Stand Up Comedy: Year One

A little over two years ago, I met a man named Trevor. Our girlfriends at the time were friends and that was how we met. While they were rambling on in Japanese, we were joking around and talking about a variety of things that one wouldn’t remember two years later. One thing, though, that did stick with me was Trevor’s suggestion that I go out and try some open mic comedy.

I always knew I could be a funny guy at a party and had weird observations about my surroundings. I’ve had friends tell me, “Gosh! You’re really funny. You should do comedy,” but I always brushed it off as “yeah I’m just a goofy guy at a party.”

Trevor does a lot of musical stuff and helped out with music and such over at the Tokyo Comedy Store. He tried to convince me that I should sign up for an open mic slot at one of their shows. I thought about it, but again brushed it off. Ok, I might have chickened out a little too.

About a year later, I decided to just do it, even without a pair of Nike’s. I signed up to do two sets with Tokyo Comedy Store’s open mic night at Ben’s Cafe in Takadanobaba, Tokyo. Of course I was nervous, but my first three set went surprisingly well for a new guy. My second set was shit, and we don’t talk of it any more. Needless to say, I’ve been trying to go to Ben’s every month and do a set.

In May of last year a new comedy show was born in Tokyo. I missed the first show (I was busy dressed as a Stormtrooper and touring Northern Japan). I was given the chance to perform at the June Mad Cow’s Comedy at the Pink Cow in Shibuya, Tokyo. Things went alright there, and I performed a few times there in the following months.

I kept working on my material, and tried out a lot of different stuff. When I was in the states I did an open mic show in Athens, Georgia. It was cool to have a different audience than the ones in Tokyo.

When I got back to Japan, I continued to tweak and write new jokes and played around with some “characters.” After talking with many people, I wanted to get back to the vibe and attitude I had at my first performance at Ben’s Cafe. I dug out the old notes and started pulling out some of those ideas. Dave, the guy that runs the stand-up over at TCS, had commented, “The audience wants to like you. You’re fun to watch.” Others made similar comments and warned about alienating the crowd too much. The final result was a set that I enjoyed and the crowd enjoyed (hard to tell from the video from the table of talking people sitting behind my camera).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm1d4asFwo[/youtube]

There were still kinks to work out, but overall it was something to be proud of. I took the same approach that I did in December, and I wound up with a better set in January.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdgOEzn8lQ8&feature=related[/youtube]

There will be bad shows and gigs in the future, and I can’t wait for them to happen. They will suck a giant ass, but it will be something to learn from as well. Stay tuned, and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep abreast with new vids and junk.