You aren't competing against your fellow comics. You are only competing against yourself. You are competing against your last set, your own work ethic, and your own fears. Be resilient.
I also go on a rant about comedy competitions, and tell the hard truth about them. As a producer of a competition, I understand their true nature and purpose. Other producers are going to hate my honesty. But, someone needs to be honest with you about it. It's not about competing against each other, it's about competing against yourself. Plus, there's an easy way to hack almost any competition.
Want some advice from your Comedy Mom? E-mail us at email@example.com! Also, follow us on Instagram at @comedymompodcast! Send us a DM!
Athletes will do a different sport or exercise to help their main sport. This is cross training. Dancers will strength train. Football players will do yoga and swimming. Cyclists will cross country ski. This cross training theory can help you as a stand up comedian, too! There are definitely activities you can do that will help you grow your skills as a stand up. Here is my list:
Dancing (Maybe just me)
There is some other random advice in here, too! I also included a little bonus clip of my husband stumbling in on my mic check.
Do you have a question for your Comedy Mom? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can also find us on instagram at @comedymompodcast! Your question might end up the next episode!
This Episode is a little adversarial. It might hurt some feelings.
Being A Big Fish In A Small Pond Doesn't Mean Sh*t.
There. I said it. It's so easy in a small scene to feel like a big deal. Comics with big heads and big egos make big mistakes. Bookers don't need you. You are replaceable.
So, don't lose your hustle. Still go to open mics. Still write. Still work on getting better. Being a big fish in a small pond won't really open doors for you in the next big scene. But your work ethic will.
"Pouring salt in my sugar won't make yours any sweeter
Pissing in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener"
Kacey Musgraves, Biscuits
It's easy to get distracted in comedy. This episode is all about my mantra, "Stay On Target." Put your blinders on and focus on what you have control over. Don't get stuck in a mindset of scarcity. Laughter is not a limited resource. There's enough for everyone. I promise!
It's that time of year! If you have "Try Stand Up Comedy" on your list of resolutions like I did in 2015 this episode is for you. Your first open mic is like an amusement park ride. Go into it ready to see what it feels like to tell jokes in front of an audience. Keep your expectations reasonable and remember not to confuse edgy with funny!
Also, listen to Episode 1: How To Get Started In Stand Up. This Episode gets into the nitty gritty of what your very first open mic will (hopefully) be like!
Got a question for your Comedy Mom? E-mail me at email@example.com! Or find me on instagram under @comedymompodcast! I'd love to answer your question!
I honestly thought about calling this episode "Why All Bookers Are Assholes."
Don't even stress about whether you are getting booked if you are less than two years in. Some Bookers have rules about "time served." It won't matter how well you land with an audience at an open mic. Your stats could be amazing and they still won't book you until you have a couple years under your belt. Especially in bigger cities.
I refer you to previous episodes:
E2 - Basic Rules of Stand Up Comedy
E3 - What the F To Wear
E4 - What Makes A Good Set
E6 - What I Look For As A Booker.
If you listen to these four episodes and are confident you are hitting all of these marks then it's time to talk to the Booker. Any Booker should be happy to honestly communicate with you about what you can do better. Take this feedback openly and without being defensive. This feedback is important.
I recorded this episode on December 4th. The time of year I sit down and start thinking about my goals for the upcoming year. This episode is all about how to set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. In the end, as comics, the trajectory of our career is dependent on the decisions of others. Avoid making goals that depend on someone else's permission or approval. Focus what you can control. They will help you grow as an artist!
If you have a question for Comedy Mom you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just slide into our DM's at @comedymompodcast on Instagram!
I sat down with my MoM after Thanksgiving to talk about her perspective on the whole thing. The parents of comics have an interesting vantage point on our material. Plus, if you pay enough attention, you can learn what the "Boomers" are looking for comedy and why clean comedy can help you with that generation.
This interview was recorded in their home, on my phone. You may hear my step-father and husband chatting in the background. Maybe some noises from my kiddo, too. It's an honest, kitchen table, conversation between mother and daughter. Enjoy!
Jessica is a staple in the Bend comedy scene! We talk about her first open mic, advice for new comics and dating life! We were going to record this live, but the weather took a sh*t on Central Oregon. So, we are both cozy in our own homes!
You can find Jessica on Instagram at @therealjesstaylor!
Got a question for your comedy mom? E-mail us at email@example.com!
It's easy to start dismissing open mics when you start getting "paid gigs." Some people see open mics as only auditions for bookers. I am making a passionate case for why this is not true. All stage time is good stage time. Get all the stage time you can! Besides, you need to go see your Comedy Mom at least once a week. She misses you.
We are talking all about self deprecating humor. What it is, how it helps, and how to keep it from going too far. Using examples from her own material, Katy Ipock helps demystify writing jokes about yourself. Plus, Comedy Mom gets a little passionate at the end talking about the true purpose in the world as stand up comedians.
Got a question for your comedy mom? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Send us a message on instagram at @comedymompodcast.
When sports teams want to get better the coach sits them down and makes them watch game footage. Watching yourself play is the best way to see what your doing and where you can improve. Comedy is exactly the same way. The best way to see where you can get better as a performer is to watch (or listen) to your sets. Truly and honestly analyzing your sets will help you grow your talent and skills. Seriously. Record every set.
This episode could also be titled "How To Stay On A Booker's Good Side." Acting professionally isn't dependent on your talent and/or skill level. Whether you are an open micer or on the road, you can follow this guidelines and behave like a true professional. You are probably an open micer if you are listening to this, so definitely get into these habits now. "Practice How You Play" is great advice for sports teams, but also great advice for comedy.
Joke Theft is the only hard, fast rule in Stand Up Comedy. There are no "covers" in stand up. This episode is all about joke theft, parallel thinking and hack jokes. We talk about why it's important, how to avoid it, and how to handle being called out on it.
We delve into what it's like to be married to a comic. Kris Ipock is Katy's amazing husband and co-owner of their production company, Ipockolyptic Productions. They talk about what it's like to be married to a comic, and Kris's role in helping to book shows. (Hint: Katy is not the only booker you have to impress in Central Oregon.)
It doesn't take long for any "open micer" to ask, How do I get booked for a paid show? This episode is all about what I look for when booking someone and how to get yourself on a show. Keep in mind, it can take YEARS before you get your first paid gig. Comedy is a long game, and there is no reason to be in a hurry. You are an artist, so focus on your art. The $20 gigs will come when they come. This episode will help you understand the initial goal of going from open mics to paid gigs. But, again, there is literally no hurry.
Everyone wants to know how to write a joke. After every show there is usually one person who asks where I get my material. This episode isn't about the actual technique of writing, but how to generate material to write about. This is great comedy mom advice for those just starting out and for any comic who has come up against writer's block.
Comedy is an art form. It's hard to tell, in a concrete way, how well a set lands. Over my 5 years of performing I have found a way to analyze my sets that gives me actual numbers to look at. Not everyone will want to do it this way, but it helps me make my sets stronger. These are also the factors I am thinking about when I'm considering booking someone for a show.
Laugh Ratio: The percentage of time the audience spends laughing versus your total time on stage. The goal at this level should be 15%. ( I got this from The Comedian, a documentary about Jerry Seinfeld.)
Hit Rate: How many punchlines you throw out versus how many of them land. The goal is 100%
Hit Strength: The average strength of all our punchlines. Your average should be around 3. (If you are assigning strength on the same scale I do. Obviously, whatever scale you want to use is up to you.)
I get asked often what a new comic should wear on stage. This is a nebulous, difficult thing to explain. I give my best motherly advice on the subject. Also, I am not only a comedy mom and I am an actual mom. Today is laundry day. You'll probably hear my washer.
Today, Mom gets preachy! I'm going over the basic rules of open mic comedy, and touch on the semi-pro side as well. We all know rules suck. If you are performing stand up comedy, you are likely a rebel. I get it. This episode will help you get a leg up and keep you out of trouble. At least with me.
As always: Take your vitamins, take care of yourself, and don't be a dick on stage.
Episode 1! We are tackling the question everyone asks. How do you get started in stand up? This is how your first open mic (should) go. Learn everything you need to know before hitting the stage for the first time!
If you are looking for an open mic in Bend, Oregon just go to www.ipockpro.com! The open mics I run are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Craft Kitchen & Brewery.
Want advice from your Comedy Mom? Just e-mail email@example.com!