I'm probably going to write a review on Soul Mates later on because it deserves it.
But for now I’m just going to talk about Youtube celebrity and its effect on the more traditional comedic industry. Also I’d just like to say I have next to no knowledge about comedy, so of course I’m well informed and researched.
The Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala is but a showcasing of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which airs annually. The show airs every year, displaying some the greatest or trendiest comedy acts from local and international sources.
I grew up watching that show every year up until recently. While I’m not an expert, I would definitely pin it down to the Gala for opening my eyes as to what kind of comedy is out there and giving me a great big grin on my face.
However after a couple of years of completely missing the show, I found my self watching the 2014 entry. It was still funny but I noticed that there weren’t as many big names and maybe a couple less bolters or really provocative acts. I think one of things I was most disappointed with, was the quality of local Australian acts. Most of them never seemed to reach any great heights beyond a reliable laughter from me and there weren’t too many new faces to give an unpredictable laugh.
Has my taste for comedy evolved or become more stubborn? I’m not sure.
Although I just finished watching a new Australian television program called Soul Mates; A couple of blokes that reincarnate through time as best mates. It’s a promising show and as I mentioned, I’d like to write a review of it later. What’s interesting though is that the shows creators and two main protaganists, Nick Boshier and Christiaan Van Vuuren, are already bonifide viral stars.
I’m going to flunk down some links so I dont have to spiel about where they’re from and all that. More to the point they’re just one case of Youtube comedians and celebrities who are taking advantage of their popularity and making it into a business.
A little research shows that people like Bosher and Van Vuuren went viral partly from luck but more importantly because they came from aspiring marketing, media and comedy backgrounds already (Which is a novel fact for me). So now we see a whole new and legitimate pathway opening up for people who genuinely want to pursue a career in entertainment.
By creating an online media presence, you can hone your craft repeatedly, document your work easily and get constant feedback through comments or even just the number of views you get. It becomes a platform that comedians and entertainers can launch their careers and go on to do other things in more lucrative media like television, film and advertising. It’s definitely something that younger generation of entertainers are aware of and are taking advantage of. Yet what does this say about the more traditional pathways?
For years having to go through the baptism of fire that is known as the stand up comedy circuit was the most common way for a funny man/woman to get recognized and eventually get a stable job in their industry. It’s been widely accepted as a brutally competitive, uncompromising circuit that often provides little exposure and no sign of money for even the most respected veterans.
So it almost came as no surprise that there weren’t as many new faces on air for the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala. At the festival there definitely might of been but it’s no longer the be all and end all. Why put yourself through the wringer when, really, if you have the right talent and ability to market yourself you can fast track your career in entertainment so much quicker?
At the same time I think there will always be a place for stand up comedy and it will still dominate as the most true and tried way of knowing you can make people laugh. Furthermore, for youtube comedians, a reliance on solely having a good online presence is folly, like any good marketing consultant will tell you.
In the end I guess I was kind of sad that the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala no longer game me a sense that it was on the frontier of comedy like it did maybe four years ago. It might have been just a blip but nevertheless, from an aspiring comedian’s stand point, the entertainment industry has become a whole lot more lucrative and accessible from what it used to be.
Here are some links that you can watch. This is as close as I’ll get to writing an academic paper WITH references on Tumlblr.
Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala 2014
The Fully Sick Rapper
Trent From Punchy