In my continuing effort to get better at using a handheld mic, I went out to a comedy show to watch how comedians hold and use the mic. It also helped that a buddy of mine was in town headlining the show, so it was a good chance to say hi.
All of the comedians in the show used a handheld mic, it’s rare to see a comic use anything else other than a handheld. One thing that I noticed I was doing and they all did was they used the mic as a prop. Kinda like how a conductor uses a baton, it was used to emphasize things they were saying. When I started using the handheld mic earlier this month, I noticed I was a lot more expressive with my hands. Normally my hands wouldn’t really have a reason to be near my face, and the motions I make holding the mic would look strange without holding the mic.
One thing I need to do now is watch my show and figure out where I can clean it up the unnecessary moves in and out of the mic stand.
A fun little side bonus is setting up my show is fast now that I don’t have to deal with my wireless headset mic!
P.S. If you are want to learn to use, or get better with a handheld mic, I recommend Michael Kent’s video Microphone Management for Magicians! He does a great job covering pretty much all you need to know and it will save you some time.
When I was first starting out performing in comedy clubs in the early 2000’s I had to use a wired handheld microphone. As I progress through my career, I switched to a wireless headset. I’m now playing with going back to being able to do my show with a wired handheld microphone. The main reason is that it’s logistically easy. I don’t need to travel with my own gear, and it also makes trying out new stuff and open mic’s much easier.
I’m performing all month doing three shows a day at a fair, and aside from working on some new material, I’m also trying to relearn to use a handheld microphone. My preshow right now is a stand up set of jokes, which runs about 7 minutes, and I’m now doing that all with the handheld mic. I’m still wearing my headset during this, but using the handheld.
Right now my goal is every day to move the handheld one bit further into the show. Right now, I have my preshow stand up set, my two new “preshow” tricks and then first actual trick in the show all done with the handheld. The next routine is really three tricks in one routine. I was dreading figuring out how to add the handheld microphone to it as parts of it are pretty physical. Then it hit me, I need to look at it as three tricks, not one routine. Once I broke it down that way, it’s much easier to start figuring out how to do it with a handheld microphone.
I was chatting with the sound engineer at my stage about what microphone to get and he suggested the Shure SM58S. This is the version of the Shure SM58, but it has an on/off switch which is something I want. Right now if I’m jumping back and forth between the headset and the handheld, I need that switch so that I’m not being picked up by both mics.
If you’ve never used a handheld, I suggest you learn how, it’ll be helpful the one time your headset dies right before showtime.