I finally mustered up the courage to hit up an open mic last week, but the host was a total creep. How should I jump-start my comedy career while dealing with gross mic hosts?
Dear Mic Fright,
Creepy open mic hosts have been around since… maybe since comedy itself was born. I remember the first time I went to a mic in Boston, the creepy host capital of the world. Not only was I one of the only women in the room, but I was by far the youngest. That silly little power dynamic didn’t exactly get me excited to hop on stage and talk about how stupid boys are.
Open mic hosts have asked for my number, gotten way too drunk, and worst of all, introduced me as “the women’s perspective” time and time again. I don’t even feel like I have the women’s perspective.
One of the worst mic experiences of my life was actually a mic I was hosting when I was feeling fun and decided it was OK for the comics to roast me. Then, 4 male comics in a ROW made jokes about having sex with me, and I was like “How is that a roast?”
I don’t want to turn you off of mics. It’s a hilarious and bizarre way to actually make friends in your local comedy scene, and be a great chapter in your upcoming autobiography. But there are ways to ensure the experience isn’t too traumatizing.
One of the ways to find an open mic that works for you is just going on a deep search. Can you find a mic in your area with women or non-binary hosts, who may have more of an understanding of how scary mics can be? Often times cities will have Facebook groups where people post about open mics.
I know I’m lucky to be a NY native because there are specific women, LGBTQ+, and other themed mics that actually try to foster a lowkey chill environment to try out new jokes. And if you can’t find a mic like this, sometimes the best way out is through.
Grab some of your funniest friends, the friends you take to frat parties ‘as a bit,’ and speed run the mics in your area. Take a shot every time the host is fucking weird, require a debrief at Mcdonald’s where you rate different aspects of the mic (don’t forget floor stickiness). You are always free to scout a mic before deciding to perform, and bringing the homies will make this a fun outing, with the secret goal of finding Goldilock’s perfect host.
My final tip is, you can always start your own. I know that’s corny, and something your mom would say, but trust me, I’m way cooler and right than your mom. When I hosted my own mic, besides that one incident, I was able to foster whatever energy I wanted in the room. Talk about femdoming the room.
If a comic got up and made some not-so-savory jokes about women, I would feel free to make fun of them to the delight of the audience. Even if the open mic is just you at Chili’s with a few friends, it can grow into something bigger, and you’ll feel like an impact was made for comics in your area. Promote on Facebook, Instagram, and even dare I say, physical posters. I know, so 1999 of me. Be the host you want to see in the world.
My final tip is… have you tried GOLD?