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Late Starters Club Podcast
Late Starters Club Podcast

This is the place for inspiration, motivation, and mindset resets. You will walk away ready to take action with practical and informative advice from some of the most amazing “Late Starters” on the planet.


Ep103 Transcript: 5 Tips for Your First Comedy Open Mic – Quick Fix Friday

May 26, 2023

Are you thinking about doing a comedy open mic? If so, I have five tips for you, but first a joke.

You know, we’re starting to be better, lose more weight, be more efficient, 10 steps to the world’s best eyebrows. I wish someone would tell me, yeah, you. Are done. You have no more potential.

Hello dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration mindset and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

In episode 101, I talked to Jay Donaldson who started doing standup when he was 50. I have been doing a lot of open mics since I started comedy in my late thirties, early forties, and I have some great tips for you.

Tip number one is to visit the open mic before you attend, if you can. I think it’s a great idea because you get the lay of the land, you see what type of vibe there is, especially as a woman. You get to see are there other women comedians. Some of these can be a little bit of a bro fest, and that’s okay too, but you wanna check out the vibe.

You can also ask the host how long you typically have for an open mic. Sometimes it will depend on how many people show up, but they’ll usually have a range.

Tip number two is to prepare your set beforehand and practice it. Write actual jokes. Don’t just get up there and think you’re gonna wing it because that isn’t going to be your best material.

Sure, lots of comedians can get up there and wing it, and maybe your friends have told you you’re funny when you’re riffing along, it’s going to be much better when you actually write your jokes and have tight punchlines. And you wanna have a good experience for your first set. Remember that it’s okay to bring notes up with you at an open mic.

Usually you wanna have your set as memorized as possible, but open mics are oftentimes to work new material. So there’s going to be a lot of comedians who have their jokes written either on their phone or on a piece of paper like I do, cuz I’m old school.

Tip number three is to get there early, to sign up. Most open mics will have a signup sheet when you attend. Some open mics will have a signup online, so make sure you know how that works. Usually you have to get there about a half an hour before the open mic actually starts to get your name on the list. Introduce yourself to the host. Let them know it’s your first time so that they know where you might be placed in the lineup. Sometimes people do go straight down the line, but oftentimes the hosts are managing the signup lists to have a good flow to the evening.

Tip number four is to not invite all your friends to your first open mic. I would say have maybe one or two of your good friends, but you don’t wanna just totally stack the crowd and maybe potentially bomb and, and not really know what you’re doing for that first time. Invite your friends to the second time you do it, cuz then you’ve got one under your belt. Get your feet wet first before deciding if you’re gonna invite a lot of people.

The other thing is a lot of the open mics. Are with people who are just kind of working their jokes through, and it’s not always great. A lot of the open mics are full of all comedian audiences, so sometimes that changes the vibe as well. So keep that in mind when you’re worried about bombing or concerned about things. A lot of open mics can be super supportive for those first time members.

Another tip within this tip is to not leave when your set is done, it’s considered kind of rude, especially for your first time, and especially if you’ve brought some audience members and then all of a sudden, right when you’re done, you all get up and leave. I think it’s a good idea and good courtesy, especially when you’re getting started to stay throughout everyone’s set and watch all the performers. You’re gonna learn some things too. There will be some people who leave after they’re set. Sometimes comedians are going to another open mic as well, or performing or doing some other things.

Tip number five is when you’re performing, you want to either keep the mic stand with the microphone in it. Don’t worry about taking it out if you’re feeling nervous about that. But if you do, take the microphone out of the stand. Make sure you move the stand behind you. It’s not very professional to have the mic stand between you and the audience just sitting there randomly.

The other thing when you’re performing is you wanna watch for the light. A lot of times the host will have a phone light or some type of light to indicate when your time is almost up. Sometimes they’ll tell you that they’ll light you at a minute before you’re supposed to be finished, or 30 seconds before you’re supposed to be finished.

So watch for that light and respect it. Wrap your setup at that time and get off stage. You can always just end your set with Thanks so much. That’s my time. Or some other closer type of comment that you wanna make there.

So if you are thinking about doing an open mic, I really highly recommend it. It’s a ton of fun. It’s pretty scary, and you’re gonna be glad you did it.

Hope that was helpful, and make sure you grab the free guide. Top Tools for Late Starters on the website at, and let’s turn dreaming into doing.

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Late Starters Club Podcast
Late Starters Club Podcast

This is the place for inspiration, motivation, and mindset resets. You will walk away ready to take action with practical and informative advice from some of the most amazing “Late Starters” on the planet.

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