This is how I like to MC. I’m not saying your wrong if you do it a different way, It’s just my style. So don’t jump me in the comments or in real life on how you prefer to do only new stuff when you MC a gig. (This has been said to me by two different stand-up’s, how they use MC’ing to do new stuff. They don’t MC that much anymore.)
1. Starting Places.
Make sure all the acts know when they’re on and how long they got. Especially if you’re dealing with newer people. Stress how important it is not to go over their time. Let them know you’re going to Flash when they got two minutes left. Also, more experienced acts might try to take the piss, don’t be afraid to threaten their life and the ones they love if they go over there time. Remember we have no union or human resources department in comedy.
2. Hot Start.
Try to start on time. I have seen the audience grow annoyed because the MC is waiting “another” five minutes in the hope of bus load of people might come in. You just end up pissing off the people who were there on time. If it’s a small crowd just go for it. Don’t keep bringing up how small they are or how awful this gig going to be due to how few of them they are. (Yes this has happened to me. I was on first and the MC was clearly annoyed that the gig went ahead with a small crowd and just blamed them for it. Can you guess how the gig went?)
3. The Heavy lifting.
I feel your job is to get all the boring stuff out of the way. Starting with how the format going to work (It could be someone first time to a comedy club), the house rules (No talking, being on your phone, trying to contact the dead) and do crowd work (where is everyone from/what do you work at etc).
I only like to do 7-10 minutes off the top. Not chatting to everyone but a few just to get the ball rolling. I have been there as an audience member where the MC takes 20 minutes going through everyone asking the same questions. I feel it drains a crowd. Don’t forget your on all night, you can get talk to people later on.
4. That awkward bit.
I always find after the first act the crowd takes a mini break. Some run to the loo or to grab a drink. It’s up to you to kill that five minutes till everyone settles back in. This can happen at any stage of the night so be ready for it. You don’t want to bring an act on to a room that’s in flux. Wait till there back and focused on you. It can be hard going up after a really bad comedian (Usually a young man talking about wanking & abortion. I have no idea why but this always seems to be the case.) But try to get the room fired up. I like to piggy back off what a comedian has talked about in their set, to give the night a more conventional flavor.
5. Bits and Bob’s.
Anything you can do to break the ice is a good idea. Taking a group photo (People love getting their picture taken unless they’re a vampire or Dorian Gray). Don’t forget to thank the bar staff, the acts and most importantly the audience at the end of the night.
I also hope you never have to do a raffle. I had to do one once. It dragged the whole night down. This lad called Barry won the main prize. A signed copy of “The Commitments” by Roddy Doyle. He then told us he couldn’t’ read. We then gave him the second prize “The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit” Boxset. He then said he didn’t have a DVD player. I said you’re taking the third prize no matter what. It was a fifty euro gift voucher for the local hairdresser. Of course, Barry had to be bald.
The cover picture is of me being drunk and trying to be sexy. I was successful at neither.
Come see me at:
The WoolShed, Parnell Street, Dublin. August 14th from 9.00pm.
The Bowery, Rathmines Rd, Dublin. August 21st from 9.00pm.
The Battle of the Axe, Temple Bar, Dublin. September 7th. 9.30pm. Where I will be MC’ing. So you can sit at the back with your arms folded and judge my MC’ing for yourself. Please don’t do this as it will lead to a bad atmosphere.