A British stand up comedian, musician and writer living in Nijmegen. See more at stevenmorgan.wales
Published June 26th 2017
The inside knowledge on becoming a comedian
It's a thought that's crossed most people's minds at some point. For some as part of a nightmare that wakes them in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, and for others, an opportunity to entertain crowds in the way that they do their friends.
Whether it's a bucket list thing to give it a go, or you genuinely see yourself as the next Jim Jefferies, there are an abundance of opportunities to see if you've got what it takes to become a comedian in South East Queensland.
The first thing you need to do is join the Brisbane Comedy / Gigs Message Board on Facebook. Once approved, the pinned post lists an up-to-date listing of all currently active comedy rooms around Brisbane and its surrounds, and the way that you can get a spot on their line-ups. It's also a great source of cancellation spots, though most are snapped up in seconds such is the demand.
Whilst the title "Open Mic" may imply that you can just rock up and dazzle the crowd with your observations on Uber and Tinder, the sheer demand for open mic spots means that almost every room requires you sign up before the date of the event. The most obvious starting point is the Sit Down Comedy Club and their multiple open mic rooms around the city. You can find out how to sign up for their rooms here.
If the Gold Coast is more convenient for you, you may want to consider Based Comedy. With a number of rooms around the area, and a sterling reputation for putting on well-organised events with strong line ups, it's definitely worth giving a try. You can sign up for Based Comedy open mic here.
If you feel like you want a little help before getting started, then you might want to consider a comedy course, such as Fiona McGary's one. There's no substitute for stage time, and there's no faster way to learn than to get up on stage and see what works. Audiences at open mic nights know they're not getting the finished product, so tend to be a little more sympathetic than they would otherwise be. Even the greatest comedians bomb sometime, and the sooner you get the experience out of the way, the sooner you realise it's not as bad as you think.
Once you've got your tight five (five minutes of your best material) together, there's the RAW Comedy competition whose heats are held all around Australia, with some of the best-known comedy names around the country having won it in the past. Some people perform their first ever show as part of the competition, but you'd be far better off getting experience elsewhere first, and taking your best five to RAW. After all, each competitor only gets three tries before they become ineligible for the show.
There's a distinction between someone whose friends think their funny and someone who is a great stand-up comedian, and the difference between the two often dents egos of those who think they will be hilarious from day one. As with any skill, the experts make it look easy. Sometimes you bomb, sometimes you kill it, but in both instances it's a rush like no other.
Don't keep putting it off, give it a go. You never know, you might be a natural.