Skull Fest 2012, Part 1 of 3: The Laughing Skull Lounge, the Perfect Room

Hi! I'm Jake!

This entry is part 1 of 3 about my great experience as part of the 2012 Skull Fest Competition

Last night, I performed at the Laughing Skull Comedy Lounge in Atlanta Georgia.  I was competing in their 3rd annual Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.  If you're a twitterer, you can find their festival news at #skullfest .

This was my 1st time actually performing at the Laughing Skull Lounge. I had been waiting to go there ever since I did some of the festival's satellite shows last year.  Here are some of my posts about that:

I have been blessed the last 10 years with the opportunity to perform at Denver's Comedy Works- every comedian's dream club!  The acoustics there are perfect.  The low ceilings and baseball diamond shape of that basement room focus all laughter to the stage. The crowds are hip.  The fearless door staff courteously polices any would-be-distractors. If you are a halfway decent comic, you are destined to leave that stage feeling like a rock star.

The point is Comedy Works sets up their comedians to win- and win big.  They say there are 10 factors involved in making a showroom successful (lights, sound, crowd control, etc.). Comedy Works runs a 10 out of 10 room. So every comedian in the country wants to work there- but only a small percentage gets the opportunity.  I am thankful to be 1 of those comedians.

It's hard for other clubs to compare themselves to the Comedy Works. However, every now and then, you find a club that offers the same kind of ambience, acoustics, hip crowd and hospitality.  After seeing the Skull Fest Quarterfinals last year, I knew the Laughing Skull was such a place.

The crowds are great. Atlanta is a big, progressive city, a Southern cultural mecca. The diverse Atlanta crowds are hip to a wide variety of comedy styles.

The room itself is amazing.  Laughing Skull Lounge reminds me of a side-street, indy black box theater. It only seats 70 people.  It's real easy to turn that into standing room only. From the stage, the laughter sounds sooooo good. It's like an aural party packed into the size of a big bedroom.

On the night of my contest set, I noticed something HUGE the club did for the contestants. Most comedy contests do a disservice to their contestants and throw the 1st comedian under the bus.  The emcee kind of gets the crowd going. Then, as his or her set peters out, they bring up the first contestant- who gets the real burden of starting the show.  The judges then score low to make sure they leave themselves room to score the remaining contestants higher if need be.  That's why the 1st contestant gets the job of "biting the bullet."  Going 1st is almost always the kiss of death.

However, Skull Fest took an extra precaution to help insure against that unfairness.  I have never seen a contest do that.  After the emcee, they had a 2nd comedian warm up the crowd.  So, 20 minutes of solid comedy warmed the crowd up well before the emcee announced the 1st contestant.  Sure, the judges could still start their scores low, but the 1st contestant had a leg up on every 1st contestant in every other contest I have ever seen- ever.  Booking an extra warm-up act is a simple, easy way to make a contest fairer.

I've sort of set the stage for my incredibly enjoyable contest night at the club.  I had a really good time performing there.  In my next entry, I'll explain how my particular set went. 2 really weird things affected me that night.  I am so glad they did!  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,
Bye!  I'm Jake!