So you've got some jokes, right? Think you can make people laugh? Then you might find this list we've compiled, of the most prominent comedy open mics in D-FW, particularly useful. We've also got local comedy guru Dean Lewis to share his thoughts on not only the venue but the best escape route from each one.
Head out on the highway and sign up to deliver some of your hilarious truth bombs on a public that simply isn't ready for them. Just bear this in mind -- if you don't know what you're doing, it's going to go badly. Really, really badly. Just keep at it, okay? I believe in you. We all believe in you. Only the other day I was telling someone how great you would be at this.
We all bomb, champ. It's how we take the bombing that matters.
The Tavern On Main Street, 115 East Main Street, Richardson. Mondays at 8:30 p.m. Who's the boss? "I'm in charge," says host Bryan Rakestraw. What's the crowd like? Twenty comics, and about the same number in the crowd. Any prizes? A monthly cash prize of $100-$300. Describe your open mic to newbies. "It's the longest running open mic in DFW's history for a reason," Rakestraw says. "Local and visiting comics come out to work out their new stuff and retool their old material. Non comics get to see how a comic develops a joke as it's common for other comics in the audience to ask questions of the person on stage or throw out a good tag to the joke -- all in an effort to workshop the bit. Dean's Thoughts: (I heard from one comic that the audience is entirely other comics waiting their turn, and that he found the room "tepid.")
"It is argued that it would be better if other comics didn't watch your set because a non-laughing judgmental person is something to be avoided," Lewis says. "This is the way an amateur thinks."
"True, a person not laughing isn't desirable, but the more butts in the seats the better the energy in the room. Also if someone looks inside the club, it always looks better if there is a big crowd. Also, Tavern on Main is incredibly close to 75. You could be accelerating away from the furious mob of comedians whose material you stole within seconds, never to return."
Dallas Comedy House, 2645 Commerce Street. Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Who's the boss? Landon Kirksey is in charge. "The best microphone voice in all of the land," says DCH instructor and comedian Amanda Austin. "But don't ask him to move you up on the list, unless you have the entire series of the TV show COPS you can permanently loan him." What's the crowd like? "It's open mic," Austin says, "so the only normalcy is that everyone is a human. It's a melting pot of comics and the crowd is even more diverse, so everyone fits in. (Legally, those humans have to be 18 years of age to get in). It gets the unofficial vote (is there an official vote for this?) for comics' choice for favorite open mic room, so they all end up here on Tuesday night." Any prizes? "Self-fulfillment. The pricelessness of laughter. A very reasonable bar tab. No cash prize, though. Everyone here is already rich and famous, they're just here for the 16oz Miller High Life and the ritual Adairs after party. Describe your open mic to newbies. Doors open at 7 for happy hour. ($3 Wells/$3 domestic/$4 wine). We're nestled right between every amazing dive restaurant that has survived the continuous inevitable rise and fall of our quirky, artsy neighborhood. It's a laid back, fun, FREE night where you can nerd out on comedy, nerd out with comedians, nerd out on beer, or make out with all of the above." Dean's Thoughts: "A really great venue, but being on Commerce presents some problems. The parking is across the street and if you're being followed by a mob furious about your routine on why women in Texas look like Jerry Jones after they climax, nothing is more of a hassle then looking for a break in traffic while waiting to cross the street. Second, once you get into your vehicle, Commerce Street has so many stop signs and SUVs being driven by hipster wannabes from Plano window shopping tattoo parlors, you're never going to make a quick get away. Awesome room, but a speedy escape is a fantasy."
Arlington Improv, in the Highlands shopping center, I-20 Matlock. Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Who's the boss? Owner Trey Belew and comic Patrick Stephens. What's the crowd like? Between 30-40 comics, 30-60 in the audience, a mixed younger crowd. Any prizes? "It opens the opportunity to get noticed by an owner and/or a celebrity headliner that comes through weekly," Stephens says. Describe your open mic to newbies. "The vibe of the Improv open mic is high energy with an MC, host, and DJ. Come listen to artistic minds try out on the main stage in the showroom." Dean's Thoughts: "The granddaddy of all comedy clubs. For 50 years they've launched the careers of everyone you think of when you think of somebody who is funny. And while the club is right next to Highway 20, getting out of the Arlington Highlands center is no easy task. This is a lifestyle center my people! This place is designed to be a place where its visitors can work, play, dine and stay!
"You may get through your set, where you talk about what it would be like if John Wayne was in a gay marriage with George W. Bush, you may even make it out to your Prius before the cantankerous crowd has lit their torches and sharpened their pitchforks, but getting out of a parking lot filled with people who just completed eating at P.F. Changs, shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond and just finished getting their chakras balanced at Massage Envy is just not going to happen.
"So high marks for having the prestige and history, but the Arlington Improv is not going to get higher marks until they find a way to keep a path to the Highway 20 open at all times."
Hyena's Comedy Nightclub, 5321 East Mockingbird Lane. Next to the Angelika Theater in the West Elm Plaza. Wednesdays at 8 Who's the boss? Patricia Sweeney, host What's the crowd like? "Eh, everyone and anyone who comes in. It's eclectic and they're awesome," Sweeney says. Any prizes? No prize Describe your open mic to newbies. "If you like funny this is where to find it," Sweeney says. We forgive her. Dean's Thoughts: "A classic stand up club! Patricia Sweeney runs the show with an understanding of how to make the show strong, probably because she is also a comic and knows all the bothersome problems that need to be avoided.
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"The biggest plus is this club not only has quick access to North Central Expressway, but is also located walking distance from a a DART rail station. Two ways to duck out before an angry crowd chases you down and complains about your pro-Obama and why evolution is correct and the bible is wrong bits.
"Rumor has it Patricia also runs an open mic night on Monday nights, 9 p.m. at the Whiskey Girl Saloon in the Fort Worth Stockyards."
Backdoor Comedy (inside the Doubletree Hotel), 8250 N. Central Expressway, Thursdays at 8:30 Who's the boss? The producers/owners of the club are comics Jan Norton and comic Linda Stogner, who run the open mic as well. What's the crowd like? "The crowd is always a diverse crowd, a mixture of races and different ages," Stognar says. Call the club for sign up and more info, 214-328-4444. Any prizes There is no prize. Just stage time. Describe your open mic to newbies. "The Backdoor is a small, intimate room, and audiences and comics are friendly and supportive," Stognar says. It lasts two hours and is done by about 10:30 p.m. Dean's Thoughts:"Jan Norton and Linda Stogner have run the best Open Mic room for decades. They have been in many different venues in many locations. They were once at a pizza place near Northwest highway, then they were at a restaurant on Greenville Avenue and they were also at Ad Libs in downtown Dallas.
"As well as always running a great Open Mic with a tendency to develop the best parts of clean young comics, the problem with all the previous venues was that they were far from highways with quick escapes routes. Have you ever had a bad set and then tried to get away quickly while on Greenville Avenue? You might as well try to find a summer blockbuster that doesn't feature a superhero or Will Smith or one of Will Smith's kids. Now that they are right next to Central Expressway, they are now arguably the best Open Mic in DFW. After your set, pull out onto the service road and travel north past Walnut Hill. Your escape is only seconds away!"