The Weekly Format: The Stand-Up Opening

NAME: The Stand-Up Opening

Any improviser who has tried their hand at/come from the world of stand-up comedy knows how hard it is to perform at a bad open mic. The crowd is a mix of drunkards who aren’t paying attention and/or heckling the comic (who is up there just trying to make them have a good time) and judgmental “colleagues” who feel the need to critique every small movement in your set. Or is that just me?
Three stand-up comics, through a mishap in scheduling, have been booked for the same time slot on the same night at the same venue. Rather than be polite to each other and try to make the best of the error, they undermine each other to win the spot from an unreceptive audience. Each one takes the mic in turn to try their set, but the other two begin loudly showing their disapproval and critique the performance. When each comic has had their turn, break to the sides and begin an improv set based on the information gathered.
It’s acceptable to use pre-written material in the stand-up opening, but I recommend completely improvising the stand-up routines to make sure the show is 100% different each time. Also, the comics are supposed to be bombing at an unforgivably terrible open mic venue, so if the routines are lame it adds to the atmosphere.