This November, I Would Love to Perform Stand Up In Your House
This November Will Be House Show November. This November, I want to come perform stand up comedy for free in your house.
Hello world. Chris Gethard here.
One of the good things about being a stand up comic in New York City is that there’s so many places to do it.
You can do all the alternative rooms and play to a really smart crowd that generally are supporters of the arts.
You can do all sorts of clubs – some of them you’ll play to New Yorkers on dates, some of them to the bridge and tunnel crowd that’s in on the weekends to have drinks and be on dates, some of them you’ll play to a whole room of people from countries besides America. All of them are valuable and great and you learn different skills that make you better from doing all the different types of rooms.
And I love going on the road. I’ve been on the road myself headlining some of the hipper rooms across the country that accommodate less traditional guys like me. And I’ve been opening for Mike Birbiglia a bunch this year and man do I LEARN doing those shows. But all those road shows are also shows that people pay for and where I really feel like I gotta bring the A-game, gotta deliver, gotta make these people feel good that they spent their time and money seeing me. I feel less breathing room to experiment in these shows.
And I tell ya, one thing I MISS is just meeting people on the road and experimenting. A few years back I did a couple projects that brought me across the country. One me and a bunch of friends drove around the country in an RV doing The Chris Gethard Show anyplace that would have us. On another, I made my way from LA to the Bonnaroo festival and stayed with people we met along the way.
These experiences were the best. I hung out with a cowboy rancher at a rest stop in Arizona. I did a show in a dorm at a Christian college in Kentucky. I randomly did a show in New Mexico where we performed for three hippies who lived in yurts. They are some of my favorite memories, and also were creatively inspiring.
I want to tap back into that feeling, so in November I’m going to try something a little different.
Usually each month I try to pack my calendar with shows – shows at clubs and alt rooms around the city. This is how I get better at what I do.
In November, I want to get out of the city, meet people face to face, and work out material for crowds that aren’t NYC based but still really love comedy.
IN NOVEMBER, I WANT TO PERFORM IN YOUR HOUSE.
I really want to have a whole month where I do low key house shows, where I bring comedy to places that maybe don’t have it as readily available as New York, and in environments that can be really intimate for both the audience and for me as a performer.
I’ve also been talking to some of my favorite comics in NYC, and there are a whole bunch of experimental oddballs who want in. For each of these shows, my plan is to grab two or three other comics I really like, get in my car, drive somewhere and have us put on a one to two hour show in your house.
Here’s the rules of this little experiment:
1) You should live within a reasonable distance of NYC. Probably like four hours or so? Basically, I don’t want to have to pay for hotel rooms, so you should live close enough that we can drive home at night after the show. So this will probably be more of an east coast thing, though if you have some creative way that it makes sense to do this elsewhere, I’m all ears.
2) You have to guarantee you can get at least ten people out to your house for this. Anything less than that probably will just be uncomfortable and will make it more of a gimmick or stunt than an actual comedy show.
3) You gotta promise you won’t charge for the show. I don’t want anyone using this as a money making venture, and I want the comics to feel like they can really try stuff out and be creative without the pressure of satisfying an audience that has paid money. That being said, you also have to promise that we can pass the hat after the show. This will cover gas money. Anything more than that will be divided evenly between the comics.
4) You gotta promise you won’t record the show in any way. Again, these need to be low key environments where people are allowed to mess up, or accidentally offend, or fail. These aren’t going to be polished shows, they’re going to be the types of shows you’d see around New York where people are getting material well crafted, which are super fun and exciting shows, but ones where there’s an understanding with the audience that things can go wrong or material can come off poorly but it’s all in the sake of art and the growth of said art.
5) You gotta be ok with some people you don’t know making themselves at home in your house for the night. I don’t just mean the performers with this. I also mean any other locals we hear from. We aren’t going to publicize these shows beyond you just inviting your friends to your home. If you want to spread word in a broader level, have at it. BUT all I’ll ask is that if we hear from somebody in a suburb in Connecticut, and hear from somebody else two towns away, you gotta be ok with having that girl and her friends over too. Basically, if there’s multiple interested parties who are within close proximity to each other, we’ll merge the shows so as to not have to travel twice and so as to not leave anyone out. Worse case scenario is you have some unpleasant people in your house for a few hours. Best case scenario is you meet other people nearby who are into comedy enough that they will actually have heard of me.
Outside of all that, I don’t really care what happens. You don’t need to have a microphone or PA. We’ll go accapella on that more often than not, I’d imagine. I don’t care if we’re performing in your living room and you’ve never done anything like this before, or if you’re some punk house in New Brunswick that has shows in their basement all the time. As long as you’re willing to play ball by the above criteria, I’m down to do the legwork and grab some comics I believe in and show up. It will be fun. Also probably a little socially uncomfortable in the beginning, but ultimately more fun than uncomfortable is my guess.
If you want to make this happen, here’s all you have to do:
Email [email protected] . Format the subject like this – HOUSE SHOW: (CITY). Put it in all caps so we don’t miss it amongst the TCGS emails and the spam. So HOUSE SHOW: WEEHAWKEN or HOUSE SHOW: NEW HAVEN or whatever. That will also help me keep things organized on my end. In the body of the email let me know what your name is, what your situation house-wise is (I have ten friends and they’d all be down to hang out in my living room for this) or (I live in a college town in a house with eight other dudes and we all do comedy and I bet we can get a hundred people to come.) None of these options are better or worse for us, but I want to be able to give the comics some idea of what they might be walking into. Also list all the dates in November that might work for you.
When I have a bunch lined up, and as my November schedule is solidifying, I’ll nail down as many of these as possible. If I have a road show or a bigger show in New York or if I’m going on a date with my wife, I’m going to put those dates off limits. Otherwise I’m going to fill my schedule with as many of these shows as seems doable. So that might be like 5-10 throughout the month? I have no idea.
Thanks for reading this, and maybe I’ll come do a show in your basement soon.