TikTok is Changing Comedy
Stand-ups are shooting to fame on the short-video app.
It’s not what most people think of when they think of Netflix, but the streaming service had a profound effect on stand-up comedy. The likes of Ali Wong shot to stardom on the back of Netflix comedy specials, which proved a great way to introduce comedians to a new audience. They cost the streamer less than a big series or movie too, so were a cost-efficient way to build a catalogue and offer something rivals were not.
Even established names like Chelsea Handler benefit from being on Netflix. Her show from last year, “Revolution”, caused a stir. Of course, because it’s Netflix, we don’t actually know how many people watched it.
TikTok now seems to be fulfilling a similar discovery role. Comedians are posting clips from their shows, often crowd work, and bringing in new audiences. The obvious example to highlight here is Matt Rife. The disgustingly young and good-looking stand-up has become hugely successful after his clips blew up on TikTok. That is how I and millions of others discovered him. He is now such a big name that he is doing US tours and shows in Australia next year. Oh, and he’s also got a special coming out on Netflix next week (15th November).
It’s all pretty easy for the comedians to do - set up a phone somewhere, do the show you were going to do and watch the views come in (hopefully!). I’d assume that at this stage social media viewing figures of all kinds are influencing, to at least a certain extent, who gets booked. Furthermore, while some creators who do comedy skits have felt unable to create during the actors’ strike due to SAG-AFTRA membership, desired membership or peer pressure, stand-up comedy has not ground to a halt. Such comedians have been able to keep performing and posting. (There may be some complicating factors for those who also act/write, but generally, the show has gone on.)
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