12 thoughts on “What Will Comedy Careers Look Like In 10 Years?

  1. Kyle Kubiak says:

    The future sounds great! The part about comedy clubs going away is something I can really see happening. I would rather do a bar show or a one nighter instead of comedy club because there is more freedom and more interaction with the audience.

  2. Dustin Morby says:

    Are you crazy…yes i can see alot of clubs going away as well. With all these big venues popping up and the other ones starting to book comedy its going to move to the theatres and the such…

    Here’s what i have a problem with…you would rather perform in a bar? You realize almost non of those people came to see you…its just bar people. they are drunk and loud and horrible judges for comedy. They are there to get drunk and socialize…2 things that will kill your show. More freedom? To move around (on the make shift stage that reeks of vomit)? Because you work dirty and the clubs don’t like it? Challenge yourself because just performing in bars doesn’t make you a comedian. How do you interact with an audience that as a collective couldn’t say their abc’s forwards? Do you enjoy having a poorly lit performance area? a mic with feedback? being bookend with karaoke?

    Sure there are drunks in the comedy clubs…they came to see comedy! HELLO! You give them what they came to see and everyone leaves happy!

  3. Your are so right Dustin, well said

  4. Derik Boik says:

    Hey, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what you’ve said here. I agree but I have questions. You say podcasts will all go video but the podcasts I enjoy most are WTF, the Nerdist, Comedy Death Ray… and they’re all about an hour long. I can’t imagine sitting in front of the computer and watching hour long interviews. I listen to podcasts while I’m driving or on the subway, much easier than watching something.

    So, won’t comedy video podcasts have to be much shorter? Like 5 minutes? 10?

  5. Josh Spector says:

    Hey Derik, here’s a few more thoughts about that.

    First, I’m not saying podcasts won’t be avail in audio versions, just that they’ll also be avail in video versions. In a lot of cases, this is already happening through live streams on UStream, etc.

    Also, keep in mind that increasingly all these “Internet” videos will be watched a lot of places other than your computer – in the very near future you’ll watch just as many YouTube videos on your TV as you will on your computer. Plus, if you’re on the subway and you’ve got a smartphone, you’ll be just as likely to watch a podcast video during your ride then you will to listen to one. Driving is a little different situation obviously.

    Also, if somebody wants to watch shorter clips, these podcasts can easily be converted into shorter highlight videos for people that only want to watch a little – just the same way people watch clips from the Daily Show or SNL online even though the whole episodes are also avail.

    Basically, as more TVs become Internet connected, there will be no difference between how you watch the Daily Show or WTF or SNL or Comedy Death Ray. It’s just a matter of production value, but production costs are getting so cheap that the lines between TV and Internet will become non-existent just like they are now for radio vs. podcast.

  6. Phil Johnson says:

    I think you’re pretty well on with these. Some are good, some bad. Personally, I like the idea of people “just going out to see comedy”. That’s a discovery process that people are open to now. The music industry long ago fragmented into fans and bands which just made if harder to get in front of people. The flip side is that your fan base “gets” you and will take the ride you want to go on. But being able to play for random strangers is a different and helpful angle as well.

    I would definitely love to see clubs webcasting their shows. But they’ll have to deal with all the comics that don’t want their material broadcasted, either at all or without more pay.

  7. Risky Betts says:

    I think you are on the right track, it won’t be long until all of our gigs are being broadcast live (by us) to everyones iPad or similar device,,,I guess the big question is how will we get revenue from it?

  8. Comedy clubs are a way to get audiences who go to pay better attention and have a higher appreciation. There’s usually only one person in the audience who is gonna heckle or be a disturbance, but for the most part, people who pay specifically for a show pay better attention for their money. Without comedy clubs, comedians are going to be wrangling bar crowds, and the comedy would be more about crowd work than material. I love crowd work, but the slow death of material would be really tragic…

  9. I think that I would hate to see clubs go, because that is where the art of comedy happens. Watching a video of a performer is not like watching them live, a lot is lost in the translation from live performance to video.

  10. John Conroy says:

    I agree with you about there being fewer clubs in 10 years but I think the clubs that survive will be more relevant. It’s still the best place to watch comedy. Some clubs are just stuck in the old model still using shitty road hacks. That’s the easy fix with all this new extra access, you can find the best more easily. Clubs like laughing skull, acme, comedy on state, comedy attic, go bananas are already doing it. The clubs that do their due diligence and bring in the 50 best comics in the world will not only survive but flourish

  11. Sean Kent says:

    I stumbled across this article & I have to say I disagree with it.
    Comedy clubs that cater to people “looking to see some comedy” are not going anywhere.
    Some will fail, some new ones will pop up.
    That’s how it’s always been.
    People thought DVDs would kill movies but movies make more money than ever.
    The reason is coned clubs provide a service that will always be in demand – an affordable night out that leaves you feeling good.
    Seeing a “name” comedian isn’t always affordable, the logistics can be harder (they’re in town for one night but the club is open 52 weeks a year) and people will always enjoy laughing.
    I’ve been a headliner for 11 years and every year I see 21 year olds make up a healthy portion of the audience.
    These are first time club goers who were 10 when I started headlining. So the audience will continue to refresh itself.
    People leave a club after a good show feeling better than if they just saw an Oscar winning film. That’s something that has value and will keep the clubs in business.
    I also think podcasts will continue to be mostly audio.
    99% of podcasts are not profitable. Even the top ones. They are merely ways for that person to drive people to their live shows or other business ventures. Spending money on video production makes no sense. You certainly won’t be able to get a big star. They may not mind being interviewed for an audio podcast in a garage but they certainly won’t want to be seen doing that. They’ll also want make-up, etc.
    Plus the way people consume these podcasts prohibits looking at them – driving, doing dishes or “working” at your job don’t leave room for you to watch something.
    People said MTV would kill radio. It didn’t.
    People thought Comedy Central would kill live shows. Instead comedy is more at the forefront than ever before and we even have “comedy nerds” now.
    We have our own nerds! How cool is that?
    Anyway I enjoy your articles but this one is totally wrong in every way. 🙂

  12. Unathi says:


    thanks for all your articles they are very valuable, I am learning alot I have been doing comedy for about six months now and I have only performed 5 times, so I have taken your advise to start my own thing, so I am busy working on that now, do you have any advise for me?



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