I just got back from Idaho laughfest 2016. I never really know what to make of festivals. I am alway weary when someone ask me to pay to perform, but at the same time, it is a great place to meet comedians and get connections you normally wouldn’t. I can only tell you about the shows in which I performed and saw at Liquid Laughs. I didn’t really go to any of the other shows that were taking place in other venues.
My first show was at 7pm, and when I got there it was packed with people. Liquid Lounge, where the comedy club is located, is in a nice busy section of downtown Boise. It was great to see a packed house on a Thursday at 7pm! I was a couple spots from the bottom so I just settled in and waited my turn. I noticed that I looked like someone that didn’t want to be talked to (which is not why I came there) and so I put the iPad away and tried to look less scary. When I got up I had a pretty good set. The crowd was feeling it and, just like in 2009, I felt as though Boise was a pretty hip comedy town. I felt like the other comics each brought something cool to the table. I honestly felt like a fraud because I don’t think I put that much time into the wording of my jokes like I feel a lot of other comedians do.
The second night I had a midnight show. I was a little worried about the turnout. I have never done a midnight show, but it doesn’t sound like a show with standing room only. I was right. By the time the show was underway there were about 20-30 people there. I was the next to last person to go on and by that time the number had dwindled considerably. This doesn’t bother me. I have performed for way less people. I went up and did a couple of jokes that bounce around in my head, but I never do. They worked really well! Now, I don’t know if that is because they got the references or if they were actually funny, but they dug it and I will count it. I was a little disheartened, by my set though. I felt as though I went to my comedic crutch of talking about balls and cursing, which is something I have made an effort to shy away from.
The last night of the show, I had a spot on the last show if the festival. It was so freaking packed when I got there, and I hoped that it would be the same for the shows we did. It was! Packed house and I am third from last. I didn’t know what I was going to do material wise, so I just went with what I usually do in a situation like that. I go with the jokes I like at the moment and mix it in with a couple of newer jokes. It was my best set of the festival I felt. I felt good coming off the stage and I think people seemed to enjoy themselves.
The best part about the whole thing is that I was able to connect with a lot of comics and got a lot of potential work out of it. That was my goal and I am glad I was able to accomplish that. I also got to perform at Liquid Laughs which I hope will lead to work there as well. I got to met a lot of cool comedians and make a lot of new friends. My opinion on comedy festivals has been steadily changing over the years and I think if you have the ability, you should at least try to get on a festival. It could help put some work on your schedule.