Comic wannabes line up for QLive’s weekly open mic — and some shouldn’t

Posted on 21 Apr 2011 at 3:00pm

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

I like to think I’m pretty hilarious. I don’t boast about being funny, but I’ve teased some guffaws out of unlikely listeners, so I have some humor cred. Clearly, I could translate that into a stand-up comic career, right?

Um, now that wasn’t supposed to make you laugh.

Actually, the idea of going in front of a live crowd and trying to make them chuckle sounds like the most traumatizing thing I could ever attempt. Being caught by my mom in a half-awake morning whack-off would be more pleasant than cracking people up who paid their two-drink minimum. The emotional scarring would be equivalent.

But QLive gives gays the chance to do just that.

A new spin-off of the LGBT film festival QCinema, QLive offers up live theater and performances — and a open mic comedy, which recently went from monthly to weekly at the new Fort Worth club Percussions. And for veteran yukmeisters, apparently that works.

“I have to say, this is the best room I’ve ever performed at,” says Alison Egert, a regular at the event who proves that lesbians can be funny. I enlisted Egert to give me advice before I contemplate either making an ass out of myself onstage — or staging the most brilliant comic debut ever (less likely).

Egert is fairly new to the scene herself. Her first standup set was at an open mic at the now-defunct Hyena’s last October. By the end of January, she had scored a paying gig. Cha-ching! Visions of my student loans dwindling floated in my head. Maybe I should give this funny business some serious thought. The challenge would be getting my nerve in the first place.

“You just have to remember that you’ll never be as terrible as that first night,” she advises. “It doesn’t get worse than that, so you just keep going. If you get a laugh that first time, that’s a good [start].”

Gay audiences are definitely the way to go. Perhaps because it’s not a comedy club per se, Percussions lend itself to a less intimidating environment. An audience is expecting to laugh at The Improv, and hecklers there are a given; gays in a club just want cocktails and if open mic comedy is on the menu, then bring it on. Can’t be worse than karaoke.

But then, they haven’t seen me yet.

“For whatever reason, the customers there can laugh at themselves,” Egert says. “We can get away with more and push the envelope. That’s good because it even some hetero comics like that they can do that there.”

Straights? Ewwww.

The rules at QLive’s open mic are simple: I get five minutes, max, to be hella-funny. But the QLive folks don’t make it easy to wanna get up to the mic. “These rules are in place to protect you, but more importantly, the audience, who bore easily and probably hate you.” Yikes! I’m not exactly giddy with excitement to put myself out there. Even their restrictions to make this a comedy-only night are deflating: This is comedy, people — no lip-syncing ladyboys, no poetry slamming hipsters, no guitar-strumming douchbags, unless you’re funny.

Or maybe I’m just finding excuses to psych myself out.

I hear that I should always just be myself and experiment with that to see what works. The thing is, I’m not sure being myself translates into becoming the next Adam Sandler. Comedians always seem to have the funniest personal stories. Even Egert has them — about being raped by a parrot, or funny things her mom says.

The closest I have is explaining email attachments to my dad. Hardee-har-blah.

What Egert unknowingly has taught me is you can be just as funny on Twitter. I see this as an ideal situation, of course. Why do standup when you can do sit-down?

She gives lovely gems on her feed at AlisonIsFunny such as: “Eharmony matched me w/uglies. Reason?” “Based on your personality these are only ppl w/self esteem low enough to put up with your crap.”

But she tells me otherwise. Dammit.

“Just get on stage as much as possible and maybe take a comedy class,” she suggests. “Pay attention around and notice the silly things. If you’re making other people laugh, use it. You don’t necessarily have to write a joke about something specific.”

I wholeheartedly want to believe this and so I’ll try my hand at it right here, right now.

“Knock-knock.…”

Hello? … Hello? Anybody?

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