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4 Painful (But Hilarious) Lessons Learned in Stand-Up Comedy

Stand-up comedy can be an exhilarating experience or a terrifying one. Being in front of a live audience, pouring out your soul and getting people to laugh is a trying task. Sometimes it is the best thing in the world. Other times, it makes you wish you could just ball up and cry.

There are many lessons to be learned both as producers of stand-up comedy and performers. Comics performing on this Saturday’s show share their tales of how they earned battle scars in the comedy world:

1. Follow Your Instincts 

By: Producers/Hosts Brandon Collins & Mike Brown


Photo of Comedy Outliers by Mindy Tucker

We hosted our first private event last year. We were very excited and had been in contact with the private organization’s president who had specific requests regarding the type of talent we should book. We booked very specific comics who we thought would be successful in front of the anticipated audience. Unfortunately for us and the president, the booked comedians and the actual audience turned out to be horribly mismatched. The final result? A brutally awkward 90-minute showcase.

Afterward, we had a frank discussion with the president of the organization who admitted that they had provided us with misinformation regarding the type of talent we should have booked. We decided that for future events, we would book every private event just as we do our monthly showcases: diverse and fearless. We recently held another event for this organization where we followed this mentality, which resulted in a successful comedy showcase that was well received by their audience. The ultimate lesson of this story? Always follow your instincts.

2. Timing is Everything

By: Comedian Kate Wolff

Stand Up Comedian Kate Wolf

I had a show at a gay bar, the night after Whitney Houston died. I had been excited to do this show for weeks, because it was always packed with a really fun, excited audience. That night just before the host brought me up, they played a 10-minute video dedicated to Whitney. Every gay man in the audience was weeping when they brought me to stage. Needless to say it wasn’t the best set of my career, but I did get to hold an emotional man’s hand for an hour after the show.

3. You Will Be Booed and It Won’t Be Pretty

By: Comedian Langston Kerman

StandUp Comedian Langston Kerman

Photo by Phil Provencio

I was once booed in an empty basement bar by a grown man wearing a white suit and a crown. In his defense, it was his birthday. And he was performing on the show later. Obviously, a rapper dressed like he’s being baptized at a Burger King expects a little more from his opening acts.

4. Don’t Insult the Crowd 

By: Comedian Dan DelColle

Dan DelColle StandUp

Photo by Katherine Clark

December 16, 2012. It was supposed to be my first paid spot and I was excited. I’d done well in front of this crowd before. The show started two hours late so the crowd was getting restless. I’ll win them over, I thought. I opened my set with “I probably can or have bought drugs from everyone in this room.”  That was it. No one was amused. The room instantly hated me. The crowd wasn’t entirely silent because I heard someone say: “You’re not funny.” My 15-minute set was cut to about 13 minutes.

ComedyPoster-OutliersI guess the host didn’t have a light to get me off the stage because he walked on the stage and said “You’re done.” He encouraged the crowd to give me a simultaneous one clap at the same time. I stayed for the rest of the show and sat in the front row. Every other comic on the show did great and opened with a line of how horrible I did. Lessons: don’t insult the crowd and if you bomb, get the hell out of the room as fast as you can.

A note for New Yorkers: Go out and check out these comics at Comedy Outliers at Lilly O’Briens (18 Murray Street) on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 7PM. The show has a $10 cover with no drink minimum. Pay only $8 if you purchase tickets in advance. You can also support their efforts by donating on their website or listening to their weekly podcast.

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Comedy Outliers: Customer Service Tips!

COholiday2Today we feature another guest post from Comedy Outliers. They offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have their annual holiday show coming up this Saturday, December 21st at Lilly O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

This month, their column was written by Tatiana Albandos who handles their customer service and outreach during their shows. Without further ado, we present Comedy Outliers: 

We are often asked, “How do you always have a full audience?” The secret to a loyal audience is actually no secret at all! Along with an awesome line-up for each show, great service helps us bring them back every-time! Here are three things you should always keep in mind when providing the best customer experience possible:
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Spit Take Saturday: Liam McEneaney

65-atlgWelcome to Spit Take Saturday, courtesy of Brown Paper Tickets’ Comedy Doer Julie Seabaugh and her professional comedy criticism site The Spit Take. Julie’s goal with the site is to “elevate the public perception of stand-up comedy to that of a legitimate art form, and to enable comedy criticism be taken as seriously as that of theater, film, music, food, even video games. No a**-kissing. No bias. No mercy. Just honest, unfiltered, long-form reviews written by professional, knowledgeable comedy critics.” 

Every week Julie will select an entry from the site to be included on our blog and hand-pick some related events happening that week that she feels all you comedy lovers out there will appreciate.

So, without further ado, let us introduce you to this week’s Spit Take Saturday!


Host of the semi-monthly and always well-booked Tell Your Friends! stand-up show (as well as podcast of the same name), Liam McEneaney’s been a staple of the New York comedy scene for more than a decade. And on his debut album, Comedian, the 34-year-old culls together his greatest hits for an hour of comedy that skillfully integrates both profundity and frivolity, with nary a dull moment throughout.

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