Is Livestreamed stand-up here to stay?

The cultural legacy of the epidemic can be shown not only in cancellation, derailment of careers, and closed theaters and clubs. There has also been innovation like the emergence of virtual comedy clubs.

What started out of frustration Has matured into a new digital style that has attracted large audiences in the habit of purchasing tickets to livestreaming the stand-up from the comfort of their homes. As the club now begins to reopen, and comics and patrons return to their old haunts, the next few months will be a critical examination of the business. Was it an epidemic-era craze or will it be a permanent part of the landscape?

On a video call from her San Francisco home, CEO Jill Paz-Bourque Rushticks, Perhaps the largest digital comedy club, made the case that the lockdown accelerated an already inevitable revolution. “Why did Netflix eclipse television?” He made a statement. “This streaming is unlimited, global. Why did Spotify eclipse terrestrial radio? It is streaming. It is global. It is unlimited. And that’s why Livestreaming with Rushtics eventually eclipses Live Nation because it’s streaming, it’s global, it’s unlimited. “

Many are skeptical, with fans badly missed by those who are surrounded by laughter and stand-ups who are tired of performing for the screen and who like to tell jokes in the same room as the crowd. Assuming that nothing replaces the traditional comedy format, Paiz-Bourque said that skepticism would appear to be early imitations of Twitter, podcasting and so many common Internet forms. He has good reasons for such a swagger. Paiz-Bourque’s business, which she calls “a Silicon Valley start-up”, regularly sells more than 1,000 tickets to watch comics such as Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt and Maria Bamford. In February, it sold 15,000 tickets to eight shows, bringing revenue close to $ 280,000.

“Once we got our first taste of the 5,000 ticket show, he was intoxicated,” said Pease-Bourke, “the most popular YouTuber for songs, Miranda (Colleen Ballinger), who was a successful artist.”

As a touring résumé, Paiz-Bourque is changing its vision, moving away from those headlining and a tight focus on the increasing amount of radiation. By summer, he aims to produce five shows a day, every day. In other words, to live up to the slogan that appeared on her site before a recent show: “The Biggest Comedy Club on the Planet.” She said she was not worried about the clubs reopening because “I have more supplies than I have access to.”

Over the next month and half, she will be covering nine original, interactive series, including competitions (“Too Punny with Kate Lamber”), a cooking show (“Better Cook with Tom Papa”) and a dating (” Find Your Boo “with Reggie Bo)). She is also adding closed captioning, a membership package and new technology that allows patrons to walk around the “club” and hear different levels of laughter.

The overall vision is to create new work with emerging artists during the week, doubling on the headliners on Friday and Saturday nights. How will she compete when the stars are eager to tour and return to the living stages? Simple, she says: comics are “worth their time.” After offering the first 80 percent of ticket sales, it has recently started guaranteeing five figures. She says six figures will become common among the elite. “I’ve gotten pushback from Day 1 to this day,” he said of listing the comics. “So you start thousands and tens of thousands of dollars worth of strings and they were like this: I got it.”

Rushks is hardly the only player in this market. Nowhere Comedy Club, A small, scouring operation started by comedians Ben Gleib and Steve Hofsitter, has booked a banging lineup of comics, featuring Mike Birbiglia, Gilbert Gottfried and Nicole Heiser. In some of the coup, Bill Burr recently performed in a benefit production from a studio that Gleib made in his home, a booking that Piaz-Bourque said she was “devastated” she did not get a chance. (She just announced that Barr would appear on the live version of the animated TV show “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” on May 16.)

Gleib, who started anywhere after finishing his presidential campaign in 2019, showed him his show online almost every week. And while he’s optimistic about the future of livestreaming, he showed more eagerness than Paiz-Bork about losing from comics to touring. “I think we can co-exist peacefully,” he said. But as he approaches next week’s anniversary, his strategy is not to rebound or retest as Novhere fits more seamlessly into the current ecosystem.

He recently introduced geotargeting, a technology that prevents consumers from certain regions from purchasing tickets, a device he potentially called “game-changing”. This enables the comic to set out on an excursion to block the locations he is visiting so as not to sell there.

New York Comedy Club co-owner Emilio Savon, who starts indoor shows from Friday when the city starts allowing indoor shows at a capacity of 33 percent with a limit of 100 people, is the future of such digital theaters. “Do I think it can remain intact as a seven-night-week type? Probably not?” He wrote in an email. “But I think it’s a good tool for comedians to work on the content, and it provides another way for a comic to engage its audience and reach them.”

Felicia Madison, which runs the West Side Comedy Club in Manhattan – which will begin outdoor shows on April 14, but until the city allows 50 percent capacity – will include a hybrid of traditional and digital clubs in the future. “If they’re smart, they’ll work with the club” to livestream from there, she said.

Rushticks is already doing so, with stand-up comedian Godfrey performing on April 7 from Gotham Comedy Club. Gleib argued that Novar’s strength was in the relationships developed with the new comedy audience. “We’ve reached vast demographics, which have never been serviced by comedy clubs”, Gleib said, pointing to patrons who live in remote areas or have disabilities or social concerns. “So lazy,” he said. “We are great for lazy people who don’t want to go out.”

Nowhere is the face of fans placed on screen and allows everyone to talk, laugh or even heckle (although they may be silent for it). It creates a freewheeling show that emphasizes the audience and the artist’s community. Conversely, Rushtics puts the audience in a chat room and limits laughter to 20 people. Gleib called it “aristocracy”, the rhetoric approach did not look like a live stand-up.

Paiz-Bourque does not argue, because no online show can duplicate live, its goal is to produce the best experience possible. “We tried to emulate the live experience and the more we gave up on it, the more we started opening the barrels of creativity,” she said.

If anything, she wants to move away from reliance on traditional stand-ups, when booking big names. That’s why one of the first comics he recruited was Bamford, a naturalistic experimentist who is putting on an unusual show on April 17: after performing a set, he would keep himself asleep for the next eight hours. You can see him for breakfast the next day and join him.

Bamford already has a dedicated audience that will follow him wherever he goes. The real test for these clubs will be whether they can develop enough loyalty to get the audience to try out the less established talents. These platforms benefit those who already have large and engaged online fan bases. When clubs and theaters return, they are going to do booking acts that they know can sell tickets, which may make them more wary of adventure or emerging comics.

Right now there is a real danger that we are entering a very cautious moment in comedy as the institutions struggle to rebuild, and Pies-Bourke, a former comic gifted in the art of selling one, argues that she now has There is another filling moment for Niche.

Pointing to the logjam of early and midcatcher stand-ups, whose career has been slowed by the epidemic, he said, “Not only is this going to be a business that works. Creatively for all these comedians It is needed. “

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