I’m Patrick Hastie and you’ve probably never heard my name; reports of my fame are greatly exaggerated. I’m a stand-up comedian and in August I went on a 19-city tour with my friends, Albert Kirchner and Nick Pupo, called the YOUNG DINOSAURS TOUR. We did 30 shows in 27 days. It was crazy. It was daunting. It was absolutely fucking amazing. Since then, a lot of people have asked how we did it. So this article is going to tell you exactly how we did!
I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for 5 years, 6 months, and 18 days. If I’m feeling confident, I round up. If I’m feeling blue, I round down. In that time I’ve done 386 shows, 1,034 open mics and performed in 18 different states. It’s been fun at times and it’s been terrible at times. I’ve met a bunch of great people and a bunch of assholes.
At my very first open mic, I was on the list to go 23rd, which was dead last. I was nervous and scared. I had written six terrible one-liners and was positive I would forget them. This was in Des Moines, Iowa in 2011. I was 26 years old. I watched the entire open mic, laughed my ass off and quietly panicked.
The two comics ahead of me on the list, were loudly complaining during the entire open mic. They were pissed that they had to go so late. They heckled and made fun of the comics who went up ahead of them. They were total assholes.
At one point, the host of the mic came up to me and said “Hey, those guys are total assholes. Do you want to go ahead of them?” I said sure. I went up and my set was fine. It was fun and cool. Everyone was nice to me. Those two guys after me.. .one of them did a Chappelle joke, they both bombed, and I never saw either of them again.
So what did I learn at that first open mic? Don’t be an asshole.
How do you do that? By being a good person. By being kind.
So, back to the tour talk! This is what you came for! How did we do it?
WE WORKED OUR ASSES OFF FOR FIVE YEARS TO GET GOOD AT COMEDY, WE WEREN’T ASSHOLES, AND WE WERE KIND TO PEOPLE!
If you do a festival, be polite to everyone. Try to make some friends. When you’re visiting other cities, be nice and respectful to everyone there. In the same respect, when comics from outside your scene or city visit, be cool to them. Remember, you are your scene’s ambassador. You are your city’s ambassador. There are cities I won’t go back to because the local comedians treated me like shit.
That’s the secret. Every show we did was because we were nice to someone and in turn they were nice to us, or they vouched for us. Our show in Washington DC was produced by a comedian Albert met at an open mic in Seattle in 2013. The shows we did in New Orleans were booked by comedians Nick met at the first Orlando Indie Fest. The show we did in Des Moines was produced by the guy who hosted that first open mic I ever did. The guy who was kind to me.
Without people being kind to us and us being kind to them, this tour would have never happened. Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, Austin, Tulsa, Denver, Lincoln, Omaha, Rock Island, Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were all booked because one (or in some causes all three) of us had good relationship with the comedians in those cities. These are people who were our friends and helped us out when we were in their cities.
I am not saying you should be fake or that you should be kind to people simply so you can get something later on. That is sociopathic shit and most people see through it. Just be genuine and be kind because it’s a good way to be.
Also, let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and full of glory: so if you’re cool and nice, everyone is going to know about it – just like if you’re an asshole, everyone is going to know about it. There are a handful of notorious assholes I’ve met over the years who are almost racing to burn every bridge and disappear into nothingness.
My only other tour advice would be to read LA comedian Ron Babcock’s “A Long, but By No Means Definitive ‘How-To Guide’ for Doing Your Own DIY Standup Tour” over, and over, and over. It is brilliant. He covers everything: why tour, how to book it, sponsorships, merch, lodging, everything. It is imperative that if you are attempting to plan a tour read what he wrote. We referenced it daily.
Our tour crossed paths with Ron’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We got to do a show with him, have dinner and even stayed at the same house that night. It was really cool to tell him how important his article was. It was also really cool to see him crush. He’s one of the funniest comedians out there!
When I think back on this tour my mind always comes to this one thing:
We did a show in a garage in Rock Island, Illinois which was easily one of the top 5 shows on the tour. People were hanging out following the show and these guys came up to us and introduced themselves. They were a band who had played a show in Rock Island earlier in the night. They found their way to our show and had a blast. We shared stories of what being on the road as comedians was like and they shared what being on the road as a band was like. We hung out and hand fun.
One week (and nine shows) later, we were doing a show at pizza place in Pittsburgh. All of a sudden in walked the lead singer of that band! He watched the show and laughed. It was great (honestly, we were really psyched that he remembered us at all – that was cool). Talking to him after the show, he told us that his band’s tour was going terrible. The band was fighting and arguing the whole time. They were half way through a three week tour by the time they got to Rock Island and didn’t know how they were going to put up with each other for the last half.
He said that coming to our show turned everything around. They laughed and giggled and had fun. They would quote our jokes and crack each other up. He said it saved their tour. He thanked us, genuinely, for our comedy, and for going on tour. It was amazing.
So that’s it. I hope this is what you wanted. Be cool. Live forever.
“God dammit, you’ve got to be kind.” –Kurt Vonnegut
Patrick Hastie is a stand up comedian in NYC. He’s performed in a buttload of comedy festivals including Out of Bounds, Bird City, Charm City, and the Beast Village Comedy Festival. He co-produces three monthly shows: Old Bits/New Bits, Jackknife Comedy, and Heroes & Villains and his work has been featured in The Chive, College Humor, and The Interrobang. If you want more, you can find Patrick on Twitter @PatrickHastie, read his fantastic blog at patrickhastie.com, listen to his free comedy EP “A Cool Rap Metal EP” on Beast Village Records, and find out more about his tour at youngdinosaurstour.tumblr.com.
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