Something odd happened at last night’s show. I was sitting in the back of the club after my feature set watching the headliner do his thing. And very well, I might add. A couple came out of the audience and were leaving early.
The came up to me and said, “We loved you! You should have been the headliner. This guy isn’t funny.” I thanked them for the compliment and told them I enjoyed the headliner a lot, but everyone has their own tastes.
Then they said, “He’s doing all the same stuff he has posted in the videos we saw online. You did all different stuff.” A-ha.
What You’ll Learn
- Why you have to be careful with with jokes you post in videos
- Why it’s important to post your comedy videos
- My video posting strategy that doesn’t give it all away before the show
- Other useful things to post besides your written bits
This is one of the big differences between music and comedy. People will listen to a song over and over. But the same joke gets old after the 2nd or 3rd time. Unless you’re a comic who dissects every comedy album you listen to. I’ve listened to Eddie Izzard’s “Glorious” album a hundred times.
And now, some comedy club patrons (the smart ones, in my opinion) will look up the comedians before the show to see what they’re in for. I think this is great because it avoids overly squeamish people from seeing comics they’ll be offended by. Vice versa for the ones that only like it super dirty.
So the fine balance is to put standup clips that exhibit what you do, but also not blow the jokes you’re going to do in the show.
I have a couple of strategies for this that I’ve only marginally thought about until that comment last night. But I’ve been doing them for awhile.
My songs go up on the video sites as soon as they’re released. People will listen to those over and over again. They’ll even request them at a live show.
For comedy, I only post things that have been “previously published”. As in, it’s stuff from my DVDs or a clip from a show where I did something a little different with that bit. But most likely that bit doesn’t figure as heavily into my live shows anymore. The video sites become a bit of a retirement ground for the bits.
For me, once I’ve put something out on a DVD, it’s in semi-retirement, to be replaced with something new. That may take quite awhile, but it happens within a year or two.
So the standup clips of me online are older, yes. But still fairly representative of the type of material I do. My new stuff is always better, so they’re pleasantly surprised with different and better material at the live show. And based on comments like I got last night, I suppose that’s working ok.
Also, if you’re one of those comedians that refuses to put your material online for fear of it being stolen… Suck it up. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as you think. And if it does, write a new joke. You’re losing so much more in public attention than you’d lose if some open mic’er does your bit.
Another thing I do is only post part of a bit. The attention span on YouTube is 3 minutes max. So trim your bit down to the best parts and post that. Then let them know in the comments that they can hear/see the rest of it on your website or DVD. For instance, my bit about truck nuts is about 6 minutes when I do the whole thing live. YouTube has a 3 minute version featuring the strongest parts.
Of course, you don’t have to just post your bits either. Had an entertaining run in with a heckler? Post it. Did some killer crowd work? Post it. That kind of stuff makes your show look alive and people love it. You can also do video blogs, webcasts, sketches, etc. You don’t have to just post your bits.
Again, this is different for music. Get that up everywhere, right away. YouTube is the biggest search engine for music now.
By the way, if you need a good way to get your videos up on tons of video sites quickly, I recommend OneLoad.com. It’s a great free service that does the job.