My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
Every famous comedian you can name had to start somewhere. That's why Open Mic Comedy nights are essential to the industry. They don't just give audiences the chance to see comedians at their most raw and embryonic phases, usually for free or a very low cover charge, they also give new comedians the chance to try their material in front of a crowd.
It's in these environments that comedians learn important things like microphone skills, how to present their material, good timing, what audiences want to see, what material fails and why, and stage craft. They also give new comics the chance to network, meet and learn from more experienced acts, and to form relationships with producers and promoters.
Open Mic Comedy nights are usually produced by people earning little or no money, and as such, in most cases the performers work for free too. Some comedians complain about this set up, but like most performing arts, amateurs never get paid. It's just the way the performing arts industry operates.
Being a performer in any art often costs a lot of time, money and effort before you actually start to make money from gigs, and many producers would argue that amateurs should not get paid, since the Open Mic night offers a symbiotic relationship – a trade, if you will, of the opportunity for stage time and experience for their efforts. Open Mic acts demanding pay is like a school student demanding the school pay them for attending lessons. Like the comedians, the producers of these shows are in it for the love and the experience, and not for fat stacks of cash.
There are many great Open Mic rooms around Brisbane, whether you're an audience member keen for a fun show or a new comedian eager to get that all important experience under your belt. Most ask acts to have five minutes worth of material prepared, and some also ask that material meet certain standards of decency, which are mostly dictated by venue owners and what audiences will watch without writing copious letters of complaint.
Open Mic rooms operate almost every day of the week and are produced by a number of people. Whether you're keen to perform or attend a show, check out the list below for 15 of the best options in Brisbane…
Newmarket Hotel - 7pm Weekly Corner of Enogerra and Nemarket Road Arguably the best open mic comedy venue in town
Operated by The Sit Down Comedy Club
Contact: (07) 3369 4466
Free Entry www.standup.com.au
Boundary Hotel - 8pm 2nd Tuesday of every month
137 Boundary St, West End
West End Comedy Fun
Operated by Comedy for the People
Free Entry www.facebook.com/comedyforthepeople
Untapped Comedy presents: Croft Beer Comedy - 7pm Monthly
@ The Mill on Constance, 111 Constance St, Fortitude Valley
Craft beer and craft comedy Curated Stand up
Operated by Alana Shootingstar
$15 entry (includes first beer)
Dead Jesters - 730pm Fortnightly
Padre bar, Woolloongabba, 598 Stanley St
Hosted by Jacob Lingard and Alana Shootingstar
Alternative and Experimental Comedy at it's best
Gold Jacket Comedy - 7pm Weekly
Brews Brothers Microbrewery, 31 Wellington Rd, East Brisbane
Hosted by Aaron Gocs and Angus Gordon (Vegetable Grill Comedy)
Melbourne Comedy Fest Trial Shows - Free Entry https://www.facebook.com/events/982143945133777/
Magic Mic - 7:30pm Weekly
Downstairs at Casablanca, 52 Petrie Tce, Brisbane
Operated by Impro Mafia
All welcome, arrive at 7pm to sign up to perform
Free Entry https://www.facebook.com/magicmicshow?fref=ts
Retro Bar Comedy - 8pm Fortnightly
The Retro Bar, 2071 Moggill Road, Kenmore
(walk down the driveway next to the push bike shop)
Operated by Joel Batham
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/retrobaropenmiccomedy
Comedy @ the Café - 7pm
Hunna Bunna Café, 153 Riding Rd, Hawthorne
Intimate outdoor comedy in Hawthorne
Operated by Stu Fisher www.facebook.com/POPularCOMedy