Respect the Green Room: What the Stand-Up Circuit Teaches About Life

Comedian Mike Goodwin – Photo Courtesy of Mike Goodwin

You can make a few determinations about a comedy club by simply seeing the Green Room. It’s simple to evaluate things like: Is there an outlet to charge my phone? Does the TV work? Does the cable on the TV work? Is there an iron and ironing board?  Or what’s that smell?  Oh, it’s the baby! Ummm…Why is there a baby in the Green Room? This is probably not a great club.

On a broader scale, the Green Room represents access to wisdom. There is a great deal of learning that can take place in the Green Room, if you are open to gaining information.

I must state that my exposure to A-rated comedy rooms has been very limited. If you were to grade my comedy club career on a scale of one to ten, 10 being Kevin Hart and one being your funny, drunk uncle, I would be rated as somewhere near Shucky Ducky. Now I don’t know what number Shucky Ducky is, but it sure is fun finding reasons to type Shucky Ducky.

When I first started doing comedy, I thought one of the magical locations in a comedy club was the Green Room. I say that because as a young comic, you may not know that the Green Room really exists. You have heard whispers of this place, but you have never been there before, sort of like Hedonism II. Frankly when you are starting out in comedy, you are barely allowed to touch the stage. So, for the majority of folks, it is some time before you are invited to this clandestine location. But once you hear the phrase, “Let me show you to the Green Room!” it’s safe to say you are well on your way.

The problem is you have never received a Green Room orientation. You don’t know how to conduct yourself in the Room of Green until you make a fatal blunder and are banished out into the lobby. This has happened to me once by no fault of my own. While opening for this big-name comic, my comedy comrade started eating the snacks that were specifically for the headliner.

If you ever find yourself being invited to the Green Room, please remember these simple rules.

Rule #1 – Don’t mess with the headliner’s snacks. I know it will be extremely tempting, but resist.

Rule #2 – Shhhhh. Too many times I have witnessed brand new comedians just yammering on about their illustrious 14-month comedy career. I’m not suggesting that you don’t have anything to offer. I’m just saying don’t offer it in the Green Room—not yet.

Rule #3 – Tip your server. There is typically a server who will take your food and drink orders.  At most fine clubs, you will either receive free or greatly discounted food and drinks. If that is the case, take that cash and bless the server. It’s just good practice.

There are many, many more rules I could share, but I’ll keep it at three because the rule of three’s is a cool comedy concept.

If you abide by these simple rules, there is a high probability you will avoid being banished from what may represent the Green Room in your life. Follow the common adage from mothers and grandmothers all over the world. “Act like you have been there before, even if you have not.”

Considered “one of the brightest young minds in comedy,” Mike Goodwin has a heart to bring strength and healing through joy. That’s why he’s dedicated his comedic gift and wit to a style and delivery that is as clean as his bowtie.

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