Getting Hired As A Comedian: How “Funny” Is Determined In Online Stand-up Comedy Videos
One of the powerful marketing tools a comedian can have at their disposal is online videos of their stand-up comedy.
If your goal is to become a professional comedian, then you should be well aware of how “funny” is determined by individual viewers watching an online video of stand-up comedy and understand that…
Those viewers can and will include comedy talent buyers and agents — so pay close attention. I will cover that important aspect shortly.
But it is important to understand how the average, everyday person determines “funny” as it relates to your stand-up comedy video as well as how a comedy talent professional will determine “funny” from the same video.
One of the most obvious aspects of an online stand-up comedy video that is largely overlooked, even by professional comedians is this:
Laughter generated from an audience by a comedian in ANY stand-up comedy video DOES NOT significantly impact or influence laughter generated from the average individual viewer watching that video.
In other words, the audience dynamics that allow any comedian to generate frequent and strong laughter from an audience in the live performing environment are GONE when an individual watches a stand-up comedy video alone.
Think of it this way:
Let’s assume you were a famous headlining comedian and can make an audience laugh so hard that their sides hurt the next day.
But you walk out on stage for a gig and there is ONE audience member sitting before you.
Are you going to be able to generate 20-30 seconds of laughter each minute you are performing for that ONE audience member?
Not hardly, no matter how funny you may be in front of an audience of 500+ people. TV credits won’t help. Past movie roles won’t help. Worldwide fame and fortune won’t help when it comes to getting the big laughs.
Why? Because with just one person present, the audience dynamics are not in the room to generate headliner laughter as a stand-up comedian.
This situation is no different when an average viewer watches a stand-up comedy video alone — the audience dynamics (along with the contagious nature of laughter) are missing.
So how does the “average Joe” watching an online video of your stand-up comedy actually determine that you are “funny” or that you suck?
How “Funny” Is Actually Determined In Online Videos
Given that a comedian is completely stripped of the audience dynamics when an individual viewer watches a stand-up comedy video…
Here’s what is left to determine whether or not a comedian is “funny” or not:
– Physical appearance
– Demeanor and attitude
– Delivery style and expression qualities
And most importantly of all — the ability of the average viewer to understand, relate to and appreciate the stand-up comedy material delivered by the comedian.
It’s a known fact that comedians simply don’t appeal to every possible audience demographic in the live performing environment.
But armed with audience dynamics, audience members who wouldn’t necessarily care much for a headlining comedian or their stand-up comedy material in an online video will laugh wildly in a live performing environment because of the contagious nature of laughter — which is significantly influenced by audience dynamics (audience size and seating).
What does this mean?
It means that without the power of audience dynamics — which is exactly what happens when the average person watches a stand-up comedy video alone…
The comedian is essentially left with the smallest demographic possible — individuals who will make a determination if a comedian is “funny” or not, which is not based on the laughter generated from the live audience as evidenced in the online video…
But based primarily on the ability of the average viewer to understand, relate to and appreciate the stand-up comedy material delivered by the comedian.
This is also the reason why most stand-up comedy videos DON’T go viral in a big way.
Related Article: Why Stand-up Comedy Videos Don’t Go Viral
A professional comedian’s goal should always be to develop and deliver stand-up comedy material that has appeal to widest possible audience demographics.
So, am I saying you shouldn’t have online videos of your stand-up act?
Not at all. But what I am saying is this:
As a comedy professional, you need to be a bit smarter than the “average Joe” when it comes to stand-up comedy online videos you use for your website, social media sites — especially when it can involve review by agents, talent buyers and comedy bookers.
What Agents, Talent Buyers And Comedy Bookers Look For In Videos
Just like when any other individual is watching a stand-up comedy video alone, the audience response in the video won’t carry over when an agent, talent buyer or comedy booker reviews your video.
But comedy talent professionals understand this and look closely at the two most important aspects they need to consider a comedian for hire or to take the additional time to watch the comedian live prior to hiring them:
1. The frequency, duration and intensity of the laughter generated by the comedian in a live performing environment (which is NOT a consideration for the average online viewer who makes a purely subjective determination of what “funny” is or is not).
2. The suitability of the content the comedian delivers for the venue, event, club, etc. that they are being considered as a hire for.
In other words…
Comedy talent professionals know that a comedian’s power is on the live stage and is not accurately represented in a stand-up comedy video viewed on an individual basis.
If comedy agents, talent buyers and bookers only used the subjective criteria that the “average Joe” uses to determine who is “funny”…
Very few comedians would ever get hired as a result of video submissions — online or otherwise.
So it is ALWAYS in a comedian’s best interest to only upload stand-up comedy videos (with the exception of those being used for personal evaluation purposes only) that have these characteristics…
Putting Your Best Foot Forward In Your Online Stand-up Comedy Videos
1. Display comedy material that generates the longest, strongest and most frequent laughs in a live performing environment.
2. Display comedy material that will appeal to the broadest audience demographic possible.
3. Video clips should NEVER be edited to improve the punchline frequency of any particular bit — that is a red flag for comedy talent professionals.
4. Many comedy talent professionals want to see a clip of the very first part of your act immediately after being introduced because…
This will tell them how long it takes you to start generating laughter with a “fresh” audience and provides a quick indication of a comedian’s ability on stage.
5. Any particular online video clip you upload for comedy talent professionals to review should be 5 minutes or less in duration — if a comedy talent professional wants more, they will ask you.
One of the reasons that Comedy Evaluator Pro is such a powerful tool for comedians is because:
While it doesn’t measure subjective aspects of a stand-up comedy performance…
It will absolutely identify with precision the stand-up comedy material that generates the highest frequency and intensity of laughter from an audience in ANY particular stand-up comedy video — on a minute-by-minute basis.
In other words…
Comedians who use Comedy Evaluator Pro don’t have to “guess” which parts of their stand-up comedy have the most laughter impact in front of a LIVE audience — they know beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Still, confusion and controversy surround Comedy Evaluator Pro and here’s why…
Confusion And Controversy Surrounding Comedy Evaluator Pro
First, let’s cover some facts:
1. Live audience laughter does not influence laughter generation when it comes individual viewership of stand-up comedy videos.
2. A comedian’s true ability to generate laughter and entertain is in the LIVE performing environment and will NEVER be accurately represented in a stand-up comedy video being watched and consumed by a single individual, devoid of audience dynamics.
Even so, here’s a comment I frequently get about Comedy Evaluator Pro:
I just used your software to evaluate a popular comedian who I don’t like and I don’t think is funny at all. But your software says they are performing above the headliner levels you talk about. What’s up with that?
Here’s exactly what is happening is this when I get comments like that:
Average individuals are trying to compare a comedian’s comedy material on a strictly subjective level (that they don’t like, can’t relate to or appreciate) without any regard to…
The actual laughter RESULTS that comedian was able to command in front of a LIVE audience (individuals influenced by audience dynamics who liked the comedian and could relate to and appreciate the comedy material the comedian delivered in the video).
This is exactly like trying to compare the destructive qualities of a glass or water with those of a tidal wave because — they are both water, right? They are both wet, right? They are made from the same elements, right?
But only an absolute fool would even attempt that argument because one significant piece of the puzzle is missing — volume and associated mass differences.
The same can be said when trying to make a comparison between the audience laughter response in a live stand-up comedy performance and the laughter response to an online video of that same performance being watched by a single individual because — they are both the same thing, right?
And if a headlining comedian is not funny in an online video, then they can’t be funny when you go to see them live, right?
But once again, a significant piece of the puzzle is missing from that fool’s argument as well — it’s called live audience dynamics.
Every professional comedian has the exact same goal when it comes to delivering their stand-up comedy for audiences in the LIVE performing environment, which is:
Deliver headliner level comedy material which generates a minimum average of 18 seconds or laughter, cheering or applause for each performing minute (PAR Score 30).
Note: I didn’t establish that standard — it was already established by headlining comedians long before I was born or Comedy Evaluator Pro was invented. I just developed a measurement tool to identify if that standard is being met or not.
Important: The minimum average of 18 seconds of laughter per performing minute must be representative of the majority of the live audience in any video — not just one or two audience members.
[Here’s another very important thing to understand about online stand-up comedy videos:
If you use social media websites to display your stand-up comedy material (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace) and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you generated headliner laughter levels in stand-up comedy material delivered to the LIVE audience in the video clip:
Unfortunately, you can still (and will) get some negative and inappropriate comments about your stand-up comedy from non-comedy professionals.
But now you should know why and simply disregard those comments because…
If you are truly generating an average of 18+ seconds of laughter each minute in any online video clip of your stand-up, then you are delivering headliner level comedy material — no matter what any casual passerby may think using a purely subjective assessment on an individual viewership basis.
So, don’t take those sorts of comments personally. You should be smart enough to know that you will not appeal to everyone, especially when it comes to individual viewership by the “average Joe” of any stand-up comedy video that you display anywhere.
Now as far as using Comedy Evaluator Pro to determine which of your stand-up comedy videos are the most powerful…
Comedy Evaluator Pro will not tell any comedian:
– The audience demographics they will appeal to
– The suitability of their comedy material for any particular event, function or market
– Their suitability for acting roles
– Who will “like” and appreciate their stand-up comedy material subjectively in an online video when their act is viewed by a single individual.
But Comedy Evaluator Pro WILL tell any comedian — regardless of “style” or content — if they are meeting or exceeding the minimum standard for delivering headliner level comedy material in front of a LIVE audience, overall and on a minute-by-minute basis.
Unfortunately, most comedians haphazardly “guess” which of their online video clips will put them in the best possible light for review by professional comedy agents, talent buyer and bookers.
But hopefully you now have a better understanding about how “funny” is determined in online videos — by the “average Joe” and by professional comedy agents, talent buyers and bookers.