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Inferno Mic at Karma — BEST MIC

June 30, 2015

A DAYTIME MIC DURING THE WEEK—I had no idea how wonderful it could be.

Having unexpectedly finished with work around 1pm – what to do with myself? Let’s go to a mic! Ok, so that wasn’t my initial reaction. It was more like, “Hey, Krista, let’s grab a Hot Pastrami from Katz’s and curl up on the sofa with the cats!”

Not sure what actually spurned my detour, but somehow I ended up at Inferno Open Mic, a weekly mic hosted by Karma Lounge in the East Village. Karma is a hookah bar, one of the few places in NYC where you can smoke. Thankfully, none of that was going on today, so I didn’t have to get all aggravated and indignant at anyone. The mic was slated to start at 4pm, and signup was 3:30, so I made sure to get there before 3pm. When I arrived, the piece of paper on the bar already had five names scratched onto it, but the #1 spot was empty. Let me explain –there’s a tendency for the first slot on the list to be blank – most people don’t want to go up first. If the list is long and I’m feeling confident, I’ll usually take the first spot – who cares anyway, right?

However, today my enthusiasm was stalled at ambivalent. I wasn’t even sure why I showed up, wasn’t in the mood, didn’t feel like I had anything particularly witty or bizarre to say until—I was walking through SOHO –when I caught sight of what I was wearing.  It was an unseasonably humid day and I had on a grey woolen shift dress, black tights, black not so sexy bordering on orthopedic shoes and a frumpy long black sweater. Everyone around me seemed to be a six-feet tall model-type wearing glitzy tiffany beaded sandals with two to three inch heels and perfectly ripped denim short shorts.

I laughed at myself and how ridiculous I looked–a great joke popped into my head so there was no way I could miss out on the opportunity with an opener like that busting to get past my gums.

So I went to BadSlava to pull up a list of possible spots. I’ve gotten bored of hitting the same mics with the same people. I wanted some fresh faces and a new space. Inferno fit the bill.

In the designated Hookah area, there are lots of plushy red places to sit, and little tables. There were four or five of the early birds sitting around, writing, staring, lounging. I decided to compile some set notes on an index card, zone out and listen to myself breathe. Some of the other comics knew one another and were talking about how they’d skipped out of their jobs for a REALLY long break. Other conversations involved what mic they were going to next, which ones they didn’t like, and what comics were there faves. Comic chit chat small talk kind of stuff usually accompanied by “how long you been doing this?”

I loved it.

Five minutes to four, our host invited us into an inviting refurbished basement stage/bar/lounge area. He was so friendly and inviting. He had even put together a little snack table.

After he called the first comic up to the stage, I was grateful I hadn’t taken the number one spot. This guy was great!

The second comic got up, sharp and polished. I marveled at his confidence until he started complaining that no one was laughing, “I just did that on TV and it killed.” Ok buddy, not our fault. Get a grip.

As for me, I’m well acquainted with sound of crickets in the rooms of open mics. Seriously, you’re dealing with a room full of comics. Speaking only for myself, I’m more concerned about what I’m going to say when I get up there than whether you story about your girlfriend or so and so’s mother pontificating about taxi cab drivers actually is funny.

Now, there is an exception; I will say that infantile, school bus (i.e. bathroom) humor always cracks me up. I just can’t help myself. If I were drinking milk, it would shoot out my nose every time I heard a joke about farts or (I’ll let you fill in the blanks). Same with “your mama” jokes.

I’m so ashamed 🙂



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