If you've never seen a live comedy show, there is truly nothing like it. When I was 13 years old I fell in love with the art. Watching an entire room erupt in laughter was intoxicating.

I would listen to any comedy album I could my hands on, from Bob Newhart to Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Harris to Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy to Jack Benny, and so on. This fascination eventually led me to take the stage for my first open mic night on the smoked-filled stage at Lansing's Connexions Comedy Club in the late 90s.

Michigan's Stand-Up Comedy Proving Grounds

Scott Clow at Connxtions Comedy Club in Lansing
Scott Clow at Connxtions Comedy Club in Lansing

If you are thinking of trying your hand at stand-up comedy, DO IT! It's an amazingly supportive collective of some of the most interesting people you'll ever meet. Plus you'll sit at the 'Comics Table', maybe get a free drink or two, and get 5 minutes in the spotlight.

Here are a few comedy clubs in Michigan that offer aspiring comedians an opportunity to get some laughs:

  1. Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  2. Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, Royal Oak, Michigan
  3. Dr. Grins Comedy Club, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Each one of these venues has a slightly different way of getting in on an open mic night, so explore their sights and don't be afraid to call the club and ask. A typical amateur set is around 5 minutes, which doesn't sound like much however, when the spotlight is on, it can feel like an eternity.

If you're taking the plunge onto a Michigan stage, keep in mind that 1 minute of spoken word is about 165 words. That said, don't plan on talking for 5 minutes straight, plan for some laughter in there and a few 'pauses for effect'.

While you're writing your first set, here are some names to inspire you, Michigan's Top 11 Stand-Up Comedians.

1. Gilda Radner: Detroit, Michigan

2. John Heffron: South Lyon, Michigan

3. Keegan-Michael Key: Southfield, Michigan

4. Tim Allen: Birmingham, Michigan

5. Sinbad: Benton Harbor, Michigan

6. Tim Meadows: Highland Park, Michigan

7. Andy Beningo: Detroit, Michigan

8. David Alan Grier: Detroit, Michigan

9. Lily Tomlin: Detroit, Michigan

10. Ken Jeong: Detroit, Michigan

11. Charlie Hill: Detroit, Michigan

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