Every two weeks, the Normal Theater hosts its Open Mic Comedy Night – a free show in which local comedians are encouraged to try their material in front of a live audience. So if you go to it and you’re disappointed, it’s your own fault because you should have known better. Case in point: a few weeks ago, ISU senior Dave Rivers embarrassed himself horribly at the open mic night when he tried out some fresh jokes. Rivers, a guy who thinks he’s way funnier than he actually is, went on stage for a total of two minutes and bombed in front of the crowd of almost 20+ people.
It was clear from the beginning that Dave’s attempt at comedy would end in failure, but to his credit, he went ahead for it anyway. “Hey, what’s up Normal? HOW’S IT HANGING?!” said Dave, in front of a room full of people who didn’t seem particularly excited to be there. One person (presumably Dave’s girlfriend) cheered.
He began with some topical humor. “So how about that Donald Trump, huh? What’s that guy doing in Bloomington? I didn’t know our town manufactured spray tan!” Dave’s easy-target opening joke fell flatter than expected, with a laughter from the audience that can best be described as ‘polite.’ “Yeah, it’s sad that America wants to see a reality TV star be their president. I mean, what’s next? Is Snooki going to be the new Speaker of the House?”
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As people started looking at their phones, Dave used a sure-fire technique to win them back. “Hey, how many ISU students do we have here?” he asked. A few people clapped softly. “I’m glad to see so many of you guys here! Yeah I’m a senior here. I’m about to complete my communications degree in May. My parents are thrilled to see me graduate and move back into their house for another five years.” Still, nothing was landing with the audience. “You guys get it? Communications majors aren’t exactly known to get jobs right away. Wow… tough crowd.”
Another painful minute passed before Dave decided to call it quits. “Alright, thank you guys so much! You’ve been awesome. Good night!” The same girl from earlier cheered. He handed the microphone to the next performer, and then he fast-walked back to his seat.
“I don’t know why I didn’t do better,” said Dave later. “I know that I’m a funny guy, so I must have had a shitty audience. Oh well. I’ll try again next time.”