The Internet is No Place For Comedy

    November 7, 2008
    Chris Crum

The Internet has been accused of ruining a lot of things. Newspapers, the music industry, the film industry, the television industry, etc. So why not the stand-up comedy industry too?

It depends on who you’re talking to whether or not the Internet ruined these things or made them way better. I think most users tend to lean toward the latter. It is usually the providers of these things that have a beef with the ‘net. So naturally, this time it’s the providers of stand-up comedy who are complaining. At least the old ones.

Michael Ventre at MSNBC takes a look at what stand-up comedians are saying about the Internet age, citing an issue of Rolling Stone:

“I think the Internet is slowly going to take down all creativity,” says Albert Brooks. “You can take any artist in the history of the world … and if you can have widespread opinion on their first time out, you can kill the great spark that makes them who they are … Large amounts of opinion early in an artist’s life is like a cancer.”

“I think it’s actually bad for performers who are starting out,” says Craig Ferguson. “They’re not getting a chance to fail in private.”

TechDirt filed this story in the "when-I-was-your-age-I-performed-to-3-people-in-a-shack-and-I-liked-it department", and I kind of agree. I can see some of their points, but change is a fact of life, and those who do not accept it are more likely to get left behind.

In all fairness, there’s a good chance that there are plenty of comedians out there young and old who view the Internet as a great place for opportunity. I would think that if anything, it would make young comedians want to strive to be the best they can be. The above comments of these comedians should serve as motivation for this very concept.

Like other forms of entertainment, the providers will likely have no choice but to embrace the Internet, and the booming popularity of online video will only ram that point home. It’s not like the Internet is going to replace comedy clubs. As far as I know, people still enjoy going out. MySpace’s Karaoke offering isn’t replacing Karaoke bars. Although, the economy might make the Internet seem a little more appealing as a source of comedy than 2-drink-minimum clubs with cover charges. But that’s just another reason for comedians to embrace the Internet.