On May 20 and 21. 2016, I performed at JR's Comedy Club, which is actually located inside a Marie Callendar's in Valencia, CA. I was surprised to find out one of my recent student graduates was doing a guest set that night. In addition to it being only her second time on stage, she was also performing on one leg due to a knee injury she suffered a couple weeks prior. I interviewed her following her performance and it'll hopefully give you some insight into doing a guest set and life after classes. I'm going to try and make this an on-going series.
Katie Kerr is a classically trained actress, born and raised in Los Angeles. When she isn't acting, she runs a peanut butter company (SpreadPB) and curls on the Irish national team.
TOM CLARK: How was it different then the student showcase set?
KATIE KERR: I barely remember the student showcase because I was so terrified. It is also a giant stage(The Hollywood Improv) and audience, so your odds of getting laughs are pretty good. Whereas the pie shop was a very tiny stage and crowd, so it felt like a lot more pressure. Harder to win over a small room than a giant one.
TC: How was it performing on one leg?
KK: You know, I never thought I would be performing stand-up comedy on crutches, but I did it. Crutches made getting up to stage a bit difficult and I couldn't even lower my own microphone stand. But instead of complaining about that I made it part of my set. A lot of comedy seems to be about making fun of your own insecurities, and I really hated going out in public on crutches because everyone looks at you like a sad puppy. Addressing the crutches right from the start and working them into my set was a fun challenge and I think it helped the audience to stop feeling sorry for me and instead be willing to laugh along with me.
TC: Did it help being able to go up 2 consecutive nights? Did you make any adjustments from Friday to Saturday?
KK: Getting to perform back to back nights was really helpful. I noticed that not just myself, but the other comics as well, made adjustments to the parts of their sets that fell flat in the first night. Thank goodness I remembered to record night one because when you're up there you really don't actually remember where the laughs came and where they didn't. I made sure to listen to that recording the morning after night one (sounds like a terrible rom-com) and make adjustments for night number two. Nothing major, but just minor adjustments that made it flow a lot better.
TC: What did you learn from watching the other comics on the show?
KK: I learned that I can't compare myself to people who have been doing this for 20 years. Just because you might be a naturally funny person does not mean you'll be nailing your stand-up sets when you are first starting off. A big part of me wanted to never perform again after this show. But it was inspiring to see what the other comics who have done this for years were able to accomplish on stage, so hopefully if I keep at it I will get there one day too. And I noticed that all of them record their sets every single night as well, so listen to Tom and just do it.
TC: How was the Marie Calendar's show different from The Improv in terms of audience?
KK: Doesn't even compare. People come to the student showcase at the Improv with nothing but support in their hearts. They are going to laugh at anything you do. Whereas the folks at Marie Calendar's are just as excited about the pie as they are about seeing somebody try and do comedy. It was a tough audience, and completely different night one and night two. I noticed jokes that got laughs in night one didn't work at all the second night with a different audience. Tom in particular was fun to watch because he interacted with the crowd a lot and got to know them throughout his set. Think that helps with knowing who your audience is and what jokes are going to go over better with that crowd. Hopefully that will come with experience, just being comfortable on stage and being able to feel out the room so you know what you should do to make it work.
FOR MORE INFO ON CLASSES CHECK OUT: www.standupteacher.com
FOR MORE INFO ON KATIE GO TO: www.spreadpb.com/gallery/