Are you ready to host?

Scott and Paula love to MC the open mics. However, if one of them has a gig or is out of town, a Joke Gym regular just might be invited to host.

If you’ve never hosted before, you'll find that it's fun and harder than it looks. These guidelines will help first-time MCs at The Joke Gym:

A guest MC needs to have performed at The Joke Gym at least once before being considered for guest hosting. We give preference to comedians who work out with us often.

Plan to arrive no later than 6:40 so you can skim the list and learn to say any tricky names.

Scott or Paula will start the show with our regular announcements, they we’ll introduce the Guest MC. You can do 5 minutes at the top of the show to get things rolling, or dive right in and work in your stuff throughout the show when other comics go short.

A good MC often plays off something the previous comic said. It’s fun to do, but you will need to really listen intently.

Typically, you announce the comic, he or she hits the stage, you shake hands and they do their set. When they wrap up, they should have the mic stand back in the center of the stage, and return the mic to the bracket by the time you return to the stage to shake their hand again.

What often happens is a new comic (who does not know the drill) will just hand you the mic, or replace the mic on the stand—which is way off to one side.

What the MC needs to do is shake hands, then smoothly get the microphone/stand and stool back in place—while saying something witty.

The MC has to be vigilant. Some comics finish their sets abruptly and return to their seats. You never want an empty stage, even at an open mic.

The MC is the evening’s host. Acknowledge whatever is happening in the room. If someone drops a tray of drinks, arrives in drag, or goes into labor, work with it.

Each show has MC time plus enough 5-minute slots to fill two hours. If we don't have any walk-ins, we wrap up at 9 pm. As the show progresses, you’ll be able to judge how it’s going.

In summary, the show is about the comedy, so the MC needs to make the comics and audience feel welcome and keep the show moving.