100 sets in 100 days: Stand-up comedian invites peers for public challenge

New Year’s resolutions amongst comedians are coming with some public accountability. A bunch of stand-up comedians are challenging themselves to do 100 sets in 100 days—and no, improv doesn’t count. Chicago-based stand-up Brianna Murphy shared a public Google Doc on her Facebook profile January 1 challenging comedians to track their sets for the next 100 days—open mics, club spots, bar shows, and that fabled laundromat gig.

New Year’s resolutions are all the rage and many of us never complete them after collecting 127 likes on a grandiose Facebook announcement. Public accountability is a great motivator to keep going. “I figured after the holidays, what better way to start the new year off!” said Murphy. The doc already has 57 comedians signed up as of this writing.

 “I didn’t come up with the challenge. I actually am just piggybacking off of a challenge that Emily Winter did last summer,” Murphy explains. “She did a 50 sets in 50 days challenge and, at the end of it, a lot of us joked about extending it 50 more days…I wouldn’t have done it without her lead. I think she also did it in conjunction with another challenge she had last year to get 100 rejections. She’s amazing and we are all just following in her footsteps!”

Winter explained that the impetus for the challenge was a conversation between her and fellow comedian Patrick Hastie, who started the challenge with her. “Patrick Hastie came up with [the idea]…Patrick and I are good friends and we talk a lot about how to stay motivated in comedy,” Winter told Laughspin.

The challenge started as a small private group of about 20 comedians close to Winter and Hastie. In the private group, about half of the comedians finished the challenge. Last summer, Winter organized a public challenge. This time they opened it to the public and over 60 comedians rose to the challenge with 13 finishing. LA-based comedian Ian Russo clocked in with the most sets with 152.

Hastie himself started it as a competition between him and friend Gideon Hambright. “[We] started the current rash of these back in 2014,” Hastie says. “We’d do them, just the two of us. And then I did a 50 in 50 in 2015 and 2016. Then 2017 we opened it up to close friends.”

Murphy wants to make this year’s challenge even bigger. “[There’s] more people every day. I tried to share it with a lot of different comedy scene Facebook groups, even one in London, to get as many people all over involved,” she says.

The challenge can seem daunting but Murphy wants to make sure it is fun and a way for comedians to grow and stay accountable to their goals more than anything else. “My tip for comics trying to hit 100 is to do your best. It’s just a fun challenge. Try not to go nuts. We are all going to die one day and this challenge is not what you will remember when your life flashes before your eyes,” she jokes.

She continues, “The hardest part of this challenge is nothing because it’s easy and we should all be getting 100 sets in every day! Ha! Truly it can just be scheduling or pushing for that extra set even though you know you open at your day job the next day. I think having an end date helps you push harder. Truly this is just a fun tool for motivation and will maybe ignite the feeling of competition within some of us that helps us overcome the winter depression that’s squeezing us around the neck.”

Are you a comedian who wants to challenge themselves? It’s not too late to start! You can sign up here.

Rosa Escandon

I am a stand up comic and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. When I'm not on stage, I am Comedy Editor for The Tusk, sit on the board of the Cinder Block Comedy Festival, and writing my next project. I am passionate about writing about feminism and comedy as well as how women, LBGTQ people, and minorities are changing the face of comedy and entertainment. You may have seen me on Buzzfeed Video, Seriously.TV, aplus, or maybe just on twitter.

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