Why You Should Go See Live Standup

Filmed comedy does not compare to live comedy, just like filmed music concerts do not to compare to the live shows. During a live performance, you can feel the energy in the room, the energy the comedian uses to fuel their jokes. You get wrapped up in the laughter of the room, enjoying the ride along with everybody else. It is an experience unlike many others.

Comedy gives us a release from the bullshit of everyday life. What kind of detrimental damage are we doing to our psyches by taking every goddamn thing so seriously? When your life’s falling apart, your relationships are crumbling, and you've lost your job, what else are you going to turn to? Drugs? Sex? Yeah, probably. But comedians have already done these things and decided they weren’t enough. That’s why they had to turn to comedy: to even out the despair. Let them do the work for you.

We go through life feeling like we have to act or be a certain way. We can’t say or do certain things because they’re not “acceptable” by society. Do we convince ourselves that these societal standards are our own as well? I’m not sure exactly how far we take it as individuals, but one thing is clear: Nobody on the stage acts normal. If they did, they wouldn’t have gigs.

Image via  Flickr  by  madpropstheatre

Image via Flickr by madpropstheatre

Being silly releases endorphins. I don’t know this for a fact, but I feel like it’s true. Running releases endorphins. Laughing releases endorphins. So if you’re being ridiculous, that probably releases hormones too? For those of you who don’t know what endorphins are, they’re your body’s own little heroin hormones it creates to make you feel good and reduce pain. Like, exactly what you would need if you were overwhelmed.

Comedy is a way to let loose that can make you think. It’s a way to let loose that can also make you feel like a six-year-old when the person on stage talks about farting and you just completely lose it.

Comedy forces you to use your imagination without you even realizing it. It’s almost like somebody making you read without realizing it, but not quite as dark as that.  I haven’t read a book without realizing it before, but I imagine it would be a painful experience.

According to Quora, which is unreliable, there are over 100,000 comedians working today. Why do so many people want to put their livelihood on the line to entertain us? Are they compelled? At the end of their rope? According to the same Quora answer with 9 upvotes, non-famous comedians can often earn up to six figures. Damn, is this common knowledge? Do other non-famous entertainers make similar amounts of money? Some of them probably do.

Either way, they’re doing work. Let’s support them. Especially if it’s somebody we like. Especially if they’re one of the non-famous, non-six figure earning comedians out there. Because who else is going to help launch their career other than their first fans?

No One Cares, Be Funny: A Harvey's Comedy Club Review

Welcome to the Thunderdome, Funny Guy

You need to have your game face on when you are working at Harvey’s comedy club. The room is big, the ceilings are high, and the crowd can be a bit “unruly”. It’s a throwback to the comedy boom that I am way too young for, and some of the dated headshots on the wall act as tombstones for careers of people you’ve never heard of. Harvey’s is in the business of filling seats and serving drinks and in the process they have given stage time to a lot of really talented people. For that we need to give credit where credit is due.

Harvey’s comedy club has made me become a way better comic than I was when I started working for them. It is also one of the rough edges of the Portland comedy scene. One of the very few rough that I am aware of. I have I to say, for a city that prides it self on being weird and speaking nostalgically about what a dirty, grimy, sin town, it used to be, we really seem to want to nerf the world when it comes to comedy.

Disclaimer :

Yes there are bad parts about the coked up, bar room, probably white mail comic talking about his dick that some people reading this think I’m about to advocate for. Yes, some mics are breeding grounds for people to espouse nonsense and quasi, or out right racist garbage under the guise of being “edgy”. I get it, those things suck, and that’s not what I mean.

Back to the Story:

What I’m talking about is comedy for people who just want to laugh, or better yet the people that need a laugh. The razzing, holding-court style, ball busting comedy that at its core is based out of love. Not every joke is life changing and compelling. A lot of jokes are pure hack nonsense, and that’s okay. Not every joke has to appease the comedy nerds of the world. There is a place for comedy for a normal person on a Friday night that had the choice between going to a movie or going to see stand up.

Say what you will about the hack stuff the average person will laugh at, it’s the casual audience that allows comics to make a living while building their own niche audience. Its also the casual fan that laughs at something that as a new comic you thought was brilliant, but that you would now look down upon and cringe. It’s a rough road learning to do standup. Some nights crush your soul. Those laughs you may or may not have earned are vital sips of water in a desert of failure that is the first few years on stage.

Why Do I Like Harvey’s?

Why do I like Harvey’s? I like it because it's raw and its real. I was lucky enough to snag a guest set last week on the Friday night late show. I arrived at the transition between the 7 pm and 10 pm show. Introduced myself to the other comics and thanked them for sharing the stage with me. As I walked up front to speak with the manager of the club he greeted me, pulled the phone away from his ear, covered the mouth piece and called out across the emptying room “Do we still need that ambulance!”, he then shook my hand and casually continued his conversation with dispatch. Sounds like we’re ready for the late show !

Everyone has different reasons for enjoying standup. For me, stand up started as a way to appease a really chaotic home life. When you grow up with one parent that’s ready to turn the world into a war zone at any moment, it pays to come up with a plan. Turns out that even a drunken bipolar person will have a hard time holding on to anger through laughter.

The enjoyment of laughter is universal, so much so that “good sense of humor” is a top attribute that hot girls on bumble that don’t match with me list on their bios. If Harvey’s were a little league coach he would for sure have a flask in his pocket, and if you were hurt the extent of your medical treatment would be to “walk it off”. People paid money to see you. Some things could be better, but tough shit. Go out and do your job. It's not something you want to hear every day, but right now in my generation we need to hear direct stuff like that more often than we currently do. So remember comedians, no one gives a shit, go be funny!

by Joe Dimeo