The performing arts scene in Charleston starts and ends with two things; the Charleston Light Opera Guild and live local music. Music is always a great fit in bars, because they can turn up the sound and people can act like people in bars do. They get drunk, make noise, and have a good time. Crowds know this, and they can just proceed as they normally would and things are great. People going to see the Light Opera Guild are paying $20-$25 per ticket in a theater (usually the Clay Center) and with that price, you're only going to get people who really want to see the show and they are on their best behavior, because to truly enjoy community theater like this, you have to. Stand-up comedy doesn't really fit this bill.
We do stand-up at the same prices bands charge you to play music, which seems to hover around $5 a person for a cover. In other words, low enough that people are willing to roll into a show and act as if nothing is going on. Jokes are not like songs. Any song, even if it's a terrible one, has that hook that you can catch while you're talking loudly and not really paying attention, but a good joke can't be treated that way. If you're going to a comedy show, try to show the comedian respect. They are up there joking and acting like they are comfortable on stage, but we really aren't. I've been doing this for a while now, and while I'm very comfortable on stage, I'm still performing an act.
We don't want to call out loud people and hecklers...ever. It may seem like it's part of our act to get angry and yell back and forth with a loud patron of the bar, it's not. If somebody is annoying you by talking too much, they are annoying us as well. If you tell somebody, even loudly and slightly interrupting the show, to shut up, you're trying to hear the joke, even if the comedian says something smartass to you, they still appreciate, and may even buy you a drink after the show. If it's a friend of yours making noise, subtly try to get them to be quiet, if they are drunk and won't cooperate, take them home. That's obnoxious as well.
Now, if you want to see what you think of comedy shows, there a few free shows you can attend. Check out Mojo's every other Thursday night. Tommy Mac hosts a live free show there that is an open mic. With open mics, you get guys trying it out for the first time. Andrew Bess is doing some funny sets over there, and he's only been doing comedy for about a month. I have been doing comedy for a while, and I use it to experiment. I just bombed last week there. I tried to do political humor in a bar that was apparently really not into politics. Live and learn. You also get Charleston's best group of comedians performing regularly, such as my Tall Boy teammates (can I call them teammates?), Andy Frampton and Jacob Hall. It's an open mic, don't be that asshole who wants to make comments the whole set, yes it's an open mic, but that word mic there is key. If you don't have the microphone in your hand, shut up, unless the comedian is looking for a crowd response.
The same goes for the free show I am putting on at Fireside Bar and Lounge tomorrow night. They are paying me a little so that you guys don't have to pay a cover so I can not lose money. Don't kid yourselves, I don't make a penny off of shows like these. That check may seem like income, but this website, my email server, and my Facebook ads aren't free. Since they are providing a service, show some respect to them as well. Cari does a great job behind the bar there (as does Jason at Mojo's), so buy a lot of drinks from them, and tip well. A happy bartender means a happy bar. They are literally trying to provide entertainment to you, for free.
This was basically a long winded rambling session that I could go on about for hours, but just a few things to keep in mind when watching local comedy in the upcoming months! I hope to see you all Friday night!