SUP HI HELLO. I get a lot of DMs from people I've met once or twice out on the road, or people I've never met at all, or people who I know and just suck at keeping in contact with. Messages about moving to New York and how to get on shows, what mics to do, etc. I tell people I'll get back to them and sometimes I do not get back to them. I DO NOT want to blow these people off. I have totally benefited from reaching out to other comics in that way in the past and I DO NOT want to big time anyone and act like I don't have time to give out advice just because I've experienced a modicum of success being a professional clown. HOWEVER part of how that success works is that I am an extremely busy person and just in a practical sense, don't really have the time, so I want to put together a motherfuckin' marauder's map for people who move here. The thing is, I don't do open mics that much. I get booked because I've been here long enough that people know who I am or something. I also knew people and was known by people before I even moved here. I don't really know how or why some of it happens. I also sometimes DON'T get booked. I may not be the best person to ask because I'm not on that 100 percent stand up grind that New York is so famous for, I split my week writing and making podcasts and stuff between spots. Please anyone and everyone comment with what mics are good right now.
Firstly, there are a few tiers of open mics it seems to me. You hear all these stories about how Pete Holmes and Chris Rock and people like that started by barking at the big tourist comedy clubs in times square. This strikes me as bullshit, even if it's true it's just misleading. Bringer shows are a scam. If you're doing comedy in a venue you SHOULD be supporting that venue. If you're doing open mic in a bar you're renting out that bar as practice space, buy something to pay them back. HOWEVER, a club that tells you you have to bring 10 people and they all have to pay 20 bucks and buy 2 things just so you can open mic is taking advantage of the fact that you don't know better. Don't take comedy classes, don't do bringers, just get funny in the bar mics and people will hear about you and start booking you. IF you decide to go down the Times Square club path, once you're in, you can make money doing spots. The shows are for tourists that sometimes don't speak english so you should only be doing this if your ambition is to become a very universally palatable comic, like if you want to work the road in a club sense - not a bad path, works great for some people, but it's not my thing at all.
Mics at clubs, to my knowledge, don't seem to lead to spots at those clubs. I could be wrong, but it seems like they just serve as a practice space.
Alt mics at bars are still pretty desolate but can be fun if you go to them regularly and meet the people that haunt them. They're generally free but you should still try to buy something once in a while as a way to keep the bar happy with the fact that's it's engaged in business with the people running the mic. If you were gonna drink a coke or a beer that day, drink it at the mic. Every once in a while there's a particular bar mic that picks up steam and is a fun hang. When i first moved here it was Revision. I don't really know what it is now.
The worst and most predatory mics are usually listed on Badslava.com, The medium to good ones are on freemics.com, and the good good ones aren't listed anywhere really. I knew a guy who ran a mic that was fun and he purposely didn't list it because he didn't want it to be mobbed with weirdos. It was a good mic.
As far as getting booked on shit, you have to do mics, meet people, make friends, make FRIENDS. Comedy is a bleak battle against a force as strong as gravity and you'll be doing it for a long time before you start to get paying work or a big chance at anything, you might not get one at all, or you might get lucky and hit it big real early. Regardless, you should have fun with it or you should stop doing it, it's just not worth it to treat it as purely work. It's an art, not a business. ALSO those friends will turn into collaborators. and I can't stress this enough, MAKE YOUR OWN SHIT. You want to get booked? Start a room and boom, you're booked on your own show. Also other people will book you in hopes of getting on your show. No one will get paid in anything other than drink tickets but hey, free drinks and space to perform and practice.
Also, hang out at The Creek and Cave. The beer is cheap, there are mics every night and everyone hangs out there, so you'll meet everyone and can immediately be pointed in the direction of where other people are hanging out.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, many of which I recently summarized on THIS podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/16-jake-flores/id1202036045?i=1000385555374&mt=2
so give that a listen if you're curious. My opinions on these things are my own and will definitely conflict with the ways in which some people think approach art as a career, so if you're interested in a different path, ask someone who's gown down that path. Personally where I'm at right now is more about making my own shit, booking my own tours, recording my own stuff, and waiting to see if i get lucky with a more commercial thing at some point. I also do comedy because I like it.