Just a Jew. Named Mitch. Writing about his feelings.

Stand Up Comedy

Posted by JewMitch on June 3, 2009


I did stand up at the PIT last Tuesday, which is so far the best open mike night that I’ve been to in New York. Granted I’ve been to three so far.

My first open mike night made me almost want to quit doing stand up for good. It took place at 7pm, in the basement of a taco shop. And not a cool – hipster taco shop, but a corporate, fast food-esque, downtown type taco shop. Also, one area of the basement had been leaking, so we couldn’t even use the elevated stage area. Instead, there were 8 of us in the corner, waiting for our seven minutes “on stage” where we could perform in front of one another. It felt like being at an AA meeting. Only, I imagine that AA meetings are more glamorous. And we had each paid a ten dollar “cover” for this.

Open mike stand up comedy is a weird thing. In one way, it’s a lot like karaoke, where every day citizens are allowed to take the stage for a few minutes, no matter how awful they are. But unlike karaoke, where people are restricted to performing pre-approved popular songs, open mike nights are a place where people can come and express their deepest darkest secrets and oddities to strangers.

The taco stand up night was hosted by this incredibly sad and dumb woman in her late thirties, who seemed like she had once gotten along by being bubbly and mildly attractive, but was now well on her way to being very sad and lonely. I’m also fairly certain that the therapist she had seen after her divorce had suggested that she deal with her emotions by doing stand up.

I know that she was divorced, because she mentioned her divorce almost every single time she was on stage (which was in between each comic) and didn’t really tell jokes, as much as she just talked about her divorce. I learned about her divorce lawyer, her divorce trial, her divorce settlement, and her new attitude after the divorce. And amazingly, she wasn’t the worst stand up performer that night.

I think my weirdest experience was one guy who said he was a computer programmer. He looked a little dorkier, but fairly normal, almost good looking. Then he went on to say how he doesn’t need glasses, but wears them as a “shield” from the public and that he also wears a thick puffy jacket for the same reason. Then he told us that he worked as a computer programmer because he wanted to avoid talking to people and that he hadn’t really spoken to anyone in five years. And that the reason he was here was to start talking to people again.

Then he proceeded to lay on the stage, and pretend that he was playing with a cat. But then everything got very violent and all of the sudden he screamed: “Why do you have such large claws! You’re hurting me!” He then proceeded to mime a two minute fight scene with the cat to the crowd’s awkward silence.


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