I walked into Tom Tom’s Coffee house, in Pasadena, CA, last Saturday to grab a cup a coffee only to be moved by Nostalgic feelings when I noticed that they are having an open Mic night. That’s were musicians and artist come to play a song or two or do poetry to an audience comprised of other musicians and artists that want them to get off the stage so that they can perform.
I did hundreds and hundreds of these coffee house open Mic nights. I remember at times, they had 2 or 3 people in the audience and almost all of them were performers. Other times, there were two or three qualified audience members but they left following the performance of the musician that came right before me. I used to sit in the back of the room and beg quietly: “ Please don’t go. I’m funny. I will make you laugh if you only stay.” But they always did leave before my 3 minutes of comedy.
Many of the comedians that were there left and never went on stage. Their excuse: There were no real audience in the room. What’s the use of performing to other entertainers who are not listening?
I did, and performed at every opportunity and kept my ego in check since I knew I had to perform to get better. And when I did get my opportunity to do the Open Mic nights at the real comedy clubs, I was ready with funny material.
Perseverance works. I had three jobs at the time and one of them was full time. I worked 7 days a week to make a living and still made time to do 1 or 2 open Mic nights each day. I can number many comedians that started with me in these Hell Gigs as we call them, who didn’t feel the need to perform, are still in their day jobs wishing they could do comedy full time. Perseverance works and when you want something so bad and you’re willing to work hard for it, most likely you can achieve it. I haven’t done an open-Mic in 20 years. I don’t have to. I get paid well to do what I love to do, and I give the credit to perseverance and God of course. The only reason I’m writing this long blog is to encourage people to persevere.