Hello. My name is Mike Flynn, as you can probably tell by that little line of text that says “by Mike Flynn.” But I digress. (Wow. Digressing within the first three sentences? That is some lazy writing. But I digress.) I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for a year and a half, and it’s evolved into one of the all-consuming passions of my life. (Hey, it’s better than crack, right?) As I edge closer and closer to the much sought after year-and-five-months milestone, I’ve found myself in a reflective mood, thinking about some of the major moments of my comedy not-even-close-to-career.
I perform stand-up for the first time at the LOL ROFL Comedy Club mass meeting. I tell a joke that gets no laughs. I tell another joke that gets no laughs. I begin to tell a third joke, but I forget the punchline. Doesn’t matter. It likely would have gotten no laughs.
Naturally, I return the following week.
I tell an AIDS joke at a Metal Frat open mic, and learn the hard way how important it is to read the room.
I write my first good joke, and pat myself on the back, confident that my days of bad joke-writing are behind me.
The next day, I write a bunch of very bad jokes. It becomes clear to me that this shit is harder than it looks.
I am introduced to the UnClub, where Michigan’s best comics go to tell their jokes to a lukewarm response from other comics. It becomes something of a second, very dysfunctional home to me.
After a solid set at the LOL ROFL semester show, I am convinced that my comedic chops have developed to the level at which I can now deconstruct the medium with ease. I construct endless non-jokes and puns, confident that the audience will latch onto my esoteric genius. I don’t get any laughs for about a month, save for at a benefit gig in Saline that LOL ROFL did for Festifall money. Realizing that I’m going to bomb anyway, I write a whole set of shitty new material in five minutes, delivered in a bad Seinfeld voice. Nobody laughs except the three comedians who came with me, who are in hysterics.
I have a particularly bad set at the UnClub, after which a comedian whom I admire (and as of this writing, has recently been on Conan O’Brien’s show) said “good job” to comfort me. After getting shit from other comedians for coddling me, he turns to me and says, “All right, go fuck yourself.”
I go up at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase for the first time, and don’t suck completely. I start doing well at the UnClub, and have a killer set at the ROFL-sponsored Univeristy of Michigan versus Northwestern University show. I begin to realize that comedy is what I want to do.
I go to the New England Literature Program, where I can’t get people to stop laughing at everything I say. I go back home to San Francisco, where I try to get into the Bay Area comedy scene, and fail to get people to laugh at anything I say. I do my first booked showcase in Berkeley and bomb, hard. I begin reconsidering the idea of medical school.
Upon returning to Ann Arbor, I jump back into stand-up. I realize all the material I wrote over the summer was is shit and throw most of it out.
I become vice president of LOL ROFL. I begin doing well at the UnClub at a more consistent frequency than I ever have before. I make Mark Sweetman, the UnClub’s host, guffaw for the first time. I smile and nod. I have arrived.
I have a good set at the LOL ROFL Semester Show, and ease into my new position as the undisputed king of comedy.
I do my second booked showcase and bomb. I realize I still have a long way to go. I decide that for the time being, I’ll enjoy being the court jester of comedy.