Piggy-backing on a post I made last month, I want to touch on some recent events and advice that might help you out as well.
Here in Dallas, we have started a weekly variety show at a bar. We set up shop on their backporch, and have free run of the place. We do an hour show and ask for tips. Right now there are four of us (Three magicians and one sideshow performer, all with our own unique styles) so we pretty much break even for food and gas after the money split. However, if we pull in enuff people, we can possibly get paid to do this and garner quite a following AND sell off merch in the long run.
Why did I bother you with the details of MY life? As an example of how easy it is to find places to perform and make a little money while you practice in front of real people WEEKLY. Nothing makes you better and field tests those new routines, than a weekly gig.
So find some friends, make some flyers, get a bar with a back porch and an open mind. You start bringing in a crowd on a usually lackluster night, they will not only appreciate you, but other live alternative acts in the long run. (Long run being the operative term. Something like this will not be a success right from the start. You have to stick it out and ride the waves of ups and down, good weather and bad.)
So get yer asses out there and become better performers by actually performing.
You'll be glad yah did.