Today’s comics need to go viral
Years ago, Canadian stand-ups needed a Comedy Now special to catapult their careers to that next level. These days you need a viral video. Russell Peters’s already booming career went insane thanks to online excerpts from his stand-up act. (So did Dane Cook’s, so there’s no accounting for taste.) Add social networking sites, and, sans pricey market research, you know exactly who and where your fans are.
What’s great is that comics whose work doesn’t quite fit into the typical stand-???up model are making things click.
Renée Percy is a terrific sketch performer and writer for the soon-to-be-defunct Air Farce, but she never thought that one day she’d be known as the “poo lady.” That’s thanks to the viral video she made where she plays a woman who inadvertently wraps up her business (long story – just click on the vid) and leaves it for a guy she’s just slept with.
She estimates the video has had 5.5 million hits.
“People recognize me – and not just perverts,” she says about the video’s success. She even thinks the notoriety may have worked in her favour when she was pitching her new animated series, Nunchucks, about a pair of undercover Ninja nuns.
“Plus, I’m currently in an Imodium commercial. Really. I don’t know if that’s related.”
Jared Sales's Everydave Life impressed Will Ferrell
For several years, Jared Sales was producing smart videos and tech-related bits in small clubs. Now his work’s being seen by more people than he’s ever performed to combined, thanks to his prizewinning www.funnyordie.com video Everydave Life, about two roommates (Sales’s fellow Sketchersons members Gary Rideout Jr. and Pat Thornton) who drunkenly agree to star in a reality show, then regret it afterwards.
Sales has been tapped to direct 13 episodes of that fake reality show for the Will Ferrell site.
He also co-hosts, with Tal Zimerman, one of the most unusual video-related comedy shows in the city. The Rivoli’s monthly NSFW (Not Safe For Work) night screens a couple of dozen viral videos and features a panel of guests riffing about them.
“We wanted the show to be like you’re sitting in someone’s basement watching these videos,” he says. “What some might think is hilarious others might find revolting. It gets a strong reaction either way.”
This month’s show, on Tuesday (May 27), guest stars Seán Cullen and movie critic Richard Crouse, so expect a showdown. Sales also encourages audience members to bring their laptops and cellphones to the Rivoli, which is WiFi-?ready.
Imagine a show that actually encourages you to turn on your phone.
“We want you to text-message or e-mail responses,” he says. “It’s part of the show.”
The Everydave Life video:
Sure Lock: A True Poo Story video: