Stand Up Comedians and the Art of Free Comedy - Entertainment

Stand Up Comedians and the Art of Free Comedy   by Sean Green

in Entertainment    (submitted 2011-05-11)

The old adage everyone thinks they're a comedian seems to be true now more than ever. Social networking has helped to give everyone a platform and a voice and many are using it to make people laugh. While everyone on the Internet seems to think they are a stand up comedian, actual comedians are increasing their online presence at an unparallel rate. Established stand up comedians and rising stars a like are providing free comedy at previously unheard of levels. Whether it's a YouTube video, a free comedy podcast or a Twitter feed every working comedian is providing free comedy. The Internet has revolutionized the entertainment world and free content seems to be par for the course for establishing and maintaining an audience. Stand up comedians are using social media and new media as tools for spreading their brand of comedy and helping to add to audiences that seem them perform.

Stand up comedians have been creating free comedy intentionally and unintentionally on YouTube. Sometimes popular comedians have unwittingly found their material pirated on YouTube. This unintended free comedy can have a mixed effect, sometimes it helps the comedian by increasing their popularity, but can hurt sales of a DVD or CD if the material is distributed via piracy. Free comedy on YouTube is often the intended purpose for up and coming comics. By posting samples of their stand up routines, comics can gain exposure online and help nurture their fan base. Unknown comics can become famous overnight with a properly placed viral YouTube video. Viral videos on YouTube can often times provide plenty of unintentional free comedy that can be content. Comics like Daniel Tosh and Jimmy Kimmel often integrate YouTube videos into their programs and seem to turn the tide of free comedy online.

Podcasting is an in depth way to do online radio and is often more intimate than a YouTube clip. Comedy podcasts are either formatted like a radio show or television show and can easily be downloaded and disseminated. Adam Carolla, Joe Rogan, Greg Fitzsimmons, Bill Burr and Kevin Smith are all leading successful comedy podcasts. The comedy podcasts may be free to download, but the popularity has allowed them to fill up theaters for their comedy shows. The podcast is essentially an hour long advertisement for the comedian and their particular flavor of comedy. Free comedy in hour long chunks may seem like an unwise investment, but even successful comedians are finding value in it. Obviously new comedians are enjoying the ability to have anyone with an Internet connection listen to their comedy. Additionally once someone is subscribed to the podcast, the fan will have a new episode delivered every time it has been released.

Twitter is limited to 140 charachters, and much quicker experience than podcasting or YouTube. Twitter is a text only social networking service that allows people share messages in 140 character chunks. Stand up comedians use it in various ways, the first is as a promotional tool. Whoever is following the comedian can easily be updated about future club dates or appearances. Comedians also use Twitter to share jokes and essentially try out material. Some popular comedians have follower totals in the millions and have seen it as it's own unique medium. Witstream and FavStar are different services that were created that highlight popular Twitter users often which are well known comedians, or aspiring up and coming comedians.

You read about the extravagant salaries some comedians command but don't realize all the work that is involved in giving out free comedy. Podcasts, YouTube videos and Twitter, comedians often times have to crank out tons of free comedy in order to keep up with other comedians and maintain a connection with their fan base. Free comedy can be just as good as the stuff you'll see in the clubs or theaters, sometimes it's their best stuff. Comedy can be found in all different types of media and making other people laugh never seems to go away. New media has brought about a new landscape for entertainment, and the position of comedian seems to be constantly redefined. The Internet has changed the ratio of free comedy to paid comedy, and it seems like it is essential to the job of being a stand up comic.