Spokane is good and everything, but it isn’t the biggest of comedy scenes. That is why it is good practice to venture out and check out other scenes. There are many reasons to do so, and we will go over almost all of them right now.
One of the biggest reasons you would want to go out to other cities and digest their comedy scenes is that it will get you noticed. That is important for small markets like Spokane. Spokane has a reputation that was not earned by most of the active participants of the comedy scene today. That means that a lot of people just ignore comedians here altogether. You are not getting talent scouts or bookers making trips here to check out what Spokane has to offer, so you have to go to them. It is great to get out and talk to other comics and see what connections you can make. If you get noticed by other comics and start interacting with them you will see more work come out of it as a result. When I went to Seattle to do open mics and stuff there, I was amazed by how many people I started talking too and how much extra stuff came about because of it.
Another reason to venture to other places is to get a grasp on how funny you actually are. Does your material rely on the audience knowing local landmarks? Then it might not work in places outside of that area. I have seen this a lot with LA and San Fran comics. They do so much stuff in their areas that when they go further away then just their metropolitan area, they realize that it doesn’t actually translate well. Other cities also have different things going on or a completely different culture that you may not be aware of that is affecting your jokes. When I was doing the competition in Seattle I used to do this joke that killed in Spokane and in other smaller areas, but when I did it in front of a Seattle crowd they didn’t laugh as hard. I changed a couple of words in the joke to make it not seem like I was calling someone something hateful and the joke was killing again. That isn’t something that people who don’t care about will notice.
I also believe that going to other cities and getting your feet wet in there comedy scenes will help you with your comedy. Is someone there doing a joke similar to yours and now that you heard it you notice that it is dumb? Wouldn’t happen if you just stay put. It will let you know where you stand in the overall comedy landscape. Do you need to write more? Is your timing down? Other places on the map will prepare you for that.
I know it is hard to get out of your comfort zone. Trust me! I love getting up at Uncle D’s and doing my thing or walking up on stage at Chan’s and rocking it out for a bit. Going to other stages in other cities will help you become a better, stronger comedian. Here is an example: Mika Lahman is a comic in Spokane that I went to New York City with. While there, she wrote more material because she was knee deep in comedy every day. When she came back to Spokane, you could see that she was a different, better comic with more of a stage presence and new bits that have been doing really well. It is nerve racking to be sitting by yourself in a city that you don’t know around comics that you don’t know, but all that means is that if you crush it you will get to know those comics and good things will (or should) happen as a result. And if it doesn’t go that well…who the hell cares they don’t know you!
What I usually do in a new city at an open mic where no one knows me, I go up and do my good stuff. I am not at my usual open mic, so I am there to impress at this moment. I get up and I do the best 2-3 minutes I got (or that I feel like doing) and then that makes it easier to interact with other comics. No one wants to shake hands with the new, terrible guy, but everyone wants to know the guy that just blew the doors off the place for 2-3 minutes. I try to do more than just the big open mics as well. When I go to Portland this week, I am not just going to Helium and stuff. I am going to any open mic that will have me. You get a better sense of what that city has to offer as far as comedians are concerned. You see that in Spokane. There are some people who do not go to Uncle D’s, but love going to Neato Burrito to do their open mic. The smaller places are where you will find your independent bookers and stuff, and that leads to potential work.
The biggest thing you should remember about going to other places and exploring their comedy scene is that this is what you signed up for! You wanted to go all over and get paid to do comedy, right? If so, then this is the tried and true way to do it. You can send emails and promo packages until you are blue in the face, but when you walking into a club and rocking it right then and there they have to pay attention to that.
Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate it and I thank you. I hope these things entertain and help.