Comedy Is Exciting!
So you started doing comedy on the regular! Good for you! I'm proud of you. This is a great endeavor that can lead to a lot of good things to add to your life. Whether you want this for a career or are just blowing off steam as a hobby after work you can get a lot out of this comedy thing.
But there are plenty of common mistakes almost everyone makes when starting out that would be good to avoid.
My comedy career started out as a stand up. I do both stand up and improv now. There are a few things I learned the hard way those first couple years doing stand up comedy.
I haven't made any major mistakes, and there are certainly more mistakes than the ones mentioned here. You would still save yourself and the people around you a lot of headaches if you avoid them.
6 Common Mistakes of Comedy Newbies
Rarely Performing I don't know how many times I've seen people who performed once every 2 months and got frustrated that they weren't getting better. It's because that's not enough to get stronger. You gotta do it every week. It will also show the people who book shows that you are taking this seriously.
Not Improving It gets super easy to treat comedy nights as just social hour. Comedians are the most fun people to hang out with! Also, performing is super fun! However, avoid the inclination to make it only about shooting the breeze. I've done this a ton, even on stage, and those were time periods where I didn't improve. I was being too lazy on stage cause "it's fun to goof off on stage and just chill with friends." I got frustrated when I didn't improve, though. Each time you go on stage should be fun, but you are also trying to be good at something. The better you get at it, the more fun you'll have. So definitely make the effort to improve, even if this is just a hobby. It's a great thing to get the most out of your hobby!
Being a Jerk This should be obvious, but boy have I come across a couple of people who didn't seem to understand that being a jerk isn't advantageous. Jerks who were oblivious that they were the problem. Be a nice person, in general, but especially with people you'd potentially work with in the future. Do you want to sit in a long car ride with some jerk? No. Would you book someone on a show if they were unprofessional, rude, or difficult? Of course not. So why be a jerk? It has zero benefits. Also, don't be the jerk who never performs or supports shows but wants all of the opportunities. You earn opportunities. Burning bridges is burning away opportunities.
Calling Yourself a Comedian I am specifically referring to people who have done 3 open mics then changed their job description to "comedian" and created a Facebook fan page. You're an open micer. You don't get paid. You're basically an intern. A law firm's intern doesn't call themselves a lawyer. If you play pick-up basketball games you don't go around telling people you're a basketball player, do ya? Open mics are pick-up games. They say, "Don't put the cart before the horse." Creating a fan page would be to buy a cart before you even have a horse.
Inviting Everyone to Every Open Mic I know open mic shows need an audience and you want to celebrate what you've been up to, but hear me out. Your friends can easily get burnt out hearing about or going to every open mic you're on so you have to proceed with caution. Save your invites for the big shows. Your first open mic is a big show. Your 8th - 35th? Not so much. So many people have gotten their friends to come out to insignificant shows that their friends stopped coming out. Invite people to the big milestones like your first time or when you are opening on a showcase or big show. Then just tell people that you started doing comedy and let them ask when to come out. Once you start featuring or headlining you'll have friends who haven't been burned out and would love to see you. You'll retain more of your audience this way.
Annoying People About Your Shows You should network with other comics so you can find out all you can, but be sure not to inundate people with stuff online. No one wants you to tag them in a Facebook post that has nothing to do with them. That's using Facebook wrong. It is not networking. Post your announcement and let people see it or not. If you think people are annoyed with event invites, wait until you tag them in the comments every time you have a show. That is a really good way to get on people's "unfollow" list. Then they'll never see your shows. Keep postings about shows simple. Make an announcement once or twice before the night of the show and leave it at that. If you have multiple shows a week post something that announces all of them at once. Easy peasy.
It's not the end of the world if you've done any of these. Even people who have burned bridges eventually grew up and started getting opportunities.
If you're starting out, though, it would be good to avoid these things I've done or seen first hand.
Back to work, everybody!