I have a few videos on Youtube, promoting my work within the performing arts, acting, voiceover and standup comedy, and none of them have any real large number of views.
For example my 6 standup comedy videos have 1341 views in total.
But one video sticks out with over 12 000 views and 4 pages of, occasionally quite passionate, comments.
It’s the mindless clip “Cutting up my air mattress“.
I happened to have a leaking air mattress that I was about to trash, at the same time that my camera was mounted on a tripod in the living room, after filming an audition clip the previous day. I thought to myself, why not inflate the mattress, slice it open while lying on it, and film it? And then I put it on Youtube. No one will find, let alone watch it, anyway. Right?
I ask myself:
- How do you even find this video?
- What are you looking for when you come across a video of a moron cutting up an air mattress?
- Why do you watch it to the end?
- Why do you bother to comment?
- How does it elicit any emotion whatsoever?
I’m still trying to figure out how the Youtube audience works.
After roughly 20 years experience of stage, camera and microphone performance, I decided to conquer another frontier in performance – Standup Comedy. It had been on my mind for over a decade and was long overdue to be taken a shot at.
A year and a half after my comedy debut with about 50 gigs on record, I have no regrets.
What makes standup comedy so tough is the immediate and undisputed feedback. When you perform music or a theatric play, the audience will applaud you afterwards, whether they liked it or not. And in the comfort of hindsight you can have different opinions of what was good or bad and in what way. In standup there is no such thing. Whatever you do, the verdict is in within a few seconds, and the rules are as cruel as they are simple: If they laugh you rock, if they don’t you suck. Period.
And audiences can be extremely unpredictable. A routine (joke or set of jokes on the same theme) that worked like a charm last night, may yield complete silence, for no apparent reason.
Standup comedy is without a doubt the toughest thing I’ve ever subjected myself to on a stage. This also makes it a fantastic learning experience in many ways.
Any public speaking that is not standup comedy is suddenly a walk in the park. I encourage anyone who wants to better their public speaking skills to try standup comedy. You don’t need to pursue it, just a few tries takes you far.
There are classes in standup comedy open to anyone, and they often include a few gigs or referrals to gigs.
Try it, you wont be sorry.