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Do you enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and live entertainment? Then this is a great place to find out about the local spots around Puget Sound that have Comedy Stand-Up. Don't be shy, get out there and check out a local stand-up comedy show and have a real fun night out.
This is the first in a series of posts called Anatomy of a Killer Comedian. Basically in this series I'll talk with comedians in the open mic scene that most would consider seasoned or professional level comedians. These are the guys and gals of comedy that you will see consistently killing during their sets. These are the folks that you'll see or will be seeing soon hosting, opening, middling and even headlining in the main comedy clubs around town and on the road (Laughs, Comedy Underground, Parlor, etc.).
Today I had the great pleasure to talk with Scott Taylor and Nigel Larson, both recent transplants from the East Coast. If you're in the comedy scene around Seattle or the Eastside, you'll likely have seen them over the last several months. You'll also notice that they consistently have solid sets. If you're new to the open mic scene you might wonder how they got started in comedy.
You're in luck because that's much of what we get into discussing with Scott and Nigel during the interview. You'll hear them answer questions about:
Their background in comedy
How they did when they first started out in comedy
How they ended up in Seattle
How the inspiration for their comedy material has changed over time
Their goals for their comedy careers
Tips and lessons learned they'd like to share with folks that are getting started
How they developed their favorite bit/joke and how it changed over time
Interestingly both Scott and Nigel got their starts about the same time in NY, but never really knew each other until they got to Seattle. You can find Nigel and Scott working on their new material at most open mics around town, especially at Pegasus and Laughs.
Hear more, in their own words from our interview... (Part 1 of 2):
This is the second post in a series called Natural Born Killer Comedians. These are the rare "a star is born" comedians that you get the opportunity to see go up on stage for one of their first ever stand up comedy performances. You have the distinct feeling that you are witnessing the beginning of great things to come when they proceed to kill and give an outstanding stand up comedy performance.
The inspiration to start this series on Natural Born Killer Comedians came after seeing Jim Burrows perform his first ever stand up comedy open mic at Pegasus. Some kind of instinct drove me to hit the record button on my camera phone and capture Jim's first ever stand up set.
That night, Jim was a loud laughing and vocal audience member that threw back a few really good tag lines (these are additional punch lines to a joke and punch line that was just told) at the comics on stage. So, I had a feeling he was going to be funny, but I was unsure just how much that would translate to his own stand up comedy performance.
Jim can be a comedian's worst nightmare or their best friend, depending on how comfortable you are with his unique style as a very vocal audience member. I myself love it. Jim is a lover of comedy and he seems to see the comedy in just about all material that is performed on stage. Often he immediately syncs up to what the comedian is thinking and throws out a few really good tag lines. Most of the time, he sees the same kind of funny that the comedian did and lets out a roaring laugh, that gets to be contagious and gets the rest of the audience joining in the laughter.
Nick Graffis, is the current host of the Pegasus Open Mic Night. Nick, by the way, has been doing an outstanding job as a host over the last 15 or so weeks that I have been participating! Nick noticed Jim and asked if he'd like to go up and perform that night. Jim agreed to go on stage and just wing it.
It's pretty impressive and rare that someone decides to jump on stage and just 'wing it' and actually kill the audience with laughter. As much as most comedians acts seem spontaneous, they are actually well planned and the result of many many hours of writing, performance, and re-writing. But, that's exactly what Jim did. He jumped up and 'winged-it' and killed. Here's Jim's debut performance at Pegasus Open Mic Night:
Two of my favorite bits that Jim told and got big laughs, were:
I'm from Detroit ... I was walking from Pioneer Square and this guy walked up and goes "Gimme Your Wallet". I looked at him and go "You have a gun?". He said "No". I said "Motherfucker, I'm from Detroit and I have a gun. You give me your wallet!..."
and the beginning of another bit:
I had a friend that was 7 foot tall. Now, if you have a friend that is 7 foot tall ... You Have A Friend!
A couple weeks later I had the opportunity to interview Jim and learn what his thoughts were on his new found hobby of stand up comedy.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Jim's stand up comedy hobby develops over the coming months. From the time I recorded his debut performance until the recording of the interview, I had the opportunity to see Jim perform his standup on the big stage at Laughs and he killed again. Then again at Pegasus, the same night before the interview.
Jim has a unique perspective and goal towards comedy. He isn't going to get hung up in trying to improve and follow any of the methods or practices that normal stand up comics employ to perfect their comedy acts (mainly writing, writing and re-writing some more). He's comfortable with continuing to wing-it and having fun. So far, winging-it has been working well. I have a feeling, he's going to run out of material vibrant and fresh enough to wing-it and we're going to start seeing the tell-tale signs of writing, writing and re-writing as his hobby develops ;- ). Here is the interview with Jim as he talks about his goals for comedy, his background as a writer/educator, his perspective on comedy and his desire to help/mentor others to succeed in their goals:
Update 2 - Cris continues to deliver killer sets, with this 'Seattle' debut performance at The Comedy Underground Sunday, Nov 28th 2010:
Update 1 - Cris continued his reign as a Natural Born Killer Comedian! With his debut performance on a big comedy stage at Laughs Comedy Spot Tuesday, Nov 9th 2010. Here is his debut big stage performance:
This is the first post in a new series called Natural Born Killer Comedians. These are the rare "a star is born" comedians that you get the opportunity to see go up on stage for one of their first ever stand up comedy performances. You have the distinct feeling that you are witnessing the beginning of great things to come when they proceed to kill and give an outstanding stand up comedy performance.
I was lucky enough to hit the record button on my camera phone and catch the first ever stand up comedy performance of Cris Rodriguez when he tried his comedy chops at the Pegasus Open Mic Comedy Night in Kirkland, WA.
From the very first opening bit, Cris brilliantly boiled down the open mic comedy scene:
"I've been coming to these open mic nights ... I notice these little small ones are ... they're all right ... To me it's basically like, Strippers stripping for strippers"
The crowd erupted in laughter and the rest is history that you can see here:
Cris continued to kill the audience with nonstop laughter for the next 6 minutes or so. I can only imagine how much better Cris is going to get, as I watched him put together his set 30 minutes before I encouraged him to go up. He wasn't planning on going up that evening at all.
When Cris was done, he got high-fives, hand shakes, and congratulations from audience members and his fellow comics alike. Many of us told him how much we enjoyed his set and how awestruck we were at his comfort in delivering big laughs in his virgin performance.
I'm looking forward to hearing the comedy perspective that Cris shares over the coming months and I think you should come out to Pegasus or Laughs Comedy Spot to check him out yourself. I'm sure you'll walk away with the feeling that you're seeing a rising comedy star getting his start.
I interviewed Cris for this new series and we talked about what his comedy influences were, his goals, his family and his reaction to all the praise he received after his killer set.
The Comedy Underground - Monday Madness Open Mic at Mon @ 8:30pm (Most Sundays at 8:30pm too!)
(206) 628-0303 109 S. Washington St.124th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98104
OK, you've been to dinner and a movie and that's a fun night out, right? Well, try out a different kind of dinner & entertainment night. Try an Open Mic comedy night and you can enjoy some drinks, food and great entertainment all together and at a really reasonable price.
I went during open-mic night ... with all 30+ comics and their 3-minutes of glory, each... I did have a great time; the food was decent (token pub-fare and pretty cheap) and it was great that you could eat and drink during the show. For the price of it all, it's a good deal for the investment. I'd recommend it for a cheap fun night for sure; I would definitely do it again.
I used to be a regular on Sunday nights- Open Mic- $6 [actually only $5] gets you 2+ hours of awkward, amateur comedy entertainment. I've always found most of the acts pretty funny and there's always a headliner.
The really good news is that Comedy Underground is open 7 nights a week with several open mic nights when you can see local talent. Those are often the most interesting to watch. Tickets can be purchased for reasonable prices; especially during open mic nights and the performances are a lot of fun to watch. This is a great way to spend an evening and bring a date.
An oldie but a goodie post at the Comics Comic Blog brings up a great possibility for your open mic night out. You just might get a chance to see a comedian today that will be famous tomorrow:
There are many others who've started in Seattle and gone on to bigger and better things (for one example, Joel McHale was a star at TheatreSports before going to L.A. where he now hosts The Soup on E!). And then there's a guy like Reggie Watts, who somehow found a way to start his comedy life in Seattle without the traditional open mics and venues to become an Andy Kaufman Award winner and fixture in New York's comedy scene.
The Comedy Underground really goes all out on their open mic nights. You'll usually see 30+ comedians in a night. Each of them doing their 3 minutes of comedy.
Check out Jonas Barnes on Youtube doing some open mic comedy at Comedy Underground:
Laughs Comedy Spot - Tuesday Night Open Mic at 8:30pm
(425) 823-6306 12099 124th Ave NE Kirkland, WA 98034
Have you ever been to a big comedy club to see a big name comedian perform? No? Well, you really should add this to your monthly entertainment calendar. If it's been longer than a few months, then you owe it to yourself get out there and explore your local comedy clubs.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, "Whoa, you think I'm made of money? You think I can go plopping down cash for me and my date for a big comedy club every month? Plus drinks, and food? You're crazy!". No, actually I'm saying that you can head to your local comedy club EVERY WEEK! That's right, I said every week.
The cool thing about Laughs, is that every Tuesday night they have their open mic events. This means that they allow new comics as well as professionals get on stage and entertain you. It's generally a time when comics might try out their new material that they're working on. You get to be entertained by anywhere from 10 to 15 comics. Each doing about 3 to 5 minutes of their new material.
This is great for you on many levels. First, you get in the club for free. That's right, there's no cover to get in and enjoy an entire night of loads and loads of comics. They also have great drink and food specials on that night (Currently $2 Buds, $3 Hefs, and $2 Starving Artist Menu of food items). So, how great is that for a night out? Now, you see how you can get out to the comedy club every week on the cheap, be entertained and learn about the upcoming featured acts that will be there throughout the week or month. You might learn that the latest winner of Last Comic Standing is coming there for a show in a week or one of your other favorite featured comics from HBO, Shotwime, Comedy Channel, etc.
I like the fact that there are no fried foods and the kitchen has always been accommodating of some special dietary needs I have. While I enjoy being able to see a headliner like Greg Behrendt, it is also just as much fun to see new comics and pros try out their material at open mic night. It makes me appreciate the effort that goes into putting together a routine. I think it's great that there is this sort of venue on the Eastside, close to where I live, and that I always feel welcome when I go there.
Another cool difference in watching open mic's every week is that you sometimes get a chance to see the same comedians more than once. You'll often find them talkative after the show and open to feedback when you tell them how much you enjoyed their performance. One frequent feature, host and open mic comic at Laughs BJ Boshes blogs about his experiences and says:
...Sometimes you get people at the shows that have seen me a couple times and are able to offer some good feedback on the new jokes they liked, which can be fun...