Los Angeles and the pursuit of improvement

The LA stand-up comedy scene is two things: big fancy shows with celebrities and lowly open mics with sadness. I’m lucky enough to get booked on big fancy shows from time to time but I always make sure I keep my comedy muscles exercised at open mics. No pain, no gain and all that. And let me tell you, open mics are pretty painful.

The above fact is why I’m compelled to share with you that last night I had the best open mic experience I’ve ever had. All thanks to a bunch of dedicated up-and-comers who wouldn’t take “this open mic isn’t on” for an answer.

At 11:30pm I stepped out of my Uber and walked up to The Next Stage Theatre; it’s a small space on the second floor of a strip mall. The room runner wasn’t there and the show should have started. The three other comics who gingerly arrived were as disappointed as I was. Our training gym was closed and we just wanted to pump some comedy iron.

“Let’s just do it outside” I said. One comic had sat on a pee-flooded bus to be there, so was more than happy to make the most of it. The others agreed.

What proceeded was four comics standing on a balcony at a strip mall performing their sets to each other with an non-comedian audience of one cockroach. We listened, reacted, gave each other notes and ultimately bonded in our commitment to our craft. The intimacy and consideration we gave each other far surpassed the cold and despondent nature of many open mics in town. I learned more in that setting than from dosens of gigs this trip, all thanks to the determination of the other comedians to constantly improve.

So a message to my comedy comrades in LA: the mics are what you make them. Thanks to Michelle, Jordan and Saurabh for making ours so good.

La Open Mic

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