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January 1, 2014

Improv Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Wednesday the 1st of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (C/o William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_01_january/792447621/0/58326827

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Joe Parker (MC), 1st Half: Improv Express with Vittorio Leonardi, Monique Nortje and Ryan Whittal. 2nd Half: Martin Jonas

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R70

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 8, 2014

Improv Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Wednesday the 7th of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (C/o William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_08_january/792447746/0/58326831

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), 1st Half: Improv Express with Hannes Brummer, Monique Nortje and Ryan Whittal. 2nd Half: Tips

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R70

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 9, 2014

Stand-up Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Thursday the 9th of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (Cnr William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_09_january/792447776/0/58326832

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), Tips, Gavin Kelly and The Godfather of SA Stand-up Comedy - Mel Miller.

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R90

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2014

Stand-up Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Friday the 10th of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (Cnr William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_10_january/792447806

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), Thapelo "Tips" Semise, Gavin Kelly and the Godfather of SA Stand-up Comedy - Mel Miller.

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R120

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2014

Stand-up Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Saturday the 11th of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (Cnr William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_11_january/792447836

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), Thapelo "Tips" Semise, Gavin Kelly and the Godfather of SA Stand-up Comedy - Mel Miller.

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R120

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2014

Improv Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Wednesday the 15th of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (C/o William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_15_january/792447876/0/58326836

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Joe Parker (MC), 1st Half: Improv Express with Vittorio Leonardi, Melt Sieberhagen and Ryan Whittal. 2nd Half: Eddie Eckstein

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R70

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2014

How to prepare for your first Open Spot

Many people have watched a comedy show and lost their minds. You watch a brilliant show and then start thinking "Hey that looks easy, how hard can it be?"

After a few more drinks and the gentle motivations of your friends, you've signed yourself up to do an open spot. The next day, what I like to call the "Oh Shit" moment settles in as you realise what you've done.

So what now?

Whatever path you took to get here, here's what to do now. Here's how to creating a set and what to do before and after you perform.

How to create a Comedy Set:

I can't help you with your choice of material. Whatever makes you laugh is a good place to start. I will say this: true stuff is the funniest stuff and you should always write your own material. Once you have your material, here's how you should structure it.

All material can be classified into four categories:

A - Your best material. Your sure-fire, funniest, can't lose stuff.

B - Second best stuff. Not as funny as the "A" material but still great.

C - Everything else. This material can be used to carry a story along or acts as a bridging material to the next gag.

W.T.F. - Stuff that, under the right circumstances, is funny but tends to not work with the majority of audiences. Avoid this, especially when starting out. Dark material like rape gags, sodomy and all other sexual deviations fall under this heading.

Structure your set in this sequence:

B - C - A

That way, you open well, carry through coherently and finish with a punch. Always say your name at the end, thank the audience and then go.


Presentation:

When it comes to presentation, try to focus on the A.R.T. of Stand-up comedy. These rules were given to me by Joe Parker and they do work.

A - Attitude:
Your rapport with the audience while on stage. Are you angry, nervous, twitchy or happy? What energy you put out, you get back, especially if it's real emotion. Yell at them; they'll pull away from you. Be nervous and they'll get nervous for you. If you're just starting out, be calm and have fun.

R - Rhythm:
It's your own individual vibe onstage, how you're feeling. It's also the pace at which you deliver your set. Speak too fast and you lose them. Speak too slowly and they may get bored. Every comic has their own rhythm and as you listen/watch/attend more comedy, you'll pick up on it. Your rhythm is unique to you.

T - Timing:
Most people can be taught how to deliver a line and make it funny. Some are born with a natural talent for it. In either case the more time you put in and the more experience you gather, the better the material will be and the better a comic you will be. Talent is honed with training. Training alone will only take you so far.


Preparation:

Get a notebook
Write down your set and use it to keep track of what jokes worked, what didn't work and what made your set fling itself off a cliff with all the zeal of a Japanese Lemming attacking a papier-mâché Pearl Harbour. Write down any ideas you may have. Make sure they are yours. Internet jokes don't work anymore. Everyone has email now. Someone in that crowd will have heard it.

Practice:
Practicing in front of a mirror is great if you want to memorise your set but stage time is all important. You'll only know how you're doing when you're on stage. An audience will let you know right quick. The more stage time you get, the faster you grow.


The Gig:
So, now that you've done all the prep you can muster, it's off to the gig.

Be On Time:
The easiest way to avoid getting a second spot is not showing up, being late, or having an attitude. If you can't make it, call in advance.

Time:
You'll be told to do Five minutes. Stick to your time. If you're up there and it's not working, don't hang around. If your time is up, leave. Rather than hog the stage looking for a laugh, walk away and try again. A simple rule to follow is it's better to do a hot three minute set than an average seven.

Ask a pro comic to watch your set and give you feedback. Write down the notes they give you otherwise you're wasting your time and theirs. You won't remember everything you hear Rain Man, so write it down.

Good luck.


I leave you with the immortal words of The Godfather of SA Stand-up Comedy - Mel Miller

"Never let a good gig go to your head or let a bad gig go to your heart."

Posted by vittorio at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

So you've done your first set. Now what?

Exit Stage Left!

You're clear! You bustle passed the MC as he retakes the stage through a darkened green room to the corridor backstage. Your adrenalin is still pumping as you hear the MC working the audience back into comedy froth depending on how your set went. Everything gets quiet. You're alone.

Your first set is over.

Now what?

Your first spot is like a first date. You work so hard to make that first outing a success that once it's done you're stuck as to where to go from there.

Here are things to do while you're still at the gig.

Don't Leave:
Watch the other comics and see what you can learn about delivery, timing and material choice. Adrenaline is great for creativity; just don't expect to start brainfarting comedic genius right away.

Silence is Golden:
Its common sense but I'll say it anyway. While another comic is on stage, you - and your rent-a-crowd - need to shut your pudding-munchers. Save your chatter for the break. A noisy comic is seldom working.

Job Hunting:
During the break, while getting notes on your set, ask about other venues. Places that support trying out new material are better than established gigs that have the odd open spot. If you struggle/die in front of a paying audience that wanted a comedy show, you'll find it tough getting booked again.

Job Creation:
Open spots have attempted to start their own comedy nights to create a space to practice. The problem is that - sorry to be blunt - a lot of open spots aren't any good. If a line-up of those open spots die enough times, people will stop attending, thinking that all comedy nights are the same. It doesn't help the industry.

Venue Owners:
Open mic night is appealing to them because they don't have to pay anyone or promote the event. Also, they usually give performers their quietest evening in the hopes that the comedy will drum up some business. It's the "If They Gig Here, Cash Will Come" business plan. Door deals are a bad idea for that reason. Either the venue guarantees a set fee for the show or there is no comedy. A set fee forces the venue to take an interest in promoting the gig. If you're going to try run a gig solo, at least ask for advice from comedians already running gigs first.

Material Choice:
Blunt again. Sorry. Rape jokes don't work. Stop that! A lot of new comics like the idea of being the dark horse/edgy comic. The problem is you're neither Batman nor Bill Hicks yet so try learning your craft before you unleash the hounds of mediocrity. When choosing material, talk about what you find funny. Try a gag at least three times before shelving it. Above all, do material you like performing. It's going to be your set for a while.

Your Look:
Make your life easy. Look smart; wear what's comfortable and what won't distract the crowd from your set - unless your set needs that.

Costumes:
If you must wear a costume make sure your set motivates what you're wearing; otherwise it's just a diversion.

Hats:
Any headgear you wear must not obscure your face. Your expression, especially your eyes must be visible to the audience so they can connect with you.

Stage names:
Comics want to be rock stars. I've had guys tell me to introduce them as MC-13 and Magic 44. At that point, you are all Fred. When the MC brings on an open spot, your first name or full name is all he needs. If it's hard to pronounce, make a plan, one that doesn't involve your superhero alter ego.

Your Feelings:
You might "feel" like you deserve more work, another shot or a paid spot. Guess what? The booker might not "feel" the same way. In the end, talent is talent. If you deliver the goods consistently, or at least show improvement, you'll get booked again. The rest is up to the promoter. There are only so many spots, paid or otherwise.

Reality Check:
Be ready to deliver your set when asked. There are tons of willing pretenders keen to try. Many venues only give you one shot. Make sure you're prepared.

Egos:
Leave yours at the door. Actually, leave it at home, in a box buried in the backyard with a tag marked "DO NOT OPEN IN THE PRESENCE OF ALCOHOL" A sense of entitlement, a bad attitude, poor gig etiquette, arrogance and not showing up for a gig are all ways to ensure that no one will book you more than once. If you arrive at a gig thinking your shit doesn't stink... it does, and it'll show especially when it spatters your set.

That's it. Next time I'll start answering FAQS from open spots. V.

Posted by vittorio at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

Open Spots questions answered

Before I get started, I'd like to point out a slight complaint of mine.

I often get calls, Facebook messages and even a sms or two - as retro as that might be - from open spots asking me where they can get some stage time.

That's not my complaint.

This is. What follows is the wrong way to ask for help. Keep in mind I've never met this person before.

"Hook me up 4 some open spot man. I'm around soweto n can manage to go arround joburg." (sic)

It's been a while since I've seen the language so severely pummelled in print. No hello, no please, just demands like a SARS-employed storm trooper. I showed this to Mark Lottering, whose first response was "Shall I fetch you also? Perhaps cook you a meal? Maybe you'd like a foot rub as well."

Grammar and punctuation might be a difficult concept to grasp but they shouldn't be expunged from your communication skills by The Verbal Inquisition. If you want a polite response, be cordial, introduce yourself and never demand anything. And when you've got over a thousand words to play with, there is no need to shorten the language in order to pay homage to your inner Dictionary Sloth.

Right, sermon over.

And now, onto the week's questions:

Zakkiya from Pretoria asks:
"How do I overcome a bad gig/bombing?"

Martin Davis had this to say to a nervous open spot. (As I paraphrase, I will attempt to write in a Cockney accent:
Martin: "D'y'know what 'appens tonight if you die, completely die on your ass?"
Open Spot: "No."
Martin: "Nuffink." But, d'y'know what happens tonight if you storm, I mean completely blow the roof off the place?"
Open Spot: "No."
Martin: "Nuffink. So, go out there and 'ave fun. Happy days."

If you die, leave the death at the gig. It's done. Go home. The best thing you can do is keep coming back because your first gig isn't your toughest gig. This is a marathon, not a sprint. As Mel Miller has said and I have often quoted, "Never let a bad gig go to your heart."

It helps to record your sets, especially at the beginning. Video is best. That way, you can see what you're doing or not doing and see where things can be improved upon. Perseverance is important. It's like stalking without the restraining order.

Chris from Cape Town asks:
"If you do a set without timing and die and then you do a set with timing, can you kill?"

Possibly, but inserting some timing where there was none before will always improve a set. To kill, you'd have to have a perfect storm moment. Only when the material, timing, attitude and rhythm of the performance all fall into place at once, and only with the right audience for that set, can so drastic a change happen all at once.
Good timing will improve material and make it funnier but it isn't a silver bullet. It's a partnership between the two. One cannot work well without the other.

As to material itself, it comes back to the frame of reference. It's like an electrical circuit: the further apart the two electrodes are, the more energy it takes to get a spark to leap the gap. The same goes for comedy. The more you have to fill the audience in, the longer it takes for the material to spark with them.

Shared experiences are the bedrock of all comedy. True stuff is the funniest stuff, as Jeff Foxworthy once said.

Also, try a gag at least three times, three different ways, before you decide to shelve it.

Last Question.

Lwando from Jozi asks:
"How do you learn to read your audience?"

Practice, at every gig. This is where observation comes in. Make sure that when you have a gig or you're just there to watch a show, observe what the MC does. A good MC will behave a lot like a fisherman: throwing out a series of different lines to see what the audience will bite at. What they laugh at loudest will be the easier material to do on the night.

There you go folks. I'll answer more questions as I receive them. Keep sending in your questions to vthejester(at)gmail(dot)com.

And remember to have fun out there. Comedy should never feel like work

V.

Posted by vittorio at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2014

Improv Comedy @ Parker's Comedy & Jive

Wednesday the 22nd of January 2014

Parker's Comedy & Jive
Shop 24 (Entrance 1)
Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, (C/o William Nicol and Witkoppen Roads), Fourways, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.

BOOK AT COMPUTICKET:
http://online.computicket.com/web/event/parker_s_comedy_22_january/792448003/0/58326840

Website: http://www.parkerscomedy.com/ and http://www.parkerleisure.co.za/
Bookings: (+2711) 511 0081

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), 1st Half: Improv Express with Hannes Brummer, Monique Nortje and Ryan Whittal. 2nd Half: Jason Goliath

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R70

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2014

Stand-up Comedy @ Altanoor Grill & Hubbly Lounge

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Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

Stand-up Comedy @ Altanoor Grill & Hubbly Lounge

Thursday the 30th of January 2014

Altanoor Grill & Hubbly Lounge
334 Rivonia Boulevard, Rivonia, Sandton, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), Shaun Wewege, Nqoba Ngcobo and Chris Forrest.

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: FREE

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2014

Stand-up Comedy @ Precinct 23

Friday the 31st of January 2014

Precinct 23
Arts on Main, 264 Fox Street, Johannesburg

Brought to you by Parkers Comedy

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/vittorioleo

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vittorio-Leonardi/186936748045666

Line-up: Vittorio Leonardi (MC), Richelieu Beaunoir and Chris Mapane.

Show Starts: 20:00
Entrance Fee: R50

Posted by vittorio at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)