Being a stand-up comic must take balls of steel. Walking on stage to the unknown, never sure if the crowd will like your jokes or get you or notice that you're sweating massively. No thanks. We'll take the role of the passive audience while these three stand-up comedians brave it for our viewing pleasure.
Chances are you've probably seen Dusty Slay perform his stand-up around town; he's been doing it for close to a decade — nine years to be exact. And he's been performing in the Charleston Comedy Festival for the last three. As the perennial winner of the Charleston Stand-Up Competition, the guy is a seasoned pro by now (he also acted as an emcee prior to his performing credits).
This year he'll take the stage with two L.A.-based comedians, and he's up for it. "It challenges me to be better ... I don't want to look like a local," explains Slay. "Usually, I'm paired up with my friends, people I know. It'll be nice to see how it is with new people," he adds.
To ensure that he's putting his best joke forward, Slay plans on using a highlight reel of his most successful jokes from 2013 — the ones he knows will slay a crowd.
He's excited to meet his fellow comics, even though he's already Facebook friends with Sunah Bilsted. "But I don't think I've ever met her," he adds. That sounds about right — thanks Facebook for making awkward meetings less — er, more — awkward.
Sunah Bilsted had a pretty big 2013. She finished her short film #twitterkills, tweaked her stand-up routines, and worked on a movie with Robin Williams — no big deal. The film, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, should be out pretty soon.
But for the comedy fest, it's not about other big names. Her act will focus more on life. Sound heavy? It's not. "I just like to be off the cuff," she says. "Hopefully my humiliations will inspire people to be more humiliated in their own lives."
Bilsted has a knack for turning uncomfortable moments into comedic gold. Bad dates? She's been there. She dishes on break-ups too. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be the dumpee, especially when the guy you dumped becomes rich and happy as soon as you dump him.
And she promises that her self-deprecating humor will change some lives. OK, she doesn't. In fact, she hates talking about herself, but we'll go ahead and say that we think her show could be life changing. And if not life changing, it'll be entertaining.
Quincy Jones wanted to get better at performing during 2012, so the Los Angeles-based comedian used comic god George Carlin's advice. "[He] said the best way to get better was to get up wherever, whenever," Jones says. So that's what he did. Jones took over the L.A. comedy scene by getting up on stage more than 1,000 times last year.
"Mathematically it averages out to about three [shows] a night," says Jones. "I just really wanted to get better."
And those shows weren't at the same venue either. He traveled around Los Angeles as often as he could, stopping in at any place that was having a show that night.
"The most I did was seven in one night. It's especially hard with no car in L.A.," Jones explains. "I have a bike. You plan it out. You look at the available spots. Should I start here? Go east to west? I usually go west to east. Then I'd go to the guaranteed spots."
Charleston Comedy Festival is his first major festival, and he's pretty pumped to show Charleston his take on observational comedy.
He'll be performing two shows in Charleston — and on separate nights — so he won't have to bike all over town and miss what people are doing.