Everyone knows Patrick Mohan as an English teacher, but a lesser-known fact about him is he is also a stand-up comedian.
Mohan started performing stand-up comedy in August 2015 at Eastville Comedy Club in Brooklyn, New York, and has had a total of eight performances throughout the years since.
“I only do it in New York, [where] I spend pretty much the whole summer,” Mohan said. “A lot of stand-up comedy is a scam, like ‘come take our comedy classes for 200 dollars and we’ll give you 15 minutes [performance time.]’ I go to clubs that don’t charge much, where it’s five dollars and you only get a five-minute set.”
Mohan said watching a talent show called “Last Comic Standing” inspired him to try stand-up. The now-cancelled reality TV competition aired on NBC until 2015, and its purpose was to find a promising comedian from a group of auditionees.
“[It] was like ‘American Idol’ for stand-up comedians,” Mohan said. “I would always comment on how bad some of the comedians were, so I said ‘I could probably do as well as that person, so […] let me just try it,’ with no intention of becoming a comedian or getting famous for it.”
Mohan said he did not experience stage fright during his first open mic show because he saw how unprepared other people were.
“I came up with more than five minutes of material, and when I got there the first night, I realized how little people prepare for open mics,” Mohan said. “Some people don’t prepare at all and just ramble up there, […] so I wasn’t too nervous because there weren’t really any high stakes to it.”
A challenge Mohan said he faced during his first performance was the lack of genuine audience reaction to his material.
“Sometimes what I’ll joke about is how little of a reaction people give at open mics,” Mohan said. “But you can’t go to an open mic expecting a great reaction because the majority of the audience is made up of other [comedians] who are there to do their five minutes, so […] they’re just waiting for their time to come on.”
Though Mohan said stand-up comedy is just a hobby to him, he would like to perform in more popular clubs with bigger audiences.
“I’d be curious to see [the reaction] in an unbiased crowd,” Mohan said. “Even [with] well-known comedians like Kevin Hart […], if someone said the material he said, I don’t think a lot of people would laugh, but because it’s Kevin Hart and you paid money to see him; people feel that they need to.”
Mohan even made an appearance on the Netflix special, “Bumping Mics With Jeff Ross & Dave Attell.”
“I saw [Ross and Attell] live,” Mohan said. “I was in the audience and you could see the back of my head and the side of my face at one point.”
Aside from “Ross and Attell,” Mohan also mentioned Norm Macdonald and Brian Regan among his favorite comedians.
“Macdonald is someone I consider to be a comedic genius,” Mohan said. “Regan is [also] really good because he’s one of the few who is totally clean, [which] I think is hard to do and he’s been doing it for probably 30 years.”
Though Mohan has only done stand-up in New York, he said he would consider performing in D.C., if his family would not attend his shows.
“It just feels like something I want to get out of my system,” Mohan said. “I would want to do it in the D.C. area one time, and I wouldn’t mind if other teachers came to see me. But with family members, I request they don’t come, just because the material is kind of raunchy.”