I tend to be competitive by nature so when I first started competing in comedy contests it was all about winning and if I lost it would be the end of the world to me. A couple of weeks ago my friend Eric taught me that the real purpose of competing in a contest is to get your face out there and try out different rooms. I also learned that doing a comedy contest is a great way to network with other comics, get feedback from judges on how you can improve your act and it gives club owners/bookers an opportunity to see you perform.
The key to winning a contest is to be relaxed and enjoy your moment on stage. Contests also motivate you to workout (Write and hit up open mics) more to refine your act, make your jokes more punchier and to shorten the set ups.
Not all contests are going to be fair (Some will award winners by a certain look or the amount of people that you bring) and that is ok also. At the first season of “Last Comic Standing” Ralphie May placed 2nd yet he was clearly the funnier comic than whoever won it. He ended up getting more fans from the exposure which resulted in him blowing up and becoming more popular while no one even knows what the first place winner is up to.
Competing in a contest benefitted me, because someone saw my act, liked it and referred me to a booker which ended up getting me more work. So if I am competing in a contest and I am not winning or placing then I wouldn’t compare myself to the other winners (Since I have no control over how they perform) rather I would focus on my act to see if it’s getting funnier. If you keep recording your contest set, watch your past performance and keep improving than you are bound to place and eventually win. The way that I am now taking these contests is as a networking, learning experience and of course I want to win (Which person in the right mind doesn’t), but if you don’t win it’s not the end of the world, because the end goal of comedy is to become funnier!