Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily: Open Mic Night at Acme Comedy Company

We went to the Acme Comedy Company‘s Open Mic Night, which takes place every Monday at 8:00 p.m. and costs zero dollars.

Full disclosure: We actually totally did this several weeks ago in an attempt to be more punctual with our columns, then forget to actually write the column before Art went on a trip to New York City. Sorry.

Art’s Part

I will always feel a sort of obligation to, if nothing else, applaud a person doing standup comedy at an open mic night. It takes balls to do it. (I’ve done it three times in my life and enjoyed it twice.) Balls, I tell you. Even ladies, they must go to the doctor and have balls attached and go through hormone therapy to do standup comedy.

There’s just one problem: you don’t need to be funny to have balls.

Let me tell you: yes, you will be uncomfortable in your chair when the first “comic” goes (quotation marks are warranted), for the show organizers put the new people at the top of the order. This person will not be funny. He will come off like he thinks you should think he is funny—which, if you can tell this much, is already a major obstacle overcome. But he still won’t be funny.

But as you drink and the comics drink, they become steadily better.

This betterment is not just due to consumption. Many of the comics who perform the open mic nights are professionals or semi-professionals and are doing the open mic to try out new or reworked material in a “safe” (there can be booing) environment. This is a big hooray for the rest of us, because we get to see two very unique things for free: people volunteering to be a train wreck for our enjoyment and some comics who are really onto something. And then more comics who aren’t.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Acme Comedy Company claims to be one of the top five comedy clubs in America, so the professional and semi-professional comics you see are not milquetoast or jackassy (most of the time)—these are people with truly unique ideas and some pretty great jokes. And because it’s generally the same comics from week to week, it’s possible you’ll hear the same joke twice. However, the jokes you do hear more than once will be the good ones.

Emily’s Part

Art is a bit more of a comedy connoisseur than I am, and when we first arrived he warned me that the people who had never participated were forced to perform first, meaning that things would probably start out a little shaky and improve from there.

And boy, did the first person up bomb.

This was only made worse by the gist of his first bit being, “Why would someone ever have stage fright? What’s the worst that could happen?”

Umm . . . you?

Oh, and his language. I did not like it. And it’s not that I’m a prude. I think a well-placed f-bomb can truly enhance a joke that’s actually funny.

Screaming obscenities when you’re not being funny though? Sort of uncomfortable. And a little scary.

Oh, and he also told a really long joke about pooping that wasn’t funny. Again, something that can be funny but is really uncomfortable when it’s not.

So anyway, just as I was about give Art an evil look for bringing me to this place (I was also in a hormonally-induced foul mood), the second comic came on and WAS funny! And so were the third and fourth!

And then I was reminded of that fact that it’s a night of free entertainment and maybe I should loosen up a little about the occasional suckage.

It’s all part of the charm.

So anyway, I guess I should write about the people I did think were funny. But the problem is that I wasn’t a good little reporter and didn’t bring a notebook, so I don’t remember anyone’s names.

Actually, that’s a lie. I do remember Mary Mack, but that’s because she was wonderfully and quite memorably weird and because she shares a name with a children’s song to which I used to jump rope.

If I wanted to write about the other performers, I’d have to make up names for them like Hipster Moustache Dude, Air Force Lesbian and Ultra Minnesotan Accent Bug Lab Lady. And that just seems like a lot of work even though those are really good stage names and I would totally contact them and tell them they should use them if I could only remember what their names were.

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