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Resource: Great Article About Chicago Open Mike Scene

January 21, 2011

This Friday I wanted to point you toward a great article written by a comic who I have had the pleasure of chatting with via email named Emerson Dameron.

It’s called Laugh Quest: A Week at Chicago’s Comedy Open Mics, and definitely worth a read.

Aside from being a useful resource for new comics based out of Chicago, Emerson’s analysis of his open mic scene was interesting as well. I enjoyed reading about the characters he met on his journey, and despite living in a different country hundreds of miles away, many of them felt strangely familiar to me.  I was moved by his description of what he called the “outlier,” stand-up comics who are just a hopeless trainwreck onstage:

“Having frequented open mics for years, I find myself caring less and less about the performer’s intentions. I think that “bombing,” a collapse of the performer-audience feedback loop, is, whatever its cause, always its own form of performance art.

I can only speak for myself, but comedians strike me as a generally unhappy bunch, gravitating to comedy for lack of a more dignified calling, attempting to make sense of their frustrating lives and spin shit into gold. I look to comedians to make me laugh at my own depression and fear, but sometimes witnessing depression and fear in their raw form can be just as affecting.”

Something to think on for sure.  Thanks Emerson!

And just so we don’t get too serious on a Friday, here’s a clip of Nick Swardson doing his thang (thanks John Hastings for pointing this guy out)

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