Hosting Ain’t Easy

I got to host the Thursday night show at the new club here in Spokane.  I haven’t hosted a paid show in a long time and I was a little nervous about how it would go.  I have hosted a little over 10 paid shows in my time as a comedian.  Way less than the times I have featured or headlined.  It is a skill that I have always thought was important, but never got to develop.  I have seen great hosts, and I have seen bad hosts, so I was determined to mimic the great hosts I have seen over the years.

One thing that is very important when hosting is knowing that the show isn’t about you.  You warm them up and you get the show going.  I am not used to that thought process.  The stage for me is an outlet, and sometimes I get lost up there, so I was determined not to do that.  I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to be selfish, and I wanted to get hired again.

You see this more at independently ran shows, where things are a little more lax.  You will see the host going up and doing time in between acts and it seems like they want to pull the attention back to them. When you are in a club, especially a club with big names coming through, you have to be aware that the people paying are not there to see you.  They want less host and more guy they saw on YouTube while they were at their cubicle.

I was also really nervous about getting the names right.  Dave Fulton is a straight forward name, but Andy Woodhull sounded weird whenever I practiced saying it.  I had a speech impediment as a child, so I am always worried that the sounds I make are not correct.  I studied the credits until I could say them without looking at the paper.  I always liked that from hosts that I have seen.  It looks like they are about their business and that is what I wanted to do.

I had 8 minutes so I did my material that struck a middle ground.  I saw clips of Andy and I have seen Dave a couple of times, so I decided on my material and I went up…and stumbled all over my lines.  Nerves!  Nerves hit me.  I get nervous a lot, but mainly because I want to do well, not because of anything else.  This was a different type of nerve though.  It was like when I first started doing comedy.  It perked my ears a bit.

Other than messing up a bit on a couple of jokes, the hosting part went smoothly.  I have always felt that the job of the host is to hype, warm, and introduce, and I felt I did two of those things well, and one of those things passably.  It taught me that no matter how long you have been doing it, you can always be placed in a unique situation.  It was unique in that it was my first time hosting at the new club, and I wanted to do well enough that I would get asked to do it again.  I learned that I need to do it more, and I will get that chance when I host the open mic this week.  That will give me a really good chance to practice on my hosting skills. See you next week when we talk about what types of cured meats to take with you on stage.


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