D.I.Y. in the Capital region (Albany)

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on February 23rd, 2009

“Stand-up citizens” is subtitled “Everyone’s a comedian? No, but the brave can try it.” by the Daily Gazette’s Brian McElhiney starts out as a profile of Schenectady resident Greg Aidala then morphs into a snapshot of the burgeoning standup scene in the Albany area.

Aidala, bit by the standup bug somewhere around the turn of the century, explains how/why he started an open mike last month:

“I wanted a weekly series, [and] I wanted the only organized workout room dedicated to comedy,” Aidala said. “You know, open mikes, believe me, I’ve done all those. I’ve had to wait till 2 in the morning in the city to get some stage time. You get there at 9– ‘I put in half a work day to do five minutes? I can’t do this.’ And I didn’t want anyone to do that here because that happens at open mikes.”

So he starts his own. We always tell frustrated beginners to start their own open mike if they can’t get enough stage time at the local chucklery. Having had the luxury of starting out in a market that had three, sometimes four open mikes in a week, we never had to do it ourselves. (And we wonder: If he had to, would we have the cajones to do so like Aidala here?)

McElhiney, using the quotes of several of the area’s open mikers, provides readers with a primer on how to assemble that first five. It’s a surprisingly even-handed and insightful article.