YouTube paves way for new comic talent

Student using YouTube on his smartphone. Student using YouTube on his smartphone.
Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs

One hit, two hits, two hundred hits in under one week just for vlogging an outrageously humourous impersonation of Katy Perry’s sharks at the Super Bowl.

In the past few years there has been an explosion of subscriptions to original content-media-sharing.

For many, YouTube has provided a platform for people to create, connect, collaborate, and circulate. Gaining exposure and having a video’s written comments picked up and broadcasted by traditional forms of media is not always an easy task.

Dean Herscher, a second year Humber Comedy student and longtime YouTube fan, recognizes the online potential for performers.

“Sometimes we do not know how lucky we are that we can just make a video, then in 10 seconds put it up on a website for the whole world to see,” he said.

Chelsea Randall, a second year Humber Comedy student considers YouTube a space that allows you “to create your own content, be seen by the right people, and develop a fan base that will follow you as your career expands into other mediums. It makes promoting yourself outside of your region exponentially easier.”

Many comedians share their material in hopes of convincing people to come support a live show.

There are some drawbacks to sharing work however.

“The obvious downside is that now everyone knows your material. There are very few jokes that are funnier upon second hearing. However, I suppose it forces you to keep your material fresh,” said Randall.

Jake Labow is a graduate of Humber Comedy and currently manages his own consulting business making suggestions about digital content.

Labow advises comedians to think bigger than just a YouTube page.

“When you are attached to a bigger entity like Funny or Die you can be put to their front page which guarantees you more views,” he said.

Randall said “YouTube’s open format allows comics to personalize their account and post sketches that otherwise would not have been viewed in a live act.”

Comedians who post low budget sketch videos make use of color, randomness, loudness, simplicity, repetitiveness and playful content. Each of these attributes marks the video as incomplete or flawed, thereby invoking further creative dialogue.

“Most successful videos are fairly quick (because) people’s attention spans don’t go past that two minute mark,” said Labow.

Labow suggests comedians take down old content as they improve.

“You have to write and post a lot to stay relevant and keep subscribers happy. If you are a live performer you can look at a joke for six months and develop it, but with online you only get one chance,” he said.


Whether it’s the so-bad-it’s-good cover song or the dubstep foodie review, Lawbow said the more unique you are the more luck you will have using YouTube as a media outlet.