Laugh Lines Virtual Comedy Club opens with a bang

Elron-LaughLines-SL-01Last night I did my third show in Second Life, at the gala grand opening for a new virtual club in Second Life called Laugh Lines on the private island of Freeport run by Crusader Arado, who also MC’d the show. Salamander Maroon opened the show at 7PM SLT (about 4AM for her in the UK) and despite the late hour for her, she did a heckuva show, with an appearance by her new character, de-motivational speaker Gail Warning. It was probably a much better show than I could have put on at 4AM, so good on ya Sal. Next up was my good friend Chuckling Darwin (aka Derek Sweet), doing the longest set of his career to date, RL or SL. He had a great show as well, and we both agree that his material seems to work better in the SL environment than RL. I ended up headlining the show, as the 4th comic who was supposed to appear wasn’t able to make it, and I had a great time on Laugh Lines’ stage. Its taken a few shows for me to get used to the timing with voice chat in SL, and I still need to work a bit on my use of animations and gestures during shows, but I am finding SL to be a very unique, and very fun, place to do comedy.

The crowd at Laugh Lines last night was huge as well. I didn’t get a final count, but it was the biggest crowd I’ve had for any show so far on SL, and the tips were great for all three comics from what I gather. The crowd response was great to all the material, both before and after the show. One thing to get used to on Second Life though, is the way crowds show up for an event. At a real life comedy show, one of the things a lot of comics do is sit in the room to watch the crowd come in, and get a feel for the room before the show. At 6:55 PM SLT last night, 5 minutes before show time, we had about 3 people in the club, and everyone was worried about the show. By 6:59, another 30 or so people showed up, reminding us all that the lack of commute times in SL means there is no need to “arrive 15 minutes early” to be sure you make it on time … most of the crowd just teleports in 1 minute before showtime.

There are other differences between SL and RL shows as well. The teleporting adds a unique element to the world, as Sal found out last night … she’d given out landmarks to the club that landed people right on the stage when they teleported in, and the material she improvised around her friends popping up on stage was actually some of her funniest stuff. For me, the problem last night was less the differences between SL and RL, and more the similarities. Regular readers here might recall that I fell off the stage at my New Year’s Eve show here in Medicine Hat at My Office Pub … somehow, I managed to do the same thing last night in SL at the start of my show. My system froze up just as I was about to go on stage, and I had a ton of trouble finding my mark on the stage. At one point, I was aimlessly wandering the audience, waiting for my system to catch up with me … I deeply apologize to anyone who’s testicles I may have stepped on walking over them.

I have to say I’m pretty happy with my experience in Second Life so far. While the amounts have been small in real world terms, the in game tips and payments for my show have been pretty good. Even considering my Premium membership fee (which isn’t really even necessary to just do comedy … I got it because I may eventually want to buy land to open my own place), I am actually making a profit in the game in real world terms after only three shows, and I can see some pretty big potential in a couple of places for that to increase, perhaps dramatically. I really haven’t spent a ton of effort trying to get extra shows yet, but the potential for venues seems very good. The crowds have been growing for all my shows, and the “buzz” around live comedy in the game seems to be very strong. SL comedy will never replace the real stage for me, I don’t think … I am already missing the regular stage time at Dickens in Calgary, and will be very glad when the Laugh Off rounds have finished, and Comedy Monday Night goes back to normal again. But my recent experience in SL has begun a very interesting journey I think, and I am very curious to explore this virtual Yellow Wood to see what roads I find.

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