The man who brought the RPM Challenge to NL is launching a similar endeavour tonight, with The Stand Up Challenge. The challenge is simple: create, rehearse, and then perform a five-minute set of stand-up comedy. You don’t need to be a comic — this can be your first crack at cracking people up.

Like the RPM Challenge, where locals make an album of original music in February just for the sense of accomplishment, the Stand-up Challenge is not a competition; it’s just for fun, and to help make June feel a little different than May and July.

In exchange, you get feedback from experienced comics in the audience, and a shot at qualifying to perform at the grand finale in July. Its an endeavour of Unpossible NL. Keep up on the challenge, and its many fabulous associated workshops on their Facebook page.

It’s free to sign up, and beginners, amateurs, and professionals are all welcome, making it a chance to try stand-up while others do the same (so you’re all in it together). Or, it’s a way to start taking your humour more seriously.

If you’re a pro, why not use this as a way to step outside of your go-to comfort zone and try something completely different? Local musicians do this with the RPM Challenge: some great hip hop has emerged from local folk and rock musicians, for instance. That’s precisely what established comedian Shaun Burton plans to do.

“The Funniest Newfoundlander” Looking to Flex New Muscles

Shaun Burton is signed up — many know him as “The Funniest Newfoundlander” for having won a competition of the same name run by Yuk Yuk’s in 2012. He wanted to be a part of this simply because he works best under pressure.

“Telling a bunch of people I’m going to write five new minutes in a month is a great way to put pressure on yourself. that sounds like a joke but it’s true, the only time I would get work done in school was because it was due the next day.”

That said, he confesses he hasn’t started writing the material yet — but this is encouragement for those reading this that it’s not too late to sign up. “It’s not june 29th yet” he says.

His goal is to write jokes in a style different than he’s used to. “I have always been a conversational storytelling type comic, where the jokes are reliant to the context of the story, and I want to write a bunch of one liners that aren’t necessarily connected to each other at all. I think that would be fun to do.”

Kismet: Beginner Sandra Mills Was Going to Make the Leap Anyway

“I wanted to try standup this year mostly as a challenge for myself, even before I heard about this challenge, and the first-timer shows going on. It’s actually on Facebook as a “goal for 2016, hilariously.”
Mills is no stranger to performing, but it’s always been acting or singing or being involved on the production side of things, whereas comedy feels like “something you really can’t do and expect to hide behind someone else; it’s all you and the material.”
But as she points out, comparing stand up to theatre, there is a little room to hide. “Are you yourself, are you a character? Are you a hyper-idealized version of yourself without the crippling self doubt, or do you embrace the nerves and just roll with it?”
Mills says she loves the Nerdist podcast, “they talk a lot about standup and how to get started and that really put the idea in my head that I could try it and see how I was at it. It’s amazing that the stars aligned to give me a really good excuse to stick to my goal, I love that the challenge is happening.
“I always wanted to do the RPM but I can’t really write music or play instruments, but the beauty of the Stand Up challenge is anyone can do it. You just have to have a few jokes and try to be funny!” Her biggest worry is understandably coming up with a set.
So far her material “is just based on thoughts I’ve had drifting off to sleep honestly. I love pop culture (the first joke I wrote was about Disney princesses) so some my jokes are sort of based on that because that’s literally my life outside work.
“I have a few bits about being single, and now I’m writing more current events material that I’ll probably eventually use somewhere else in a set but you never know. It’s essentially all about me and things I’ve experienced or think about the world. Classic narcissist, me.”

Open Mics Are Happening Every Monday at LSPU HALL

These open mics are happening on Mondays, what better day to catch a few laughs as a pick me up? The first open mic is tonight at the LSPU Hall, from 8:30-9:30, and they’ll happen all month long, same time and place. Email to secure a spot, quickly. It’s free if you perform; $5 for audience.

To get you in the mood, here’s a video about how Sarah Walsh got started: