Brian Malow at Comedy Day in San Francisco 2001

While cable destroyed the 80s comedy boom, the Internet is bringing it back

on June 4, 2010

Pew Internet Research, seemingly the only organization conducting Internet research, just did a report on the state of online video, specifically what people are watching.

The most interesting aspect of the research was the shocking rise in comedy video viewership, from 31 percent of adult Internet users to 50 percent over the past three years. More people watch comedy videos than they watch movies, TV, news, or educational videos online. What does this mean?

  • Lots more funny videos are being produced and therefore more people want to watch them.
  • Since 2007 more people are in general depressed and therefore need to watch comedy videos online.
  • More people are screwing off at work and watching comedy videos.

Ultimately, I think the issue is more people have time for a good laugh but they don’t have time to actually learn anything.

Comedy Day 2001 in San Francisco

Cable destroyed stand up comedy in the 90s

Back in 2001, while working at ZDTV, I produced a video at San Francisco Comedy Day, a five hour long free outdoor comedy show every year in San Francisco. Lots of great comedians come and at the time “Internet Tonight” show host Scott Herriott interviewed many well known comedians as to whether the Internet would be a boom for the comedy business or actually a bust. At the time we all thought the Internet was going to abuse stand up comedians just like cable did (as you’ll see in the video). But as we can all see today, the comedians were happily wrong.

Comedy Day 2001 in San Francisco

Watch the video below and see comedians such as Jake Johannsen, Don Novello (a.k.a. Father Guido Sarducci), Kevin Meaney, Greg Behrendt, Larry “Bubbles” Brown, Carlos Alazraqui, Don McMillan, and Dave Attell.

Top photo is of Brian Malow, the Science Comedian (before he became known as the Science Comedian), performing at San Francisco Comedy Day in 2001.

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