The most obvious place to perform your stand-up routine is a comedy club. Check your phone book for local venues, then call them and ask if they offer open mic nights or amateur nights. Most amateur nights take place on Tuesdays or Wednesdays because they're traditionally slow nights. Call ahead to find out what time you need to be there to sign up. If a lot of people show up, the manager will probably pick about 5 or 6 names at random. Don't take it too seriously if you don't get picked. Keep going back until you do. The ones who do get chosen go on stage and do 4-8 minutes before the regular show begins. If you're really bad, they turn the mic off in the middle of your act and escort you off the stage. Comedy can be a very brutal business.

Besides comedy clubs, many bars, night clubs, and coffee shops offer open mic nights where aspiring stand-up comics can practice their craft. Once you get one or two laughs on stage, you'll get hooked. Next thing you know, you'll start tracking down any place that will let you perform. Finally, ask other would-be comics (or professional comics, if you met some) where beginners can get stage time. If they're not super-competitive, they might even tell you the truth.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW do stand-up comedy?