If Only Comedians Could Play The Hits

comedy

Photo by Joe Moroney

Article Submitted by David Kopp

Stand up comedians have it rough now. In the 80’s and 90’s, they could travel the country with a solid hour of material they honed over the years. Everywhere they went it was new and fresh. At least to the audience.

Musicians can play their one hit song and everybody loves it, but no one wants to hear a comedian’s jokes from last week. YouTube has made this even tougher on the pro comics. With audience members posting clips of unfinished jokes online, it is becoming even harder to keep audiences in suspense.

The silver lining is that this forces comedians to write more material than ever before and, as a result, everyone is getting better. Today could be seen as the new golden age of comedy. Comedy really is everywhere. Every full time comedian has a podcast and a special and most touring comics have at least a one DVD of amazing material for sale and a few great clips online.

The other effect of there being so much comedy available is that the bar has also been raised. Almost everyone in the audience watches the newest comedy specials. This is obviously great for comedy, but it also means a new comedian is performing to a pretty savvy crowd. New comics are forced to learn the trade quite quickly or deal with perhaps the worst feeling imaginable… bombing. A crowd who talks through a set is annoying, but when they sit silently through it, there is really no one else to blame. No artist ever bombs as hard as a comedian and even if a comedian does find that special line that works every time, eventually everyone’s heard it and its no longer special. No comedian can tour like the Rolling Stones, getting by on forty year old material when the new stuff sucks.

Comedians really are in a unique position. Just imagine if at your job you were constantly compared to the best performers of all time’s very best performances. No one ever says to the best architects in town, “Yeah, that is pretty nice, but have you seen the Taj Mahal? You should make buildings like that.” However, it is common, after a set, to hear “You should do jokes like Seinfield. I saw him. All he really does is talk, but its so funny.”


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