Every year about this time, the open mic ranks swell with hoards of people who made "starting in stand-up comedy" their New Year's Resolution. Sometimes it's to beef up their acting resume, sometimes a last ditch effort to "make it" after producing, writing, club promoting and other forms of "hustling" didn't pan out, and sometimes it's a really earnest desire to follow a dream and Jan 1 was the kick in the ass to do it. No matter why they (or maybe you are one of them, reading this right now) decided to, they're here, it's inevitable and it's annoying.
It's annoying to the folks still slogging through the open mic wasteland after 2 or 5 or 12 years, coming right after the Christmas season of few spots & shows and having to justify how "that little comedy thing" is going to their family. It's annoying that suddenly they have to wait twice as long or not even get a spot while some of the the newbies are going up with zero joke structure and 100% arrogance. And it's especially annoying, knowing half of these people will quit comedy later tonight and the vast majority of the rest will have quit by the end of February.
That said, there's always a silver lining, and here are the Top 5 reasons to enjoy the New Year's Resolution crowd, you bitter old curmudgeons.
1. They're like a real audience.
They have not yet become jaded monsters without a soul who have heard you working on that same bit exactly 17 times this week. They're too nervous & polite to spend the entire time tweeting/ignoring you. Most importantly, they still remember how to laugh. They're the closest thing to a real audience you'll find in any bar or coffee shop in such dire financial straits that they are willing to hold an open mic to help business.
2. New chicks/dudes to scam on
If your sexual diet mostly consists of the low hanging fruit of the Bad Idea tree, then boy are you in luck right now. These girls don't know you well enough to know not to sleep with you or that you've already slept with every other girl at this open mic. And "I'll take you around to some mics and introduce you to people" is a surprisingly effective pickup line. And, ladies, well, you already know that most male comedians will sleep with any girl, any time, anywhere.. and with these guys, you don't have to worry about all that "dating a fellow comedian" awkwardness, because they won't be doing this in 2 months anyway!
3. You can remember what it's like to be that excited about comedy.
Remember when doing 5 whole minutes seemed so hard? Remember when you used to be super excited to make the lottery at the Improv or Comedy Store? How you nervously stood around and made halting attempts at new friendships and eventually found a really cool crew of awesome funny people who will be your lifelong friends/competition? Yeah, that was pretty cool. Why don't YOU stop tweeting/ignoring the rest of the room for a second and look around and soak it in with whatever tiny shred of a soul you've still got left and enjoy the memories.
4. There is no #4
I honestly couldn't come up with 5 reasons, but I don't care for Top Four lists.
5. This is the future.
Yeah, a comedian who starts on Jan 1 is much, much less likely to stick with it than someone who started on April 3 or July 7. But at least one of these punks actually loves the art and has potential. One of them might be your future roommate or the guy who chauffeurs you around when your car's in the shop or the gal who starts a good workout room and lets you drop in and do 15 any time you want. So keep a look out.
Did I miss anything? Got a great tale of NYR open mic triumph or defeat? Have at it in the comments or tweet at me @ComedyGroupie