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Can Comedians Survive?

In the Twitter age

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#21 Severus

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:25 PM

Fbook is now overrun by deluded individuals who consider their daily motions somehow worthy of comment. For a first time user this may be amusing, for myself today was the day to shut my account. Even observing the village idiots has had it's day. It was nice to catch up with my old school mates of '85 but unfortunately the class of 2013 are just as sad as they were then.

Twitter is even worse, just a short-hand version so even the illiterate get a go. Full of mis-information, gossip, bullying, bigotry, lies, defamation, child groomers, the odd joke and, if you're lucky, an amazing insight. I just don't have the time. Unless someone comes up with a definitive "you've been framed on the internet", I think I've done my time with social networking.

I've long worked out that my trusted networks are the only ones worth having and most of the people in mine have switched off fbook, etc. Sometimes good old fashioned funny people are far better appreciated in company than taking your jokes via text or twitter.

The other thing is that once the government gets it's act together, the internet will be useful for nothing but paying bills.

Agree with you re. Facebook. Some of my mates posts shares and likes that make them look like right idiots when I know they aren't IRL. There seems to be lots of mushy, sycophantic ###### being shared around, e.g., here is a post of a cute fluffy rabbit, like and share if you love your mother etc.

Twitter is interesting that your experience is very much dependent on who you follow. If someone gets on your ####, unfollow them. After a while you'll get a good blend of people who you like who are interesting and people you don't like but still have interesting things to say.
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#22 steef

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:57 AM

Most really good comedians don't tell "jokes" in the traditional sense, more often its looking at life and twisting/exagerating it into something funny. People like Rhod gilbert/ricky gervais/john bishop couldn't have their work put online, it just wouldn't work without the timing and emotion they put into it. One look at the dvd charts at christmas tells you comedians are doing ok.
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#23 Alfies Thumb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:45 AM

Not only will comedy survive, it thrives on new technology. Look at someone like Russell Peters. He even admits that without Youtube, he wouldn't have been as successful as he is now. Plus, knowing that people are expecting new material means comedians are now working harder than ever to get laughs. I became a comedian in 2007 and have been getting paid for about 3 years now. Sure, I don't earn enough to feed my family solely from comedy but I am able to stay above the poverty line. New technology like Twitter has made it possible for people all over the world to read my writing and has opened doors for me which would have remained closed had I stuck with doing pure stage time. Now I put stuff up on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and various blogs and it really helps the creative process.

Then again, like Steef said above, I don't actually tell one-liners. I think those guys are crazy.

#24 hindle xiii

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:20 AM

Go on then, tell us a joke. :P

If you use "should of", "would of" or "could of", you are a moron.

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#25 Alfies Thumb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:26 AM

Go on then, tell us a joke. :P


I'm off the clock mate.

I can start the clock, if you'd like.

Edited by Alfies Thumb, 12 March 2013 - 07:26 AM.


#26 hindle xiii

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:39 AM

I'm off the clock mate.

I can start the clock, if you'd like.

It's a horrible cliché is that, but I had to say it!

If you use "should of", "would of" or "could of", you are a moron.

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#27 hindle xiii

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:41 AM

This joins something I didn't understand either, I've seen on three separate occasions where "sending a tweet" is a punchline, I don't understand why it was meant to be funny. The worse being the trailer for Ted.

If you use "should of", "would of" or "could of", you are a moron.

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#28 Johnoco

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:48 AM

Having read your contributions on the Cross code forum AT, I can confirm you are a comedian ok. ;)

But seriously folks.... Maybe the title is a bit misleading as I don't really mean that there will soon be no comedians, more that the way in which we know them and how they are watched/followed will change. 100 years ago almost everyone would go down to the local music hall to hear Arthur Atkinson say 'where's me washboard?'. What happened there? Clearly social changes and new technologies changed the way people watched. And the same sort of thing will happen here. Yes, I could put a clip together on YT today and get views from all over the world....but it wouldn't mean I was any good.

As for DVD sales, sure at the moment people like John 'just an ordinary lad from Liver-poool' Bishop are still enjoying healthy sales but I'm really talking about a few years in the future.

Comedian have to have a bit of a unique angle, say Bishops was being 'just an ordinary lad', how many more can use this angle? If you had seen 30 'ordinary lads from Liverpool' on YT would John Bishop have even got a second glance?

Edited by Johnoco, 12 March 2013 - 07:49 AM.


#29 Bob8

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:49 AM

To be a comedian in Denmark was straight forward. You would travel to England, write down and translate the jokes and then return to tell them in Denmark This was known and perfectly respected.

Then, TV started to cross national boundries and it appeared Danish comedians would be wiped out but they weren't, they adapted.

My only fear is that with less emphasis on writing and more on delivery, we will have more comedians like Russell Brand, hilarious to women and Americans, but utter miserey to all right thinking men.

Edited by Bob8, 12 March 2013 - 07:50 AM.

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#30 JohnM

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:29 AM

In the case of Franky Boil, I trust not.

#31 Johnoco

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:37 AM

Thinking about it now, I suppose certain comics like Ross Noble or that bloke from Mighty Boosh are less likely to be affected by this issue as they are a) a bit more surreal and b ) more of a niche market.

#32 Alfies Thumb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:58 AM

Comedian have to have a bit of a unique angle, say Bishops was being 'just an ordinary lad', how many more can use this angle? If you had seen 30 'ordinary lads from Liverpool' on YT would John Bishop have even got a second glance?


I read the Chortle website (UK comedian site) quite a lot and there is a lot of talk about the massive influx of 20-something males with scruffy hair and tight jeans all doing the same material. The cream generally rises to the top...but then again, so do the clumps of spoiled milk if you stir it enough. The top earning comics in the USA are generally those loathed by comedy afficiandos as being a bit hack/######. Dane Cook. Larry the Cable Guy. The unfunny dude with the puppets etc.

#33 Alfies Thumb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:59 AM

Thinking about it now, I suppose certain comics like Ross Noble or that bloke from Mighty Boosh are less likely to be affected by this issue as they are a) a bit more surreal and b ) more of a niche market.


Until the niche market becomes mainstream (it's already there) and all the comics start doing whimsy material.

#34 Johnoco

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:13 AM

Until the niche market becomes mainstream (it's already there) and all the comics start doing whimsy material.


Yeah but I doubt something like the aforementioned will ever be huge, huge. More like quite popular without ever breaking records. (nothing wrong with that either)

#35 Amber Avenger

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 10:05 AM

It’s an interesting debate – I think the argument that Twitter is a threat to comedians is being over-egged slightly. I’d say Twitter has certainly lessened the impact of topical comedy, be it in clubs or on stuff like Mock The Week, because a lot of the topical jokes spread a lot faster. However if you get out there and attend comedy nights then topical material isn’t the backbone of the night – usually the MC will try some stuff like that, but the bread and butter of acts that go on stage night in night out are doing sets personal to them and their life experiences. As Hindle says, it’s the one liner merchants who are most affected by this because it’s the sort of humour that can work both in the spoken and the written form regardless of teller. Having said that, acts like Gary Delaney and Rob Delaney (no relation to each other) are great one liner comedians who whilst may not be mega-famous, but have admitted they have got a lot more work because their one liners are so popular on Twitter. There is also massive difference between what people will tolerate or think is funny on a computer screen, which has been thought up in a boring moment in the office, compared to what people are willing to tolerate when they have paid for a night’s entertainment in a performance venue – you’d expect a lot more crafted and well thought out sets.

The debate about repeating material is a valid one in comedy though, and comedians actually cite TV as a bigger threat to their sets than social media. This is because if you perform a bit on “Live at The Apollo”, it reaches more people in one go than you could reach in a year doing the comedy clubs. So if you repeat that section of your act in a club a few months later, people feel cheated. Some acts used to tour the same set for years, but the second they go on TV it “kills” it as something you can’t reuse. It’s the reason why there are quite a few untapped gems working the comedy circuit don’t do TV (but they may well tweet) and it’s also the reason that people should support live comedy, and not just in theatres because it’s someone off the telly (although those people can be excellent too)
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#36 Johnoco

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 10:59 AM

Good points AA. I aren't saying I am even right here, because I could be wrong but I personally feel that it will change things.

The bit about going to see a comic live is a case in point IMO, I'll use Peter Kay as an example. When he first came out with his 'seen it, booked it, f**ked off' or 'what about Bullseye eh?' 'Garlic bread??' etc stuff it was well received because it struck a chord with a lot of people. It made them laugh and realise they did the same thing or whatever: basically they hadn't thought of it themselves.Well they had, but they had forgotten and this guy prompted memories and hence laughter. But now, lots and lots of people read stuff on social media that will mean they already know the feeling and a lot of the whimsy or nostalgia is already removed from the piece. Like those tweets (or other) that go 'that awkward moment when...'. Not generally something I find funny but it illustrates the point. ie if you read something on social media 'that awkward moment your dad says Garlic bread??' seeing a comic deliver the same line later on will remove a lot, if not all of the funny element.

#37 tim2

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:01 AM

My favourite live act is Dara O'Briain - a great mix of observational stuff, topical stuff and audience participation (not insulting them, involving them).

Comedy has had a massive boost in recent years - there was a good 3 part doc on BBC2 about it recently. In the 70s you toured the clubs, doing your time until you got your break on TV (or not). Largely telling non-PC jokes. I hope I'm not re-igniting the 10000 page thread on Manning (please lock it if that starts again).

Then came "alternative comedy" and the rise of the small comedy clubs that tended to appeal to a different audience - somehow this has spiralled until you get Michael McIntyre selling out arenas across the country. I think the bubble may burst - or there may be a backlash against it but perhaps not in the immediate future.

On the subject of McIntyre - there seems to be a lot of snobbery about his material. It's not edgy, granted, but if you get 10,000 people in a big room laughing and having a good time, I don't have a problem with it. He certainly did his time in the clubs before he made it big.

As for Frankie Boyle - he's a necessary evil in my opinion. Occasionally truly obnoxious, occasionally brilliant. But we need to understand where our own boundaries are, and he helps define them, as he clearly has none.
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#38 hindle xiii

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:17 AM

I can't stand McIntyre, I don't find him funny in the slightest, I dunno if it is snobbery, but I do like not liking him now so I avoid at all costs (the same as union...!). It was early on though, it was i) constantly laughing at himself at ii) a truly lame cracker joke that was as predictable as night following day.

And a joke itself can be told by anyone, I don't like Joan Rivers, but found her Rolling in the Deep.. Fried Chicken joke actually quite clever, it worked, it was horrible, but as word play, it worked.

If you use "should of", "would of" or "could of", you are a moron.

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#39 Johnoco

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:19 AM

I think the only people slagging McIntyre are probably other comics who wish they had as much success. Comedy doesn't have to be 'edgy' or challenging....it just needs to be funny, and there are many ways of doing that. When people like Billy Connolly came out, swearing and obscenity were new and two fingers up to convention. If everyone is swearing and being obscene, then it just becomes as boring as anything else. Dave Allen was pretty outrageous with his jokes about the Irish and Catholics etc, yet I don't think he ever swore once.

#40 hindle xiii

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:23 AM

This is becoming a comedy "snobbery" thread!

If you use "should of", "would of" or "could of", you are a moron.

On Odsal Top baht 'at.

 





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