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How to Prepare for a Comedy Open Mic - Hey Onicia

Do you think you've got hot bits and struck comedy gold? The only way to know for sure is to test them in the blue-hot flames of a comedy open mic. Follow these 6 steps and be ready for your first open mic. Depending on your prior experience with public speaking, you might be ready to hit the stage in less than a week!

Hey Onicia is a series where I tap into my type-A side and answer questions from my friends about this starving artist life. If you find this helpful, share with your twitter homies or thank me with ice cream. Want to chat or collaborate? Holla at me!

Write down all the funny things. Be sure to organize them, so it's easy to locate and curate. 

Watch all the stand-up. This will help you to become familiar with the different styles and topic ranges.

Actually attend an open mic. If you can, hang out after the show and network. Also, support the establishment and buy a drink. Tip the staff!

Know the rules of the club/bar, then create a set that is both true to you and meets the requirements. Most open mics require advance sign up. Some as early as one week. The time limit may be anywhere from 3-4 minutes per performer.

Once you have a set, practice, practice, practice!!! I typed my jokes long-form. At one point, I got trapped trying to trim the setup. Workshop purgatory was turning into workshop hell.

Switched it up by listening to audio recordings. Then briefly discussed the material with a trusted friend. I did one more long-form edit. Finally - about 24 hours before the mic - I repeated my set until I had it down.


Chicago comedian, Elaine Phillips (@Satiristfaction) shared this calendar of comedy open mics.

This is a resource for comedians in the Chicago and surrounding suburbs. It is based on all active open mic listings on the Comedy of Chicago website as well as from various Chicago Comedy Facebook groups. See Comedy of Chicago for info about local mics. Hosts often post updates about mics on Facebook (e.g. cancellations or time changes). Always consult their official pages for the most accurate info. If information on this calendar needs to be changed/updated, please message Elaine Phillips via Facebook.

I wanna know about your first open mic experience. Comment below!

Diary entry April 8, 2015

Today I performed my first 3-minute set at the Laugh Factory Chicago's open mic night. Our host Paul Farahvar was super funny and accommodating.

What would you do? Tweet me using #JBFxOnicia
Created on St. Maarten. Based in Chicago. Onicia Muller (@OniciaMuller) writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. Originally published in The Daily Herald's Weekender, Just Being Funny is a weekly reflection where Onicia laughs at life
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