Performance Critique 13: Jan 22B – The Showcase

This is my set from the comedy showcase that I was practicing for all week. The audience was smaller than I expected (about 25-30 people) and half of them were comics because comics got a free comp to this show.

0m26s I shouldn’t make the “what? you don’t think I should be a model face” until after the audience stops laughing at the actual words. That will lead to a second round of laughter.

0m37s The reason it seems that I’m looking down with my eyes most of the show is because the camera is in the second level, but only the first level was filled with audience, so I choose to make eye contact with them. I’m not sure if I should’ve done this, as the club owner was in the second level. 

0m45s I looked down after a punch line. Don’t move a muscle after I deliver a punch line until the audience is done laughing.

1m52s The audience member started listing 5 presents she got for her dog. I could’ve made fun of her for this (“I bet you didn’t get your kids 5 presents”) but didn’t think to on the spot. Instead I just remembered one and cut her off.

2m23s The audience member said her dog wasn’t castrated. I can’t ignore interaction if I start it and everyone hears it.

2m54s I think I would’ve gotten more laughs if I didn’t drop my eyes.

3m33s Wait an extra second after “a dog was hit by a bus” before calling someone “a sweater loving bastard” because being hit by a bus is also a punch line.

4m03s The hearing aid part is forced. I should stop doing it and only do it as a callback to the crowd if a joke bombs.

4m56s I didn’t have as much outraged emphasis on each word of “It. Costs. Money.” as I usually do. I could’ve also paused and given a “what the hell” look to draw out the laugh.

5m01s This is the first time my jdate joke didn’t get a huge laugh. I didn’t even realize this until watching the video for the 6th time right now and writing about it. (Yes I know I’m behind on my analysis of my sets, I was too busy actually performing to write this down every night, but I had enough time to just watch my set myself.)

5m21s I looked down after the punch line again. I do this to remember what joke comes next but need to stop. It weakens the confidence in my punch line.

5m50s Have a more theatrical voice when I say “The Snuggle Slut”. Try to make it like I’m presenting the title of a movie.

6m34s Perfect 180 degree pan while talking the whole time. I didn’t watch my first set of the night before doing this show so I must’ve just known or done it by complete accident.

Overall: When I got off stage I felt like I bombed. This was due to hearing how much laughter some of the other comics got. Viewing the videotape, it’s not as bad as I thought, at least not in context of seeing how everyone else did. I didn’t make any major mistakes, and while I could’ve slowed down in a few places, I’m pretty proud of how my set went. I doubt I’m gonna get passed at the club, but I feel I prepared as well as I could’ve and am looking forward to some feedback from the owner.

Update 2/2/09: I spoke with the club owner today and his main feedback was to be more lively and animated on stage. He was impressed with the fact that I’m trying to get on stage 5-6 times a week and thinks barking will help me tighten my material. He also said not to write material so much as write down the key words and to make it more personal to me. His question was, “What’s your angle? What about your act is unique? Why should someone give you a TV show (or Movie, or stand up special)?” I’m not an expert in marketing (yet!) but I think he was referring to branding and having a certain consistent persona that is obvious throughout all my material. He said he was hoping he’d see me in a three to four months to assess my progress.

Performance Critique 12: Jan 22A

This is my set right before the showcase. I decided since I had time to just get on stage anywhere so I wouldn’t be as nervous before hand. I always feel more at ease if I’ve already done stand up that night. (I almost always want to do a stand up a second and third time in the same night for real audiences, but rarely get to do so.)

0m12s The host did some bit about hating Russians because he lives near Brighton Beach (a heavily Russian part of Brooklyn) so I decided to riff off of that a little. No matter if I have a set to practice or not, I’m trying to be in the moment of the room. I should’ve waited two seconds after saying “I was actually born in Russia” to let the tension build a little. And I was born in the USSR, I didn’t invent that fact just to try to get a cheap laugh. 

0m23s If I decide to go with a more “screw you” persona on stage, this could be a good line to start with a real audience. “Hi, I have an important show coming up later, Please don’t laugh at my jokes, so I could get my bad show out of the way.” 

0m32s I’m not sure if I should do one slow head turn from one side to the other, or dart back and forth like I just did. 

1m37s More emphasis on the word “own” 

3m15s I keep having an occasional word stumble happen… I need to figure out a way to play this off better and not ruin the flow. Or stop stumbling on words. 

4m07s Pause between “that takes” and “tubes”. 

4m12s This “shitty wall” is due to the fact that this open mic is in the basement of a Mexican Restaurant. Yes that’s how desperate comics are for stage time in New York City. 

6m01s Stretch out the words so that my head can turn the 180 degrees while I’m still talking. This time it only got 90 degrees before I was done with the sentence. 

6m14s Never say something is “new shit that’s gonna bomb at some point” even if that’s what you believe. One of the pro comics I know says to pretend that your new joke is your best joke and deliver it with that confidence, otherwise you’ll never know if the joke is any good and it can become a self fulfilling prophecy of sucky joke writing and telling. 

6m37s Say “Big Ben Comedy dot com” in a more Mr. Moviefone type of voice. 

6m50s I’m still experimenting with the last punch line. I’m not sure if “Big fraud dot come was already taken by…” should end as a) A jewish securities lawyer or b) Bernie Madoff. 

6m58s My favorite part about this terrible venue is how something always falls apart. I’ve been here three times. The mic stand broke twice and the mic wasn’t on another time. For some reason having an equipment malfunction is hysterical to me.

Overall: I only had one little minor word stumble and felt pretty comfortable on stage. Although there weren’t many laughs at this open mic, a few of the comics were smiling often.

Performance Critique 11: Jan 21B

I did two mics in one night as I wanted to get as much stage time as possible before doing the real show. This is another open mic.


2m15s More emphasis on the word “own”.

2m43s Wait until the laughing is done, even if there’s no reason they should still be laughing. A second round of contagious laughter could start.

4m14s It might work better to say “If you get up on stage right now and start making out with me, you got Huge Tubes”.

Overall: My pacing was good and I managed to look up most of the time. I’m not sure if I have less comments because this is the 4th video I’ve typed about in a row or if I was steadily improving throughout the week.

Performance Critique 10: Jan 21A

This is my first of two open mics on Jan 21. I’m trying to practice the same material as much as I can this week in preparation for my showcase. However, the showcase set is 7 minutes and most of the open mics are 5 minutes, so I’ve been changing up some of the jokes to make sure I practice all of them at least a few times.


0m44s “I just got over my New Year’s hangover” is also an awkward sounding transition to “my favorite part about New Year’s”.

2m00s I pointed a different guy, but the 82 year old comic thought I was talking to him and said “I should turn it down”. I wish his material was as good as some of the comebacks I’ve heard him use when other comics make fun of him about his age.

2m34s No need to say the words “repeat themselves”. I can just say “you notice certain dating personalities repeat themselves over and over”.

3m35s I need to make an expression that expresses “shock” better when I say “everyone in New York?”

3m53s I just wrote this last part of the joke and wanted to try it out. I shouldn’t stutter over words.

4m50s I’ve been toying with the idea of using the audience’s Christmas gift as my example when I talk to the dog, but I screwed up repeating the gift back to them this time.

6m08s Much better look after “that takes tits”

Overall: My pauses were much longer and more confident, and I didn’t look down after punchlines. I can see progress from Monday, but my delivery is still “too rehearsed” is the feedback I’m getting.

Performance Critique 9: Jan 20

This is my set at an open mic on January 20th. I was practicing the same material all week for a showcase on Thursday the 22nd.


0m25s Slightly longer pause before “for blind people”. And I’m talking faster than I should be.

0m35s “Happy New Year” is an awkward transition to “My favorite part about New Years”. I really like this joke and in order to be able to tell it from February to November, I need to either find a way for there to be a reason I’m talking about this in June, or change “new years” to a regular party.

1m12s Emphasize the word “own”

1m50s If the first person I ask about the dog gift didn’t get anything, talk to a second person and hope they did. It makes for a better transition to “people love their dogs”.

Overall: I stuttered in a few places, talked a little fast but I kept my eyes up after the punchlines much more often. I’m also getting less bothered by not getting laughs at an open mic.