Comedy and Multiplatform
Up in Edinburgh, the BBC's College of Production (COP) has been talking to comedians about online shennanigans. The COP's Catherine Scott writes...
Yesterday saw four of comedy's bright new stars share their thoughts on how to be 'funny and multiplatform', during BBC College of Production's live podcast from the BBC Edinburgh Festival base in Potterow. The panel consisted of Daniel Berg, the comedy writer and developer who specialises in viral video, Bec Hill, named one of the "Top 10 Funniest Comedians on Twitter", Arron Ferguson of alternative comedy duo Not The Adventures of Moleman and Iván González, one half of Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award 2011-winning duo Max and Ivan.
Prolific Tweeter Bec Hill told us how she started using online platforms simply to share her comedy sketches and cartoons with her friends, and was pleasantly surprised when it snowballed into a 3000+ Twitter following. Bec also noted that her online audience has grown much faster than her live audience – "I've reached 100,000 views on YouTube, I certainly haven’t got that in Edinburgh yet!".
Daniel Berg's passion for viral videos was evident when a strong gust of Scottish wind blasted through the pink tent and he remarked "Film that, that'll go viral!". Daniel spoke of how social media and online platforms give new acts the chance for exposure without the need to be commissioned. When wrangling with the shorter attention span of the internet audience, Daniel’s advice to comedians was "Keep your content topical, and keep it short."
Ivan Gonzalez sang the praises of online platforms such as YouTube for giving comedians creative control, and also gave a shout-out to BBC's iPlayer and Feed My Funny for allowing viewers to access comedy outside the restrictions of viewing schedules. Like Bec Hill, Ivan also enjoys the immediacy of 140 character jokes on Twitter – and if the #EdFest feed this week is anything to go by, so do a lot of us (“Just been to a lecture on how to build a ship. Riveting!")
Arron Ferguson's two-man sketch troupe Not The Adventures of Moleman actually began as a solely online act, only venturing out onto the live circuit once they had built a large online following. Noting that "some people think you need to be live to be comedians", Arron pointed out that a lot of NTAOM's sketches actually work better online, because film can provide subtle shots that might be missed in onstage comedy. Arron also gave us possibly the most useful piece of advice on treating online platforms with respect – "Don’t use Twitter to invite all your fans to KFC!"
Although the public passion for live comedy gigs remains strong, any new comedian entering the industry should remember that there is a plethora of other options available to them for making their name and getting their work out there. It might take a while to build up 100,000 hits on YouTube or 1000 followers on Twitter, but as our guests concluded “As long as you’re having fun, that's what matters."
Listen to the full podcast.
Follow College of Production @BBCCop