Frequently Asked Q's
Why does Snowflake Mic prioritize LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and women for signups?
The “Open Mic Scene” is the heart and soul of comedy in New York City.
It’s the gym where comics go to work out their material
It’s the playground where new friendships and creative partnerships are found and fostered
Most Importantly: It’s the ONLY way for new comics to enter the field
Yet somehow, despite being in one of the most “progressive” cities in the country, Open Mics in NYC are often overflowing with homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, and overt racism (both on and off stage).
If you are female, femme, LGBTQ, of color, or anything off-center of straight CIS male, just sitting in the audience makes you vulnerable. Particularly for new comics, finding a community of like-minded people can feel impossible if you’re going to the wrong mics. The result? These comics quit, and the dominance of straight CIS men in comedy continues unchecked.
Isn't stand-up hard no matter who you are?
Stand-up IS hard, regardless of your race, sexuality, age, ethnicity, etc. No one is saying that being a straight male automatically makes stand-up easy. However, 80% of the comics at Open Mics are straight men, which creates environments that are often antagonistic to anyone who is NOT a straight man.
And if you wanna get real, transphobia at Open Mics isn't limited to straight men: gay men, straight women, old, young, Black, white...If you're gender non-conforming at an Open Mic, you're probably going to get harassed. I’m not even talking about the jokes that people tell at these mics (although they are often atrocious). This isn’t about being a “PC” comic, or being “supportive.” It’s about being able to walk into a room as a trans / gay / femme / female human being to work on your material without a bunch of CIS male cucks tripping over themselves to make fun of you with a microphone in their hand.
Open Mics are shitty, what can you do about it?
Actually, not all Open Mics are like that. A lot of mics have been popping up all over the city that are designed to combat this dynamic with one or more of the following tactics:
Sign-ups are limited to women and LGBTQ+ performers
Host expressly state that overtly transphobic, misogynist, racist, or otherwise toxic material isn't allowed
Mic advertises itself as safe space for women and/or LGBTQ+
The host is an ally who will vocally call out people for their toxic behavior on-and-off stage
So what, you think ALL mics should be ran like that?? ISN'T THAT CENSORSHIP!?!
No. Different rooms offer different things. In fact, as a queer, non-binary performer, I find a lot of value in those really difficult rooms. They build character. I also find that it's more beneficial to work on queer material with a queer room. Ultimately, we comics should be figuring out how to perform for a wide variety of audiences.
If you feel censored, there are plenty of rooms in this city where you can tell your tired ass premises about trans women and get all your feelings out about PC snowflakes. Hell, you can try that at Snowflake Mic if you get on! But the room's not gonna want to hear it.
So mics that don't cater to women and gay people SHOULD BE BANNED!?!?
I feel like you're yelling at me.... but no, that's not what I'm saying. There are a lot of great mics in the city that don't take these precautions. Snowflake does.
SO YOU THINK WOMEN AND LGBTQ+ PEOPLE SHOULDN'T GO TO MICS YOU DEEM TOXIC?!!?!?
Okay you ARE yelling at me. Also, no. It's the opposite. If you're a woman or LGBTQ+ comic and you have it in you to put up with the bullshit you'll experience doing regular mics, then PLEASE go out there and give it your all. It's vital that we make ourselves seen and heard and stop letting a bunch of jerks take over all the cool comedy venues. The culture won't change if we fully segregate ourselves.
And again: ALL comics should try to perform for a variety of rooms and audiences to make sure you're becoming the best comic you can be.
I'm a lady and/or LGBTQ+ comic and I think the "safe" mics are dishonestly supportive. What do you say to that?
Thank god, a question that's not in all caps.
Look, there's a reason they're supportive: those audiences are hungry for performers they identify with. Do for them what you would do for ANY other audience: figure out what they want, adapt your material for them to the best of your ability, and try to have fun. If you feel like they're giving it to you too easily, there's plenty of rooms in the city who will respond with the silence and adversity you're looking for. Have fun, stay strong, come back to the supportive rooms when you're tired.
I'm LGBTQIA+ / BIPOC / a woman: am I guaranteed to not bomb at Snowflake Mic or be offended by someone's material?
GOD NO. You'll still have to tell jokes to strangers who may or may not find you funny, which means you risk bombing, offending, being offended, and all the other elements of chaos that exist in the wonderful world of Stand-Up Comedy.
The hope is that you'll have fun bombing, trying new things, meeting like minded people, and putting yourself out there.