Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame – some of the best places to be seen and heard for this to happen are the famed open mic clubs of L.A.’s thriving music and comedy scene.
Why Perform In Open Mic Nights in LA?
Open mic nights give singers and comedians the opportunity to showcase new material, and it’s the perfect environment to see how it is received by a live audience who paid to see talented artists and expect to see a good show. After a show, performers may ask eachother and their audeince for feedback to make changes to a song or comedy set to give it more appeal. They could use it as a chance to write a proper setlist so you keep the best-received songs in.
Industry professional such as talnt scouts for record labels also often frequent these open mic’s looking for the next top talent or future star that others in the industry haven’t found yet. Performing at open mic’s is about getting yourself and your music out there for all to hear, and hopeully to have someone who matters be able to “discover” you first. New artists looking for Music Promotion can call Planetary for help getting their name out there too!
What is an Open Mic?
An open mic is a live music event held at a venue such as a café, pub, hotel or nightclub. Amateur singers, bands, poets and other creatives are given the opportunity to grab the microphone and perform covers and originals in front of a live audience.
The talent in Los Angeles is competitive and vast, which is why Open Mic Nights are so popular here. Many places – like the famed Kibitz Room at Canter’s Deli — have been hosting hopeful stars for many years. Some Open Mic Nights are so popular that signing up for a spot in the night’s lineup requires advance reservations; performers are advised to check the details of each facility, as many operate on a first-come basis. Many others require a two-drink minimum and cover charge for entry, while some prefer to offer free entry to encourage patrons to spend money on food and drink.
Finding an Open Mic
If you are searching for a way to be discovered in Tinsel Town, or simply love trying new things, here are some tips to follow before going to your entertainment destination:
- Find out the details of how to sign up to perform before you go.
- Inquire about cover charges and drink minimums beforehand.
- Where are the spots at and why are they popular? Do your G-search
- What kind of clientele go to each club?
Top Five Open Mic’s in LA
If you are serious about a career in the music or comedy industry, performing at local open mic nights for singers is a must. Here’s a list of our Top Five in the LA-area:
1. The Laugh Factory
The Laugh Factory has launched some seriously funny people into stardom since the 70’s, and remains a hotspot comedy club in SoCal. Stars like Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Chris Rock, Roseanne Barr, Ray Romano, and Damon Wayans have all tested their chops at the legendary open mic nights. The club has been so successful that founder Jamie Masada now has six other branches, from Long Beach to Las Vegas and beyond. Their Open Mic Comedy Night starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, with doors opening at 4:30 p.m. The first 10 people in line will perform two-minute sets, restricted to G-rated jokes. Ten additional lottery spots will also be available for each show, so don’t give up if you arrive and are number 11.
2. Canter’s Deli
At Canter’s Deli, the “Kibitz Room” has been a cool hideaway for stars like Jim Morrison in the past, and every Sunday night from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m, singers can belt out a couple of songs in the revered room. On some late nights, celebrities like Sting and Mick Jagger have been known to step up to the same mic as newcomers, future stars and wannabes. You’ll find cocktails and a fun atmosphere at this open-all-day-and-night deli; they’ve been pulling people in at all hours since 1931. The Kibitz Room is open until 2 a.m., and has evolved into a legendary place for jam sessions with unbelievable musicians.
3. Springbok Bar and Grill
Photo courtesy of Springbok Bar and Grill Open Mic
At the Springbok Bar and Grill, Monday is Open Mic night and it is all about great music. Created by musicians, for musicians, the venue serves amazing food and drinks, and has dedicated employees that work together each week to make the open mic an interactive and fun experience. One of the few open-mic venues in LA that is not designed for comedians, the Springbok B&G is a place for musicians to try out new songs in front of a cheering audience. Performers find no cover charge or sign-up fee, but everyone has a two-drink/item minimum.
4. The Glendale Room
At The Glendale Room, Wednesday is open-mic night starting at 8 p.m. The comic performers number 20 people, with fees ranging from $5 for five minutes to $10 for 10 minutes. When owner Sean Casey decided to open his new place for comic performances (including open-mic nights), he also happened to buy a shipping container full of books, which he threw all over the spacious rooms in an effort to liven up the atmosphere. Theirs is a first-come, first-served system for hopeful comedians and performers. On Sundays the club does The Two Popes Open Mic event at 4 p.m., with a similar fee structure of $5 for five minutes. Hosted by Parnell Piano and Dan Dowling.
5. El Cid
El Cid has been showcasing local talent since bellbottoms first appeared; this Silverlake landmark hosts one of the oldest Open Mic Nights in Los Angeles. Every Monday, there’s a G-rated vaudeville atmosphere as the performers range from comedians to singers to oddball performers. There is a $5 cover charge and the show begins at 8 p.m.; performers begin signing in at 7:30 p.m. Get there early for seats up front, as this is a very popular weekly event. El Cid has a full menu of tapas and specialty cocktails and also features famous flamenco shows that happen every weekend. This jail turned speakeasy turned comedy club will not let you down.
By supporting up and coming stars, you can help them polish their performance and give someone a chance to shine on stage. You never know who you’ll see in Los Angeles, or who will become successful one day; many famous performers have gotten their start performing at an open mic.
A few good resources to find stand up comedy stage time are: