For New Comedians

Background

Performer Power! (Tessa & Julia Clement) produce “open mic” comedy shows under the One Mic Stand-up brand. We welcome performers of all levels to participate in our shows.

This document is to explain to people who have never performed comedy of our expectations of them and how we will attempt to assist them.

Our way of running open mic shows is very similar to other shows in Auckland and the Waikato so much of the advice given here will be directly transferable but there can be differences so it’s best to ask the organisers of other shows of their expectations.

Comedy is best defined as a person deliberately making an audience they are addressing laugh. We’re not going to tell you what you should do to make people laugh or how to do it.

Glossary

Like many fields of endeavour, comedy gives specific & sometimes unusual, meanings to common English words. Here’s some we use

Word or PhraseDefinition
MC(Also known as “Host”) Serves as the public face of the event. They introduce the show, warm up the crowd & introduce the acts. They “own” the stage during the show.
MaterialPre-written jokes or a series of jokes
Line-upThe cast of the showAnother name for Running Order
Running OrderA list of the performers in the show in the order they are planned to perform. The MC is at liberty to rearrange this e.g. for a late arriving performer
CallA request by the MC for a performer to take to the stage and perform. Usually in the form of an introduction of the performer including giving their name.
SetBefore performing, the material a performer intends to deliver. After performing, the material and improvisations actually delivered. The time allocated for the performer to be on the stage. Short for “Set length”
The LightA visual warning to a performer that their allotted time is drawing to an end or has ended. We use a hand held light waved to indicate that time is running out and held steady to indicate that it has ended. Other producers have different variations on this.
Unless requested otherwise by the performer, we give a waved light with 30 seconds to go.
Receiving the waved light is often referred to as being “flashed” as permanently set up comedy venues may have a dedicated light that can be flashed. 
ProducersThe people who arrange the show. Their role includes: Finding venues,Selecting casts, Setting up the room, Lighting, Sound equipment, Seating & Tables, Appointing the MC,  Setting the running order of the cast and giving this to the MC. Basically everything other than the stage during the show.
Duty ProducerSomeone appointed by the producers to be on-site handling any administration before, during and after the show. For us it’s usually either Tessa or Julia, if it’s someone else we will advise through the messenger group for the show. 

Our Expectations of You

Before the date of the show

You must have a comedy routine (your “set”) 

You must have written your set and its jokes yourself.

You must have learned your jokes so you can deliver them from memory. It is acceptable to have a written list of names of jokes in the order you intend delivering them.

Your set must be between 3 and 6 minutes long. We would prefer a set towards the longer end of this range, but it’s entirely up to you. Just let us know how long you need. Once you’ve performed a few times, times longer than 6 minutes are available.

If at all possible you should book in with us before the show, this will guarantee a place for you. If you are booked in:

  • We will try to add you to a Facebook messenger group for the show you’re in. This group is for any last minute organisational issues such as:
    • Draft running order 
    • Unexpected venue issues
    • Navigational help (Sometimes venues are hard to spot)
    • People who are running late can warn us. As we usually don’t carry our phones during the show, it’s better to message this group than send messages directly to us so other performers can alert us to the issue.
  • We will ask you to share the event to your facebook timeline (not compulsory)

We will accept sign-ups on the night only if there is spare time in our schedule.

On the night

Be polite to everyone. Production team, MC, other performers, audience members, venue staff. 

Arrive early, preferably around 30 minutes before the show.

Introduce yourself to the duty producer, usually Julia or Tessa. The duty producer will give you a quick briefing and introduce you to the MC.

You will have your position in the running order confirmed. NB: When you are given a position in the line-up we don’t count the MC, so 2nd means MC, another person, you.

Wait until you are called to the microphone by the MC. 

There will be a designated area for performers to gather & wait.

  • This is usually either at the back of the room or in a separate “Green room”. 
  • You do not have to remain in this area, but you do need to be ready to take your call from the MC.
  • Only performers & the production team should be in a green room. When there is no separate green room, the back of the room is not restricted & anyone can be there.
  • Performers have different pre-performance routines. Please respect the choice of others.
    • Some revise their sets.
    • Some do warm-up exercises.
    • Some just want to chat.
    • Some do other things.
    • If you want to use your time to revise, politely greet other performers then return to your revision. Nobody will think badly of you for doing this.

If at all possible you will be reminded during the previous performer’s set that you are next on, but don’t rely on this, things happen.

You may record your own performance but DO NOT record anyone else’s performance unless they ask you to.

Perform.

Performing

Your job is to make the audience laugh. How you do this is your choice.

When you go on stage there will be a microphone on a stand at what we believe is the best position to perform. It is entirely your choice if you use the mic on the stand or remove it and use it hand-held.

If you wish, you may move the mic stand away from the centre and perform without it.

When you have finished your set, please move the mic stand back to where it came from and put the microphone back in the stand.

Keep the mic directly in front of your mouth pointing at your mouth & speak into it or rest it on your chin.

Approximately 30 seconds before the end of your allocated time we will shine a moving light “The light” at you for a few seconds. At the end of your allocated time, you will get a continuous stationary light. Make sure you know where “The light” will be & keep an eye on that location.

You do not have to wait for “the light” to finish. If you’ve finished your set, end then. Sometimes you are faster than you expect, sometimes the person who was supposed to send you the light gets the time keeping wrong, & sometimes you missed the signal.

You may have seen videos of comedians misusing microphones such as deliberately dropping them on the floor. DO NOT DO THIS TO OUR MICs. Our ones cost around $90 each, we would look to you to pay replacement costs.

A similar point applies to microphone stands. They are engineered to hold a light microphone, not support your weight.

If you have to cancel

Please contact us as soon as possible so we can give your spot to someone else. If you’re in the messenger group for the show that’s the best place, otherwise contact info is below.

What you can expect from us

Who are our stakeholders?

We recognise four stakeholders.

  • The Venue which is run by people who wish to sell food and beverages
  • The Audience, who wish to be entertained in a predictable way. I.e. made to laugh.
  • The Comedians, who wish to perform in front of a receptive audience to practice and tune their comedy routines in an environment where they are respected
  • The producers (us) who wish to enhance their reputation as producers by running successful comedy nights meeting the wants of the other 3 stakeholders. We are both also comedians so we recognise in ourselves the same things we recognise in other comedians.

What we are doing

Our goal is to provide a comedy show that meets the wants of all our stakeholders. We do this by:

  • finding a venue,
  • advertising for and selecting performers,
  • advertising for an audience,
  • providing good lighting & sound and
  • running the show as smoothly and professionally as possible.

What we will do for you

We‘ll treat you with respect as a person.

We’ll treat you with respect as a performer.

We’ll give you stage time at least once.

If we feel you’ve got a future in our type of show we’ll offer you more time.

We may not always be in a position to give you feedback, but if you ask for it before performing we’ll give you our honest opinion.

We’ll always be honest with you about availability of stage time & if you can’t get a place in a show we’ll give you the reason why. 

Recommendations

Be confident:

  • Don’t be afraid of the audience. You are there to tell jokes, they are there to laugh at the jokes you tell, they are on your side
  • Own the stage. Stand centre front and show confident body language
  • Avoid the temptation to retreat from the audience by moving to the back of the stage. The audience won’t respond as well to you if you do this

Before the show we will have done our best to ensure that the lighting is best where the mic stand is placed. If you move too far from that position you may end up with your face in shadow, etc. If that’s part of a joke, go for it, otherwise it is best avoided.

Before leaving the stage, thank the audience, give your name, and if you remember, ask them to welcome back the MC.

Bring friends & sit with them before you perform. It will make you feel more relaxed.

Record your set, at least audio, video’s better. It may well just be a blur in your mind after you walk off stage, this lets you listen to it later. You may be pleasantly surprised by the number of laughs you got.

Auckland audiences don’t like “punching down” Avoid racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist jokes. If you’re going to tell jokes about a group you are a member of, it’s best to establish that you are a member of the group before telling the jokes. 

Suggestions

If you’ve brought friends, ask one of them to video you on your phone.

Have a running order of your jokes on a piece of paper in your pocket. Only refer to it if you blank on what your next joke is. An alternative is to write the list on your hand, the risk with this is that it is easy to fall into the habit of constantly referring to it & it is obvious to the audience what you are doing.

The MC & producers probably won’t say anything detailed about your set unless you have asked one of them for notes (feedback) before going on. Hopefully you will get useful feedback.

If you want to perform again

Hey great. You enjoyed hearing the audience laugh & want to hear it again. 

We’d love to have you back, but we don’t want to have the same cast at every show so there may be a delay but don’t despair there are plenty of other comedy open nights around Auckland.

Make contact with the Classic, info@comedy.co.nz for gigs there and check out this list of comedy events in Aotearoa https://gigs.comedians.nz/ or talk to us for pointers.

Code of Conduct

We have not developed our own code of conduct as we believe that there should be a single code of conduct used by all comedy shows in New Zealand. The New Zealand Comedy Guild Incorporated has developed a code that we fully endorse. It can be found here (pdf)

We expect everyone involved with our shows, including ourselves, to abide by this code. 

Contact

One Mic Stand-up

Facebook messenger: https://m.me/OneMicStandup 

Facebook page: https://fb.me/OneMicStandup 

We have a booking and planning group you’ll be invited to join if you ask for a second gig, or you can request to join now: https://www.facebook.com/groups/440855986746832/ 

People

Julia: https://fb.me/julia.clement.nz Tessa: https://fb.me/tessa.clement