J. Cassidy Hits the Mics

No, I’m not dead.

I feel like I’ve started off a post with that before, but nonetheless, I am still alive.

But since it has been a while I figured I’d toss up a post just to let everybody know how I’m doing. I don’t have much topical stuff to talk about- and if I do, it’s in my act.

But, since moving here, I’ve done a mic at least once, every day, unless I’ve had work. This may sound corny as hell, but I’ve literally taken 0 days off. Even the days off I have, have been focused on writing, rehearsing, and, of course, mics.

So, what is a ‘mic?’ What the fuck does it take to become a comedian?

Well, since you asked, fictitious person of my own narrative imagination, I’ll tell you.

A ‘mic’ is a short term for an open-mic. An open mic means any asshole that’s willing to pay 5 dollars can get up, talk to a crowd of X amount of strangers, and do whatever they want. They can make jokes, tell stories, read poems, sing songs, or bomb.

Usually, people just fucking bomb.

Even though in most TV shows or movies, open mics have crowds of about 50, usually all audience members, TV is not close to reality, even slightly. Usually, an open mic is anywhere from 2 people to 20. In rare cases, you get to the 30 mark.

But those are so fucking long by person 19 you’re ready to slice off your own ear and never hear another word again.

And, most people leave a mic after they do their set. Because, everybody is self-centered and egocentric. Even comedians.

And really, who the fuck really wants to see anybody go up and talk about shit? Nobody. Nobody wants to listen to just anybody tell jokes. People want reliable people- people they can trust. People who won’t take advantage of them. Like Bill Cosby or Louis CK.

Maybe those were bad examples, but you get my point.

So how have these Mics been?

A learning experience. Truly.

So, you’re bombing?

Let me explain.

I’ve really only ‘bombed’ once. For me, bombing means you went up, choked a big dick, were trying to be funny and thought things were going to go well, but ended up going horribly.

Other times, I went up to intentionally do a long story, that I knew only had a few funny elements, but wanted to flush out. Other times, you know nobody is going to laugh because it’s 5 people and they’re all depressed, self-centered wannabe comedians. And the other-est of times, you’re just on super late and everybody is tired and most people have already left.

But, I have learned much in regards to what’s really funny. You see, in Jersey, people aren’t necessarily amish and desperately hoping for something to do- but it’s less eventful. New York City, however, has events happening all the time- everywhere.

Every time you want to go somewhere you run into the homeless, the deranged, and the musically-inclined. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, you see something else you never dreamed of. It’s constant, it’s overwhelming, but it’s New York City.

I saw a lady smoking a crack pipe by the subway station and was literally watching, looking at this homeless woman like she was the Eiffel Tower, or the Colosseum, or Lady Liberty.

A lady liberty smoking crack. Now there’s an idea.

And because there is everything, everywhere, all the time, it becomes so much more challenging to create something that grabs peoples’ attention. It’s even more challenging to maintain it.

So, for it to make people laugh, in a city where there’s so much funny shit on a regular basis, the jokes have to be on another level. I mean, there are people riding motorized unicycles with no shoes on blasting Cardi B. How the fuck am I supposed to top that?

In Jersey, I could tell a story about a stripper, say the word ‘dick’ a hundred times, or jump up and down like a monkey and I’d get laughs. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the dick thing wasn’t always a success, and I failed at stand-up out there plenty of times, too, but it’s different.

And, in retrospect, it’s way easier. I almost wish I could go back to the Stress Factory and crush it on another Wednesday open mic. But that wouldn’t be growing. It would be cocky and stupid and, who knows, maybe I’d end up bombing because I wouldn’t bring my A-game or my focus.

So, for now I’m chomping away at the mics. I have an audition for some comedy club out in Manhattan in November, and here’s hoping it goes decently well.

I will leave you all now with a picture of my mom.


Published by J. Cassidy Hawthorne

Writer. Former stand-up. Sommelier.

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