Blog Post 0001 – “Longer Sets, Bitches”

Monday, May 6, 2019

Last night’s shows at Cafe Saint-Ex were great. In a way, we at Capital Laughs celebrated a spiritual rebirth. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a literal birth, nor was it wholly religious (though it was partly wholly holy).

Since our founding a few years ago, we’ve given comics on our free weekly shows 5-minute sets to practice and hone their material. As of last night, we’re giving most of the comics almost twice as much stage time. While newer comics still get 4-5 minutes, the more experienced and accomplished comics in DC will now get 8-10 minutes per set to showcase their new jokes, practice their trusted winners, and hone the craft.

This means better stand-up comedy for you, the audience.

For one thing, some jokes need to be long to get into the guts of things. Take my joke, “Don’t try to make me cum.” It takes 4+ minutes to tell this joke. That would be a whole set if all I got was 4-5 minutes. Do you really think I should tell a joke called “Don’t try to make me cum” right from the start of my set? Wouldn’t you rather get to know me for a few minutes before launching into something so dark, personal and disgusting? I assume so, and my experience is that audiences enjoy that joke a lot more if they understand that I’m not a total asshole before I explore my most intimate dating story.

On that front, I think audiences need a few minutes to calibrate from comic to comic. For example, local comic genius Alex Barbag is a really weird-seeming guy. From the moment he takes the stage, I think many audience members are thinking, “Who is this guy and what exactly is he doing up there?” It can take 5 minutes before the average audience member says, “Oh, I see now; he’s a comic genius the precise likes of which I haven’t seen before.” Wouldn’t it be nice if, after you make this realization, you get to enjoy a few more minutes of his amazing jokes before he departs?

Yet another reason why it’s better for the audience to see these longer sets is because it means that more of the stage time is occupied by the most experienced comics. While seeing fresh faces is great, generally speaking newer comics have a harder time staying consistently funny on stage. (This is why “The Comedy Shuffle” exists on Monday nights: to offer stage time to anyone that signs up, so new comics get their fair shot, and because the “shuffler” is there with them on stage to interrupt as necessary and provide feedback, making the audience experience top-notch even with brand new or inconsistent talent at the mic.)

You might be asking yourself: wait, if I can see longer sets from more experienced comics at your free shows, why would I pay good money to attend your “all-star showcases”? Ha, excellent point, except there’s a really fucking great reason: the free weekly shows are still the place where comics try out their newest material and hone the jokes they’ve been working on for a while. It’s where the stakes are on the lower end precisely because the audience didn’t pay. Yes, they are hilarious comics and, yes, you will have a great time and, yes, attending any of our shows is always a terrific decision, but let’s face it: the “all-star showcases” aren’t just the “all-star” comics in town, they’re also where those comics give you their “all-star” material. Not only that, but most of our free shows are on weeknights, whereas the all-star shows are on weekends (higher demand equals higher value, bitches).

Am I fucking reaching you here? Do you get what I’m saying? Am I just farting into the wind?

We’re super excited to provide these longer sets to the best and most experienced comics in Washington, D.C., and I’m convinced that it’s just as much of a gift to you, the audience, as it is to the comics. Frankly, I think everyone involved should be fucking grateful. Where’s the goddam gratitude? Anyway, anyway, I’m getting distracted.

Thanks to all those who attended and performed at our debut longer-sets shows last night at Cafe Saint-Ex. Tonight we’ve got Chelsea Shorte doing the shuffling at the DC Comedy Loft, and tomorrow we’re back to longer sets at that same DC Comedy Loft with our regular Tuesday host, Phil Mike. As for me, I’ll be hosting my monthly all-star show, the General Shaw’s Chicken Comedy Showcase, on Friday, May 17, at 8pm at Shaw’s Tavern. See you at the shows!