Weekly open mic night brings laughter to Baton Rouge

Weekly open mic night brings laughter to Baton Rouge
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Take a little sarcasm, throw in some snark and mix it in a big bowl of innuendo and you've got the recipe for a comedy experiment that has had Baton Rouge laughing for nearly six years.

Local funny men Robert Rau and Johnny Worsham are the mad scientists behind the experiment known as Delete Comedy's Open Mic Night. It is a place to see the jokes and average Joes hone themselves into biting wit.

"I like when a comic, pretty much is doing an experiment on stage, not necessarily in a lab coat, but they're trying something new out in front of an audience," said Rau.

He calls the show, hosted every Wednesday at The Station Bar, comedy in general.

"We love to see people come out for that, but in order to see comedy at an open mic, you have to see a lot of bad comedy. It's a nice mix of those two," he said.

The show has evolved from previous incarnations of amateur comedy in Baton Rouge as has the show's name. When the previous owner of the program wanted out, he asked for his name to stricken from the show.

"We couldn't afford a new backdrop, but we could certainly afford duct tape," Rau joked. "We covered the backdrop in duct tape and wrote 'delete' on there."

The name stuck, and now it attracts aspiring funny men from as far away as Lafayette, New Orleans and Thibodaux.

As Worsham explains it, part of the appeal of Delete Comedy is the amateur-friendly setting that makes it easy for beginners to make their comedy bones.

"In order for you to perform at The Funny Bone, you had to accrue a certain amount of time and get to know the right people," he said. "Over here, if you have a pulse and you're ready to tell a joke, we'll take you. We don't care who you are. How do you think they got me?"

On any given Wednesday night, as many as 15 to 20 amateurs take the stage for a five minute set, many for the first time. Some hit home runs and others foul out, but it is all part of learning the craft of comedy.

"Usually, people feel really good when they get down, whether they bombed or not, because they get down thinking, 'Wow, I just did that,'" said Worsham.

Rau adds that the local audience truly pulls for each comedian to succeed and sometimes helps drag the comedian across home plate.

Also the audiences seem to get it. Comedians routinely play to a packed house.

"It's the most entertainment that they can get for five bucks, which could be a compliment or could be the biggest insult we have to our local comedy scene." said Rau.

Local comics work on their material for several months and then land a headliner slot, a full thirty-minute show with a small paycheck at the end of the night.

"And then, the sky's the limit," said Rau. "You don't have to stick around with us any more. You can go off and be somebody famous."

While no one from Delete Comedy has hit the big time yet, several have gone on to bigger cities and put out their own stand-up DVDs.

In a crowded entertainment scene, Delete Comedy is starting to make it's mark. Rau, Worsham and all their comics are hoping the experiment in funny continues.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.