Online vs. In-Person Comedy Open Mics: The Laughter Spectrum

If laughter is the best medicine, stand-up comedy is the syringe delivering that remedy straight into the heart. As stand-up comedy evolves, the way comedians deliver their punchlines and test their material is changing. The world has witnessed a significant rise in online open mics, especially with the advent of digital platforms and the global pandemic accelerating the shift. So, if you’re an emerging comedian, you might be wondering: which platform is right for you, online or in-person?

Black man, leather vest

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each:

Online Comedy Open Mics:


  1. Accessibility: No matter where you are, you can perform or watch an online open mic. This gives artists from remote areas a chance to shine and provides diverse voices an avenue to be heard.
  2. Comfort: You can perform from the comfort of your home. No more long drives or late-night subway rides.
  3. Diverse Audience: You can reach a global audience. Your jokes can be tested on people from different cultural and geographic backgrounds.
  4. Flexibility: Some platforms allow you to record your set and get feedback, providing a more flexible schedule.
  5. Reduced Stage Fright: For newcomers, starting online might feel less intimidating than facing a live audience immediately.


  1. Technical Issues: Internet connections can be unpredictable, and technical glitches can interrupt the flow.
  2. Reduced Interaction: The immediate energy and feedback from a live audience are missing. It can be challenging to gauge reactions and adjust your set accordingly.
  3. Oversaturation: With the low barrier to entry, there can be an oversaturation of performers, making it hard to stand out.

In-person Comedy Open Mics:


  1. Immediate Feedback: The energy in a room, the immediate laughter (or lack thereof), and the ability to connect eye-to-eye with your audience offer invaluable feedback.
  2. Networking: In-person events often result in spontaneous interactions, partnerships, and mentorships with fellow comedians, producers, and more.
  3. Performance Skills: Being on a stage helps you hone not just your material, but also your stage presence, body language, and microphone skills.
  4. Authentic Experience: The shared experience of laughter in a room is irreplaceable. The vibe, the ambiance, and the post-show chats make for a holistic comedic experience.


  1. Logistics: Travel, wait times, and late-night schedules can be draining.
  2. Limited Reach: You’re primarily performing for a local audience, which may limit the diversity of feedback.
  3. Intimidating for Newbies: Stepping onto a stage with a live audience can be nerve-wracking, especially for those new to comedy.
  4. Higher Barriers: There can be more competition for slots, and you might have to wait longer to get your chance on stage.


Whether it’s online or in-person, the essence of comedy remains the same: to make people laugh. While online open mics offer the convenience of accessibility and comfort, in-person mics provide a raw, authentic experience that can be invaluable for honing one’s craft. It might be worth trying both avenues and seeing which one resonates with you more. After all, comedy is as much about understanding your audience as it is about understanding yourself.