In a global pandemic it is fair to say that one of the hardest hit industries is the arts. For over 5 months now artists and performers have been left to fend for themselves and survive in a dying a industry. But just like with evolution we are having to adapt or die. Comedians are moving the funny online and audiences are lapping it up (right from the comfort of their very own home).
With bodies that are made up entirely of funny bones, comedians aren’t necessarily built to survive this type of not-so-funny work crises. The average comedian walks into a bar, tells jokes, get paid and leaves. But now comedians are having to be more creative than ever in finding ways of bringing the funny to the masses-covid style.
This means within the last five months you’ve probably seen huge boom in comedic content online, with comedians reigniting dormant YouTube accounts, participating in challengers on TikTok and amassing huge followings on zoom shows. The reason being is although we may not necessarily have an entrepreneurial spirit, and we can’t tell the difference between a cost-push inflation and company derivates, we do understand resilience. It is our resilience that has allowed us to adapt and ensure that we don’t suffer the same fate as the dodo.
So why is it that comedians are so resilient, you may ask? Well, firstly we have spent the first 5 years (at least) of our career “dying”. That’s right, night after night we have been getting up in front of crowds, testing new material and…crickets. Not even a drunken gurgle from Tequilla Dude, swinging on his bar stool in the corner. This is the ultimate failure as a comedian. Laughter is our currency. And when the audience aren’t laughing, we are dying.
The reason they call the act of dying “dying” is because it truly is the worst feeling in the world. Often you stand on stage wishing you could have a quick heart attack, or stroke, or an audience member disembowel your small intestine with a blunt spoon because even those things feel more fun. Dying is the worst. It’s a massive failure. But failing massively night and after night and getting up for more makes us extremely resilient.
Furthermore it is the resilience that teaches us how to adapt. We’re like “Oh shame a little global pandemic”, cry me a river. “Have you ever experienced an onstage death?” Now that call for a state of emergency. We have spent countless hours rewriting material, adapting jokes for online and delivering hilarious lines whilst staring into a tiny camera that sits on top of our laptops. We have adapted our comedy for online audiences and are proving to ourselves not only does this format work but audiences are in need of some laughter now more than ever.
One could definitely see the shift toward a greater emphasis of online comedy as a major win for industry. Our reach has greatly been extended. Just the other night I got to perform at Comedy Cellar in NYC. Well, it was an online comedy cellar zoom showcase but you get my point. Performing online means we have access to audiences from all over the world. If you, as a comedian have not performed yet online, try it. It works. Or don’t try it. And let our entire industry die and it’ll be all thanks to you. No pressure at all.
If you, like the rest of the world, are in desperate need of some laughter, catch ,Jittery Citizens adapting to the new age of online comedy.
Jittery Citizens: Jittery Jam on the 29th August at 8pm. Live from their Facebook / YouTube page @jitterycitizens.