Post image for Comedy Business Digest: Issue 25

Comedy Business Digest: Issue 25

April 22, 2012

Here’s a few things that caught my eye recently that I thought you might want to see:

You Can Join The YouTube Partners Program Now

YouTube has broadened its partner program which allows creators to monetize their videos and access some special features like custom thumbnails and banners for your channel. Don’t expect to get rich quick – unless you’re already getting a ton of views – but it’s worth joining because it puts you on YouTube’s radar and you never know what may come your way as a result.

Speaking of YouTube, you should also check out the YouTube Creators Playbook, which is YouTube’s official audience development guide which is basically a fancy way of saying it’s their advice for how to get more people to see your stuff.

Can Chicago Create A Sustainable Comedy Scene?

Inspired by The Onion’s decision to move its offices to Chicago, several local Chicago comedy scene experts gathered to discuss the city’s place in the larger comedy landscape.

“Make a list of the most successful alumni of The Second City. Then, in a column next to that, write down where all those people live. The reality is that people who want to work in entertainment move to the place where the jobs are, and that is not Chicago. And replacing 2/3 of a staff with people from a theater training program who are getting their first real job is a recipe for disaster.”

Whether or not the staff — or other writers — are happy with the move, The Onion consolidating in Chicago offers the city an amazing chance to become a real comedy mecca, not just a state-of-the-art training facility. They want to expand to build a production studio, and take advantage of a 30% Illinois tax credit on all video business — even web, where much of their content lives.”

The British Comedy Crunch

British GQ has a lengthy article that looks at the British comedy scene and how the country’s tough economic times have led to a comedy boom on television, which in turn may be leading to trouble for the industry.

“The boom in stand-up on TV, while it undoubtedly helped propel a small group of comedians to national prominence, worked against stand-up at the level of the local comedy club. The new clubs closed as rapidly as they had opened, but even the established ones, which had been managing quite nicely for years, struggled, as people preferred to watch stand-up on TV rather than go out and see the real thing live.

Like any form of the passing show that is entertainment, stand-up will always be in a state of flux, but the early Nineties slump was a serious one, a boom and bust that TV created through overexposure. It worked against people experiencing comedy live and sounded the final death knell for Las Vegas as the home of the successful stand-up. From now on, stand-up’s place would be on TV and the result was to promote a homogenised, safer, less individualistic type of comedian. The late Bernie Mac was asked by Playboy in 2004 if cable TV had helped or hurt comedy. He replied, “I don’t know about comedy, but cable ruined comedy clubs.”

The most obvious parallel between British stand-up now and the American scene of the late Eighties is the structure of the business: an abundance of wannabes earning peanuts at the bottom of the food chain, a small elite making huge money at the top thanks to regular TV exposure, and very little in between. It’s a potentially unstable edifice.”

77% Of Fans Prefer Email Marketing

I write a lot about the importance of growing your email list as opposed to just focusing on your social media networks, and this new study supports that idea.

“ExactTarget asked almost 1,500 US online consumers (age 15 and up) about how they prefer to get permission-based marketing messages and a whopping 77 percent said email — a number that dwarfs all other options in the survey. Direct mail was second at nine percent and text messaging was third at five percent.

Social media barely registered, a sign that even as consumers like and follow brands, that’s not how or where they want to be marketed to. Only four percent of respondents said Facebook is their preferred way to get promotional messages and only one percent said Twitter.”

Stand Up Comics Turned Storytellers

The New York Times breaks down the rising popularity of storytelling as a new outlet for comedians.

“Like any genre, storytelling has its clichés. So many monologues begin with a carefully wrought bang of a first line and end with an ingratiating moral. Every dating nightmare seems to have one red flag, and when did the accordion become the new guitar?

Stand-up comics, conditioned to pursue laughs doggedly, can have trouble adjusting. Janeane Garafolo’s aimless recent performance at Risk was just basically a list of jokes. And yet Colin Quinn’s heartbreakingly funny description of bombing at a gig at Robert De Niro’s birthday party has a kind of relentless comic energy.”

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