Monday, 11 October 2010

How To Be an MC

"MC" stands for "Master Comedian", he's the guy who holds together the evening, starts the show, ends the show and introduces the acts. Other duties may include:
  • Deciding how much money an act gets paid at the end of the night, based on door takings/the personal relationship between them
  • The running order of the evening, based on the acts style, content, length and the personal relationship between them
  • Flashing the acts on stage to let them know they are going over their time/bombing on stage/making stage time for a comic friend of his who is not on the bill, yet will get more time than you

"Flashing" is a technique used by MCs to get acts off the stage by flashing a light from the back of the room or side of the stage. Unfortunately, much like the crime act of the same name, it's rarely executed with the intended subtlety, and also like the crime, its recipients usually experience anger, disgust and confusion upon its occurrence.
"Time's up"

TRIVIA - Famous MCs include Hammer, Donald and Fly.

Good MC

If you have worked your way up to MC status in a club, or started your own one and taken the role despite lack of stage presence or material, then there are a few things you need to know.

1. You are the show

Even with a comedy night with three acts on the bill, you are going to be up on stage at least four times (not including intervals). Use these spaces in-between acts to go through some of your material. If you have half an hour worth of material, break it down into chunks to slot around the acts. The resulting bite-size comedy will suit perfectly and not seem crowbarred in, it may even seem refreshing because in number 2...

2. Introductions

You are in direct competition with all the other acts on that night. Why give the other comics a leg up and run the risk of being forgotten as "that guy between the good comedians" at the end of the night? Pre-empt the acts by giving them a bad introduction. Some angles are:
  • Getting their name wrong - This will initially throw the comic and force them to make a tough decision: Do they quickly attempt to correct you as soon as they get up on stage, potentially blowing their first gag in the process and generally ruining their flow? Or do they battle on anyway, under an incorrect name? 9 times out of 10 the comedian's ego cannot handle having the audience not know what their correct name is. If they question you afterwards, blow them off with a "poor handwriting/can't read well/got confused in the spotlight" excuse.
"Next up we have Frank Mahmmfppft!"
  • Saying their catchphrase/punchline - This is especially devastating when this is used against a comic who has a tight routine with a great pay-off. If you blow the gag in their intro, then the end of their routine will go down like a lead balloon.
"And now please welcome to the stage Kevin "I've Got Three Nipples" Jones!"
  • Their history - Mentioning a past endeavour or event of theirs that they had hoped the audience had long forgotten about is a great way to inspire instant hatred from the punters. A TV appearance, sexual inadequacy or a past unconvicted manslaughter charge is a great way to get the audience murmuring at the start of their set. The comic will then have to make the same decision made in point 2 as whether or not to explain or just continue on.
"Fresh from prison, please welcome Sean Miller!"

3. Outros

This is a good way to kick someone when they're down - if a comic did average to particularly awful, it can be quite effective to snigger/smile broadly/wink at the audience whenever you come back and take the microphone from them. Repeating a failed punchline of theirs will garner a good response from the audience. Remember to do something similar at the end of the night when you ask the audience to give a round of applause for the acts they've seen.

With these tips you will soon become the Master MC (Master Master Comedian)! Get online and start designing your t-shirts, coffee mugs and tote bags now! (order in bulk for reduced prices.)