Darryl Orr is a Toronto-based stand-up comedian originally from Trenton, ON. Now, 3 to 4 years into telling jokes, intocomedy asked the 2010 Cream of Comedy finalist to write a column about the life of a comedian in our fair city. We’re pleased to announce this new regular (biweekly?) feature, “Ready Orr Not.” Enjoy!
Greetings, The Internet, from the Real World. My name is Darryl Orr and I have been asked by Mikey to type this blog or something describing what it’s like to be a stand up comedian in Toronto. Mikey and I both felt that the facts that I have never done a professional standup gig, I barely have three minutes of material to scrape together, and I have no writing experience whatsoever (as illustrated by these sentences) make me an ideal candidate for this blog dealie.
I guess the only people to whom I am qualified to describe being a standup are people who have never tried it before ever. So to all others I say stop reading now. To the rest of you who are still reading, keep reading. I feel that there are a lot of false rumours floating around amongst non-comics (or “nomics” as we in the business call you and by we I mean me and by me I mean my mom and dad) about what is involved in “doing” “standup.” So to quash, or possibly fortify, some of these rumours here are the first in a series of tips for “doing” “your” “first” “stand” “up” “set.”
First Tip: Getting Stage Time
Contrary to rumour and speculation, getting stage time is the easiest part of starting standup. First, find out where there is a comedy show in your neighbourhood. Go to this show and sit in the front row. Stare deep into the hosts eyes and do not laugh at all. If he/she tells a joke that doesn’t get a very big reaction out of the crowd, cross your arms and make that “pfft” farting sound with your mouth. Then elbow the person next to you and say in a clear voice, so that the host can hear you, “That wasn’t funny.” If no one is sitting on either side on you, turn around, cup your hands around your mouth, and yell “THAT WASN’T FUNNY!” Keep doing this for the rest of the host’s set otherwise he/she won’t respect you. As soon as he/she is finished follow him/her back to the back of the room or backstage if necessary and immediately ask him/her for a spot on that night’s show (this he/she him/her his/hers business is getting tiresome so from now on I am just going to say him because I’m sexist). Start by clapping the host on the back really hard, then say “Great set!” while rolling your eyes to let him know that you didn’t really think it was all that great. Again this all to make you seem more confident in the hosts eyes. You could even try to hug and kiss the host if you like, particularly if I am the host and you are a pretty lady. This is Darryl’s wife typing now. If any of you hug and kiss Darryl I’ll kill you. He never proof reads so he’ll never know I added this. If any of you tell him I’ll kill you. Back to Darryl. Next, ask for a set on that night’s show. Try to ask in a manner that suggests that you already know that the answer is yes. When the answer is no, don’t be afraid to cry, beg, bribe, and so forth. There is a good chance that the host will tell you to email him for future spot. This would be a good time for a punching. One solid shot to the kidneys should get you a spot on that night’s show, really show him who’s boss. However, if the host fails to double over in agony but instead takes the punch with little to no discomfort at all, run. You can always email him for a spot when you get home. Repeat this process until you have you set. You’re welcome.
Well that’s it for the first tip. Your assignment is to go out and book a stand up set. In the next installment I will tell you how to write jokes, the easiest part of starting stand up comedy. If your first stand up set takes place before my next blog is published just go on stage and talk about you life and stuff or whatever. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about attitude. Give the audience the finger a few times and at the end of you set drop the mic on the stage and kick it towards the nearest, oldest lady. Remember: ATTITUDE! I look forward to meeting and hugging and kissing many of you in the clubs. This is Darryl’s wife again. You can’t see me but I am making the finger across my throat gesture indicating what I will do to you if I find out Darryl was hugged and kissed. Consider yourselves warned. Here’s Darryl again. Good luck and good luck.
You can Follow Darryl Orr on Twitter @fishinadarryl