Sure, I could have picked up another set later on, and if I was at another local open mic then I might have felt more inclined to leave early because I'm in Indy solely for the stagetime. However, my first show of the night was at a comedy club, and I'm not going to leave a comedy club until the show is over. You know why? Because hanging out at comedy clubs after the show is over is fuckin' fun (at least most of the time--if you had a shit set, you probably wouldn't feel like sticking around). I can't think of many things more fun for me than to hang out at Zanies in Nashville after a show with other comics, servers, bartenders, staff, management--everybody. Just sitting around the club after hours, drinking and smoking and shooting the shit. It's fuckin' fun. If you consider yourself a serious comic and you don't at least make an effort to hang out at your home club, you're doing comedy wrong.
Crackers was another great opportunity to see some of the local Indy talent, like Lazy Daze. However, unlike Lazy Daze's more no-pressure workshop atmosphere, this is where I got to see some of the Indianapolis comics--a few of whom I'd seen the night before at Lazy Daze--go up in front of a great, lively crowd in a full-time comedy club and kick some ass. It's a vastly different dynamic. To me, when you're starting out, open mics are where you experiment, polish, and work out the kinks in material; clubs are where you take that refined material and showcase yourself with it. I saw several guys hit the stage at that club last night carrying their notebooks with them. Not their setlist--enormous five-subject spiral notebooks (like they had just come from class), that they would lay on the stool next to them and occasionally turn towards to flip pages during their sets.
Say whatever you will about how this reflects on me, but I have never gone onstage at a comedy club with my actual notebook in hand. I may write my setlist on an index card, or go the sneaky route and jot it down on a napkin under my drink, but I think if you're going to perform at a comedy club--even on open mic night--you need to be prepared enough that you don't need your entire damn notebook onstage with you. Ideally, you should be prepared enough that you don't need to have your setlist out while you're onstage--but that's a matter of personal preference. You don't have to be super-polished and have everything memorized: that's what a setlist is for, and I have no problem with people who do that. I'm not a hardcore advocate one way or the other (because sometimes I go with a setlist, other times without). But bringing your entire notebook onstage is where I draw the line, because it looks lazy and just screams, "I am not at all prepared for this." At a coffeehouse or bar open mic, you can bring your entire goddamn filing cabinet onstage with you. I don't care. But at a club, at least give off the impression that you give a shit. But then again, who am I to judge? Everyone has their own different process for developing and polishing material.
That said--with my editorial out of the way--I did enjoy the show I saw at Crackers last night. There were several very funny comics who I hadn't seen at Lazy Daze the night before, and whose names escape me (I really wish I had written them down). That club is also a partner of RooftopComedy.com, which is a website that video records shows virtually every night at various comedy clubs around the country, and posts clips of stand-up comedians' sets on their site. I'm not sure if they were recording last night, but if anything from my set made the cut for their site, I'll be sure to link it here so you can check it out.
Today is another big day. Doing a set at Morty's Comedy Joint (which should not be canceled, unlike the other one earlier in the week), and then a late spot at Courtney Meyers' show at The Goldmine. Hopefully I'll be able to make it to her show in time to get a spot--I still haven't yet been able to do the two-show-in-a-night routine since I've been here, despite having a couple of missed opportunities.
ALSO: If you'd like to keep up with my Indy adventures in convenient, bite-sized, 140-character chunks in real-time, you can follow my Twitter page @ http://twitter.com/riley_fox
Until next time,