Performance Critique 8: Jan 19th

This is my set from an open mic on Jan 19th.

This is a different open mic than most in that you get multiple 3 minute segments, and you get a choice of “riff, rant, material or heckle”. Just in case you don’t know, a “riff” is when you talk about a subject off the cuff. At this mic, someone from the crowd throws out a word or phrase (i.e. beer, Obama, celery sticks) and the comic tries to say something funny about it. When you make a comment about the comic that went before you, that’s also called riffing. A “rant” is just going off about what bothers you. It’s usually not that funny, but isn’t your written material either. “Material” is any stand up you’ve written before hand and intend to say again. Riffs and rants can both be turned into material if they’re funny enough. This is the way some comics get all of their material (usually without the audience participation). “Heckle” is when an audience member says something to you while you’re doing your material so that everyone else in the crowd hears you. It can be a joke, an attempt at a joke, or sharing an opinion like “you suck”.

I started out wanting to practice my material for a showcase on Thursday Jan 22nd, but wound up doing some riffing and heckle practice as well. All of my sets for this week were very similar because I’m practicing the material I want to present when a club owner comes to watch me at the showcase. This means that I think these are my best jokes right now. Make of that what you will.

I’m posting 3 clips in one post because they were part of the same open mic. Also, there were about 5 puerto rican comics in the room, so we were all playing off of each other’s material… so don’t think I’m a terrible person for a couple of my references to puerto ricans… but do know that I’m just a terrible person in general 😛


0m10s Don’t start material until after the mic stand is cleanly out of the way

0m15s If the volume feels that loud, get the mic further away from my mouth… this remains true for the whole set

0m20s Wait longer after giving the look of “what, you don’t think I should be a model?” Possibly mouth something to that affect.

0m55s Pause for one second longer after “creature in the corner”

2m29s At most open mics and all real shows, the MC will give you “the light” when you have one minute left. I knew I had to be close to having one minute left and didn’t see a light, so I asked. This isn’t a professional thing to do as the audience starts thinking about something other than what you’re saying. This is less bad at an open mic that consists of just other comics, but is better to avoid.

2m49s What other comics find funny and what an audience finds funny tends to overlap by about only 30%. This pulling out joke is part of the 70% that an audience wouldn’t find funny. If any reader wants to try to rewrite my little improvised joke into something the audience might find funny, I’ll try it out at a real show.

Part 2


0m39s Take longer pauses between punch lines to force the audience to laugh. Believe each punchline is funny. “You don’t send your kids to a spa” (wait 3 seconds) “And when you go on the second honeymoon, the kids don’t get a hotel, they get grandma” (wait 3 more seconds).

0m55s I stumbled over my words. This is why I try to practice out loud at home every day.

1m13s I looked down after the punchline. I’ve been consciously working on looking up after I deliver the punchline. I think looking down is a terrible body language cue that you don’t think your joke was funny.

1m33s I looked down again. I wish I could buy an electric collar that would produce mild shocks in me every time I looked down after a punchline.

1m50s Shock collar!

2m03s Give the audience 2 extra seconds to process “that takes tits” and look around at them, like “why the hell doesn’t anyone say that?”

2m53s Notice how I kept staring at the guy giving me heckling practice after I finished my comeback. Maybe I should just pretend I’m responding to heckles from the audience the whole time.

Part 3


0m24s Look at my hand when I say “the blabber” and maybe let the hand keep talking while I look at it for two seconds

1m45s I actually like being heckled. I’m not saying to come to my show to heckle me, but I have fun with it because I’ve always loved running my mouth and talking trash. What I hate is when people talk really loudly over your act instead of interacting with it. I’ll have a separate heckling post shortly.

2m19s I may have taken the whole improv concept of “Yes, and…” too far

Overall: I liked practicing responding to hecklers. I still sway too much on stage and can’t figure out a way to stop it, and while keeping my head and eyes up is getting better, it still needs work.

Please help me out by leaving a comment about whether the amount of swaying I do distracts you from hearing and processing the material.

Performance Critique #7: Jan 18

This is my set from an open mic on Jan 18.


My comments:

0m42s I’m not sure if my new version of the subway joke is working. I found that the audience would grown when the third crazy thing would be “a used condom over my ear” but they don’t seem to laugh about the crazy political mumblings. I need to keep writing and brainstorming “crazy signs”.

2m01s The “deaf audience” and “hearing aid” portion of the egomaniac joke work, the girls wanted to do me isn’t that strong

2m05s Try doing all 3 online dating jokes in a row

2m16s Stare straight and don’t move for 3 seconds after “again”, this joke takes people a little while to get

3m23s Never say “where was I?”

3m49s Instead of “and make me identify people” say “and make me identify her friends by name”

4m18s I put up one finger at the wrong time, fix the timing

Overall: I think I “sway” and look down when people aren’t laughing. This happens at open mics much more often than at audience shows because it’s harder to get laughs from other comics. I just need to keep working on maintaining positive body language at all times, no matter what. Basically, really embrace the mindset that if they’re not laughing, they’re deaf. Also, fix the subway joke.

Performance Critique #6: Jan 17

This was a bringer show with a good sized audience. If you’ve been following my videos, you’ll recognize a lot of the jokes, but notice how much better a real audience reacts compared to a room full of comics. This is why I’m trying to move away from open mics as soon as possible.


My comments:

First 27 seconds Again, my computer is too slow to edit videos, the quicker I get paid on a consistent basis, the quicker I’ll buy a new computer and edit videos for your viewing pleasure. I really like the introduction of “he’s adorable… and then he opens his mouth” because the audience is already laughing.

0m42s You can’t see it too well from the video angle, but I opened my mouth wide and pivoted my head. I should do this slower and make sure to rotate from all the way to the right of the room to all the way to the left of the room while my mouth is still open, then say “I’m still adorable”.

0m56s I gave the audience a look like “what you don’t think so?” which got extra laughs, I need to make sure to always do this

1m15s I think I can just say “happy new year” and go into the joke, no need to talk about the hangover.

2m12s Watching this video for the third time, I just realized how hysterical it is that I went from being sorry about my girlfriend to asking about dogs…

2m28s I should say “you send your dog to a spa” not “you send them to a spa” because I just referred to kids as well.

2m48s Keep my head up and looking into the audience when I go down to talk to the dog. I looked up halfway into the line, but should do it the whole way.

3m52s Finish the “sweater loving bastard” line but say it in a more low key way, like I’m resigned about the person.

4m12s This joke can be tightened by getting rid of all the extra and simply saying “I got into stand up because I’m an ego maniac who can’t share the spotlight. It was either this or tennis… and I can’t play tennis drunk.”

5m26s More emphasis on “three times”

5m31s Put up one finger for “only works once”

Overall: I think I had a great first 3.5 minutes. I’m not sure what I did wrong with the “recognizing faces” joke, as that bombed completely. I really like that joke (because it’s based on A LOT of truth) but need to rewrite it so the audience can identify with my problem better. I can’t tell if my eyes were looking up the whole time, but I did stop swaying.

Performance Critique #5: Jan 16

Due to the regular host being sick, I got the chance to host an open mic. This was my second hosting experience and I had a lot of fun. I only videotaped my introduction, but I tried to make jokes based off of each comic’s set, and I think it went pretty well. My favorite part was after someone complained I was giving very generic introductions like “he’s really funny”, etc, I started coming up with over-the-top fake introductions for the remaining comics. I think everyone enjoyed it. I also got the feeling that at an open mic, comics laugh more at your jokes when you’re hosting the mic.


My comments:

0m50s Stumbled on words a little.

0m55s More emphasis on “not being coy.”

2m24s Make sure to say “dot com” after “Big Ben Comedy.”

2m44s Make sure to say “dot com” after “Big Fraud”.

2m50s Try “by Bernie Madoff” instead of “by a Jewish securities lawyer.”

3m03s Use a girlier voice for “Let’s go over my place, but we’re not gonna have sex.”

3m40s No need to say “I’m gonna write about this” just go straight to “I’m gonna do stand up about this.”

5m30s Sorry that I attached a bunch of non-joke stuff at the end, I need a better computer to do proper video editing… so if you only wanna watch the jokes, tell your friends about my site and even better, come see a show.

Overall: Good job getting the audience clapping in the beginning and interacting with them. I still need to work on my side to side “swaying” (although I always stop for the punchline) and looking up at all times.

Performance Critique #4: Jan 14

Here is my set from an open mic on January 14th. As always, your feedback is welcome.


My comments:

0m15s Stare into the crowd longer to let the joke roll around. Also, consider moving the “it’s impossible to make a bad first impression” to the end of the entire “can’t recognize faces” segment.

0m27s Not sure if I should continue with the wrong words or stop myself like I did… either way, it’s best to use the right words the first time.

0m37s I keep looking down with my neck and eyes after every punchline. Does anyone have any tips or know any drills to stop this from happening?

0m57s Try putting more emphasis on “makeover”.

1m07s Take a pause between “Ben Rosenfeld dot com was taken” and “by a Jewish lawyer”.

1m21s After “child molester dot com” try saying “but I decided to go in a different direction” instead of “I want to do bar mitzvahs”.

1m32s First “big” should be in the same voice as the previous “big”s, second big should be drawn out “biiiig”.

1m51s Say “five bucks a pop” not “five bucks a piece”.

2m05s Received feedback that I should use the Jets instead, since the Giants at least made the playoffs. The feedback might be right.

2m17s Smile after “American Beauty” so the audience is sure that’s the punchline as this joke takes a few seconds to get.

2m30s Get rid of “I got winded going up the stairs today, I think I should join a gym” and go straight into the joke. This joke may not work because I’m not fat looking enough. Try it once more just in case.

2m48s I forgot my first punch line because I moved them around earlier. More practice needed.

3m17s Make “money” more drawn out like “mo-neeeeey”.

4m22s Other comics suggested I add onto the end of the Eli Manning joke. “He’d only hit half the nails.”

Overall: I really need to figure out a way to keep my eyes and head (chin) up at all times. I think I’m gonna remove the subway surfing joke because it takes too long to get to the semi-decent punchline. And I’m considering not using the women like gyms joke. My “not being able to recognize faces” (which is true, my girlfriend had to make a PowerPoint of what her friends look like) needs to be written clearer. I need to polish the website name joke because I want to end all my real performances with that joke as a way to get people to remember my website, go to it later, and start to build a following.

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