Let’s assume for a moment that you’re a comedian, you hit the stage one night and manage to video a set where you literally slay the audience at a level you have never experienced before.
I’m talking about being ON FIRE and virtually everything that comes out of your mouth results in a big laugh.
No one can deny you killed on stage — in a way that only a literal handful of comedians on the planet can accomplish because…
You have visible, undeniable proof of your performance — as evidenced by the video you recorded.
Would you want to upload that stand-up comedy video to YouTube or other online service?
I sure would. There’s no better proof of comedy skill or talent than a video of you killing an audience at maximum levels. Am I wrong?
Would you want to embed that video in your website or EPK (electronic press kit) for viewing agents, bookers and talent buyers?
Again, I sure would.
But what would you say if I also told you that a number of the people who will ever look at the video you worked long and hard to get — the one that proves that you have exceptional stand-up comedy talent — simply won’t think you are funny at all?
As a matter of fact, what would you say if I told you that…
A number of comedians will also look at your video will deem your stand-up comedy set OK at best and may actually identify you as a hack, not worthy of any consideration at all (that’s all the poser comedians know to do — either call you a hack or douche if you have a stand-up comedy act that gets more laughs than theirs does).
Then, some may even try to “lift” your comedy material if they think they can fit it into their act. Amazing, huh?
So in this article I’m going discuss some of the things that every comedian should know about video recordings — how they are consumed by viewers, how to objectively verify your performance verify your performance level in any video and how to protect yourself from theft of your comedy material from your videos.
So let’s start with this…
Video Is NOT A Comedian’s Friend
There is a very important aspect that directly contributes to the reason why video is not a comedian’s friend, which is this:
Laughter generated by an audience in any video recording of a comedian does not carry over or influence an individual viewer of that video to laugh like the audience in the video.
Laughter generated by an audience in the live performing environment is the result of group dynamics where the laughter experienced by audience members influences other members of the audience resulting in a synergistic effect.
This does not usually affect or influence an individual viewer of a stand-up comedy video recordings to laugh.
The exception to this is when a funny stand-up comedy video is watched by a group of people in close proximity to one another. In this case, a group dynamic is in play, similar to what happens in the live performing environment.
What does directly have an impact on an individual’s laughter reaction when watching a stand-up comedy video alone is the extent to which the individual viewer can relate to the comedy material being delivered.
In other words, the more an individual viewer relates to or “connects” with the stand-up comedy material, the better the likelihood that the video will cause them to laugh.
The same is true in reverse — the less an individual viewer relates to the stand-up comedy material being delivered by a comedian in a video, the less likely they are to laugh or even consider the comedian funny — no matter how long, loud and frequent the laughter is by the audience in the video.
Where this can be a source of confusion and self doubt (especially among new comedians) is when they share their triumph on stage and end up getting responses back that range from “Hilarious!” to “Yeah, that was OK”.
So now you know why this can happen no matter how well you did during the live performance.
That why I would highly recommend that comedians always do an objective performance review on their videos so there is no dependency on subjective feedback and the comedian can know definitively just how well they did on stage.
Conducting An Objective Performance Review
If you have a smartphone, then you probably already have the apps you need on it to conduct an objective performance review on your recorded stand-up comedy set/act to know exactly what performance level you are at.
Not only that, but you can also use an objective performance review to determine which video clips you want to make available for public consumption without worrying about subjective feedback (I will also discuss managing your videos to help protect your comedy material from being stolen in the next section).
The step-by-step information to do that is covered in this detailed report:
Protecting Your Comedy Material From Theft
Before I get into this topic, there are some things about using YouTube that you need to know that are relevant to the information that follows.
When you upload a video to YouTube, you have three viewing options that you can choose from (and change at any time):
- Private: Only you and those you give specific access to can view the video.
- Unlisted: The video can be viewed by anyone you share the link to the video with, but is not listed for a public search or consumption.
- Public: Self-explanatory.
To conduct an objective performance review, you will want to use the private or unlisted settings for a video first.
Once you have determined that a video “makes the cut” for public consumption based on performance level, only make a minute or so of any particular segment of your act available for public review.
Ideally, you would only have 3-6 of your absolute best videos available for public review (chosen by objective determination). This will help from having entire bits or chunks stolen by other comedians who are not even in your area.
Now, let’s talk about talent buyers and why conducting an objective performance determination with your stand-up comedy videos works in your favor.
What Talent Buyers Are Looking For In Videos
It doesn’t matter whether it is an agent, talent scout, comedian booker or any other talent buyer…
When it comes to reviewing comedian videos for a potential hire, they don’t look at these videos in the same way as the general public.
What they are specifically looking for is the content of the comedian’s act and the frequency and impact of the laughter being generated in video, whether they can personally relate to the the material the comedian is delivering or not.
But not only that…
Beyond the 1-2 minute “cherry picked” clips you choose for public consumption, talent professionals usually also want to review a continuous performance clip for the very beginning of your show to 20-45+ minutes. The reason is simple:
Many talent buyers have been burned in the past by hiring a comedian based on “cherry picked” video clips only to discover that once the comedian was hired, they actually could not carry an entire show for the time they were hired for.
So if you have a longer clip of your act that you want ready for a talent buyer, simply upload it to YouTube as unlisted so that it remains out of public view but is easily accessed without hassle if you need to share it.
If you have gotten this far then you can be confident that you now know more about stand-up comedy videos and how they work than 95% of the comedians you will ever meet in your journey as a comedian.
You should also be aware that by simply using your smartphone (and the information provided in the report mentioned above) that you can easily make an objective determination on which videos clips you produce are the absolute funniest you have available, without the potential confusion and doubt than can accompany subjective determinations (which can include your own).
Knowing is ALWAYS better than guessing when it comes to true performance levels that you are going to make available for others to view.