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How To Promote Stage Comedy In a Geeky Way? 123

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tragedy-for-the-masses dept.
shaitand writes "I recently went to a renaissance festival where a man (Arthur Greenleaf Holmes) performed some of the most obscene NSFW and hilarious comedy I've seen in a long while. The show was free and he had CDs and DVDs in his bag and accepted donations. I certainly gave one. But why is this guy doing niche fairs and not HBO specials? I contacted him and he said that he would love to break out and because of his costume he has trouble and the nature of his act he has trouble getting on to traditional stages. How would you promote such an act? On further conversation he said he is an avid supporter of free flow of information and strongly encourages pirating his work far and wide. Since he is primarily interested in making money with live performance and not media sales I thought if he took this to the next level and released a DVD under a creative commons license the exposure and interest generated might help him break into new forums with his act?"
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How To Promote Stage Comedy In a Geeky Way?

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  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:05PM (#43586995)
    sudo make funny
    • "How would you promote such an act?"

      I'd start with some marketing. And add some promotion into the mix.

      [Stupid question deserves stupid answer. Really.]

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xeno man (1614779) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:27PM (#43587097)
        I'd post an article on Slashdot with a link to some of his material. Maybe post it in the form of a question asking how it relates to geeks in some way. That might spark some debate.
        • by rtb61 (674572)

          That is only a start. Generally to push things forwards you should pay attention to what is most currently in the public's mind and 'effectively' target that, gutter politics. So the Texas fertilizer explosion, well, quite easy to twist that into inappropriate humour, the Koch(head) boys similarly no problem twisting that around, tar sands pipeline bursts and fracking gas leaks all ripe targets. Shove those at the rabid fundamentalist un-conservative and watch them go wild in their public attacks and 'er'

          • Dude, where is your brain? You seem to have a hatred problem, suddenly spouting off like that apropos of nothing.
            • by rtb61 (674572)

              You generate publicity via controversy, have you not been paying any attention at all to Colbert or Stewart, it has to be recent and relative to the comedians style. Dude, where the fuck is your brain, he can also try the opposite side of politics, problem is it is not appropriate as, the opposite side likes to work news commentary not bloody comedy. If your don't believe name all the successful right wing comedians who actually do a right wing shtick and compare that to the endless list of left wing come

    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Funny)

      by swanzilla (1458281) on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:40PM (#43587379) Homepage
      lewd_renaissance_dude is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported
    • Because what the world really needs, is less civilization.

  • WTF?!?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:21PM (#43587061)

    First of all .. WTF is "Promote Stage Comedy in a Geeky way?" . To paraphrase a short green hairy dude "Promote or don't promote .. there is no geek in it".

    Secondly .. he doesn't have an HBO special because (by your own and his estimation) he is not mainstream. No matter how much promotion you do, your potential audience will always be small if you only fill a niche.
     
    Thirdly WTF is this doing here?!??!?

    • Re:WTF?!?!? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:29PM (#43587103)

      The modern geek way is to clean up the act, keep it really funny, and promote it on Youtube. It worked for Jeff Dunham. Who hasn't heard of the dead terroist routine?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uwOL4rB-go [youtube.com]

      Would I go see this guy, you bet.

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        The modern geek way is to clean up the act, keep it really funny, and promote it on Youtube.

        That isn't geeky .. thats just common sense as every man and his dog is posting on youtube now days . And I for one have not heard of the dead terrorist routine because I prefer David Strassman over Jeff Dunham.

      • Re:WTF?!?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SirSlud (67381) on Monday April 29, 2013 @10:47PM (#43587197) Homepage

        Jeff Dunham is depressingly unfunny, never mind that he bases his show on broad racial stereotypes. You'd go see that guy because you're a simpleton. And Jeff Dunham didn't achieve success because of YouTube. He's been in the business since the early 80s. He opened for Bob Hope in '83. Does that sound like somebody for whom YouTube self promotion worked? I expect no less stupidity from any fan of his routine. For the record, he's a very talented ventriloquist, but his comedy is about as lowest common denominator as it comes.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          he's a very talented ventriloquist

          That's about as much of a recommendation as saying he's quite a good crooner.

          I would never knowingly watch a ventriloquist, either live or on the internet. Ventriloquists are like clowns, but even less funny. And I fucking hate clowns.

          • by TWiTfan (2887093)

            If you think *he* looks like a clown, wait until you get a look at a guy dressed as a renaissance jester reading vulgar poetry.

        • by trazom28 (134909)

          I have to respectfully disagree. I've seen the DVDs and went to see a live show.. with a crowd of mixed races, etc. and everyone was on the floor laughing.

      • I've noticed the local comedy clubs have closed down. South Bend, IN Funny bone closed then Kalamazoo Michigan had a smaller club downtown that closed. Is this a national problem or just the bad economy in the area?

        I saw Dunham at a local club before he got big, twice. He was a regular on the tour of local clubs I believe. I guess it was part of the right of passage for that job? Saw a stage hypnotist - with a member of our group getting hypnotized to have an orgasm with a tap on the forehead. Absolutely h

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        ...and promote it on Youtube. It worked for Jeff Dunham.

        Jeff Dunham (Jeff fafa dunn HAMMM!) promoted himself by paying for his first Comedy Central special himself. That was after he did Carson and then his career slowed down.

        His shows sell out and he's done world tours. For the guy later down who says he's not funny, well, a sense of humor is a funny thing. Part of his humor is that he pokes so many holes on those unfunny racial stereotypes that it becomes funny. And pokes holes in himself.

        One of the funniest bits he ever did was when he was using Achmed an

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Who hasn't heard of the dead terroist routine?

        Me. I assume that everything on YouTube is amateurish shit.

        How un-Zeitgeisty of me.

      • The modern geek way is to clean up the act, keep it really funny, and promote it on Youtube. It worked for Jeff Dunham. Who hasn't heard of the dead terroist routine?

        Jeff Dunham started hitting it big well before the public web (with an appearance on the Tonight Show in 1990), and had his first Comedy Central special in 2003. Youtube was founded in 2005.
         
        You do the math.

    • by KhabaLox (1906148)

      Fourthly,

      released a DVD

      A DVD? Really?

    • by Seumas (6865)

      I like to think that geeks are a little bit ahead of the curve and have moved on from stand-up comics and improv (and sketch, for that matter -- which sort of peaked in the 90s) -- both of which I find extremely obnoxious and unfunny (with very few modern exceptions). I think most people tend to be growing into this same attitude, so there is not a broad enough space for that many successful "comics".

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I like to think that geeks are a little bit ahead of the curve and have moved on from stand-up comics and improv (and sketch, for that matter -- which sort of peaked in the 90s) -- both of which I find extremely obnoxious and unfunny (with very few modern exceptions). I think most people tend to be growing into this same attitude, so there is not a broad enough space for that many successful "comics".

        So geeks have moved on from boring old "funny" comedy to painful, puerile pseudo-Elizabethan smut? A-fucking-mazing.

        • by TWiTfan (2887093)

          He should play in the hipster clubs. They would eat that shit up. Well, they would for about five minutes, until they moved onto the next fad.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Thirdly WTF is this doing here?!??!?

      I assume Dice Holdings has a stake in RenaissanceFairs.com

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a terrible, terrible show, but would give him mainstream cred. Now, if he was on Community, he'd have geek cred, but no one would see it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, why not? Make a server and build a stage, do stage comedy on it while dodging missiles, headcrabs, and server-crashing props.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm tired of "Citizen" and the only anternatives seem to be characters ripped out of Smash Brothers or some memes, so no thanks.
  • Maybe the reason he cannot get on HBO etc is because he supports the free flow of information. Last I checked the major media people hate pirating work as they believe it cuts into their profits. Kinda like Bradley Manning filling in for Jay Carney @ the White House.

  • Because he's not funny? I watched the promo video on his homepage - didn't even smile. He seemed to spend more time talking about how inappropriate and risque his humor is than actually demonstrating it. For a promo video, it sucked, because it caused me to lose interest in ever watching the guy again. I hope his live act is better.

    • by quantaman (517394)

      Yeah, I'm 95% sure it's just the guy's buddy or agent trying to get some interest. If he's trying to attract fans a 'promo video' is a dumb way to do it, just find a video or yourself doing your funniest poem ever and post that, don't tell me you're funny and assume I'll believe you, just show it.

  • Except for when you're there in person. Then his information does not flow freely.
    • Except for when you're there in person. Then his information does not flow freely.

      Freetards have never had a problem paying for labour, at the time. They just don't believe that you should have to pay the plumber a royalty every time you flush.

      Paying for a concert is fine. Paying for a recording of a concert, that the person who made the recording is happy to share, is what they dislike.

      • by ScentCone (795499)

        Paying for a recording of a concert, that the person who made the recording is happy to share, is what they dislike.

        They also seem to believe that when an artist offers up the work they've just spent years creating via a business model that does include buying a copy of it, that if they don't feel like paying for that copy, it's OK to just rip it off to show that artist how wrong headed they are. If all of those "freetards" had the intellectual integrity to not consume the work produced by people whom they judge evil for supporting the copyright system, then I'd have some sympathy. But people rip stuff off because they

  • Sounds like an outsized ego in search of an audience. This guy should try a few comedy clubs in LA. If he gets invited back, maybe he has potential. If not, don't quit your day job.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @12:14AM (#43587485)

    I contacted him and he said that he would love to break out and because of his costume he has trouble and the nature of his act he has trouble getting on to traditional stages.

    Sounds like he knows exactly why he's having trouble getting mainstream gigs. If he wants to break out, he needs to apply his skills to more relatable material with a more mainstream presentation. That's how these things work.

    Do you think all those boy band guys wanted to do that pop dreck? (God, I hope not.) But that was the opportunity presented at the time so they bent over and took the money.

    In comedy, you pander to the crowd. Why else would Ron White drink so much? It's a tough gig and sticking to an act with narrow appeal is a death sentence.

  • Barber Shop Quartets, can't get any geekier than that.
    • by westlake (615356)

      Barber Shop Quartets, can't get any geekier than that.

      Case in point, Bioshock Infinite.

  • by skine (1524819) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @12:16AM (#43587497)

    He's not on HBO because the Renaissance fair crowd is a very small segment of society.

    Your average person doesn't find mildly rude poems to be that funny.

    And, yes, I did say mildly rude. Not "some of the most obscene NSFW and hilarious comedy I've seen in a long while." There is more obscene, NSFW, and hilarious period comedy in Blackadder - a prime time TV show that first aired 30 years ago this June - than in the clips that I've been able to find of him. We live in an era where "offensive" comedians turn to necrophilia jokes to shock audiences because pedophilia, incest, and rape jokes aren't seen as being all that shocking anymore. A sonnet about a knothole that looks like a vagina is the work of your average high school drama club member, not your average professional comedian.

    This guy is exactly where he belongs; doing niche fairs.

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      I think us non-Americans have to remember that "NSFW" in the US means a picture of a potential nip-slip from an "unlucky" actress in a bikini, not hardcore filth.
  • Are drama club scrubs trying to infiltrate this website and get a seat at the table?

  • This guy seems to be all about Renaissance Faires -- boring. If you want NSFW, then look for Kevin "Bloody" Wilson, an Australian performer whose act is pure raunch. DILLIGAF forever!
  • Hi! I'm Matt "Breakpoint" Heck. You may know me as "Theodore" from the web series "Aperture R&D" (in which case I assume that's the point in the credits at which YouTube had to pause to re-buffer). Presuming nothing falls victim to arson during post-production, In a little under a year, you might see me in a film and a few other odd detours. If you lived on the Central Coast around, oh, 2001-2003, you might know me for doing stand-up comedy. If you've been to Burning Man over the last few years, you might have seen a 15,000 cubic foot helium airship I helped stick 200 feet over the Nevada desert with a Tesla coil concert under it. It's even VAGUELY possible you know me from my (cough) "music" with The Braindead Monkeys, featuring such classic tracks, god help me, as, "Terrorism!". And, if you clicked on the wrong link somewhere, there's a very outside chance you might even have read some of my short science fiction, in which case I'm very sorry, I didn't mean it, and they all lived happily ever after right after a thorough memory wipe, which I would offer you if I could.

    However, in as much as I am ever actually cited or referred to anywhere, it's always from something I wrote (essays or code) in my professional capacity as (primarily) a software engineer. Far more people have used the touchscreen jukeboxes I did for Ecast, or the MPEG decoders I helped write for Xing (or, certainly, the DeCSS keys that were apparently lifted from them), or even the video games beta release I worked on, then are probably ever going to recognize my face or my voice, let alone my name. But even then, what DO people remember my name from? A few off-hand emails about Qt vs wxWindows (now wxWidgets) I wrote a long, long time ago, but which apparently had a larger effect than I had any right to expect. In other words, I am remembered for writing something that was really merely a step or so above a private message.

    So, now that you know where I'm coming from, let me give you my take on a few things-- because "Silicon Valley" and "Hollywood" are going to overlap more and more, not less, and the overlap is cultural as much as it is technical. I spend some of my social time with other engineers, actors, writers, stand-up comics science fiction anthology editors, and makers (I helped run TechShop for a year or so). They all have one thing in common: burnout is a problem.

    I would propose that practically everything you do in this world for love or money will fall somewhere on an equilateral triangle that we might label "Compensation", with these three vertices:
    * Pay
    * Fame
    * Satisfaction

    Somewhere on that triangle is a very specific spot where YOU would be happiest, and it probably isn't dead-center. Likewise, somewhere on that triangle is a spot where YOU are RIGHT NOW, and that is the sum of everything you are currently doing, and everything you have done.

    Now, I'm not talking about your whole life, here-- hopefully your marriage isn't done for fame or money-- but I am talking about your (supposedly) 9-5 job, plus the "consulting" work that may or may not really reimburse you for the time you put into it but is damn cool, plus the hobbies and projects you participate in because you really, really want to.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the time, the things we would like to do for pay, fame, and satisfaction do not do all three of those things. Often, they only do one of them. Worse, sometimes you go negative in a category. But the thing to realize-- and this can be maddeningly frustrating to try to explain to people who are more comfortable in (or more easily satisfied with, moo) their lives-- is that those things you do that you can't figure out why in the hell you bother? Those things that you still do even though it seems like they're just not worth it? We do a lot of those things to make the sum of EVERYTHING we do a little closer to where we'd like to be on that triangle.

    Or at least, we SHOULD.

    Now, I will readily assure you that

  • It wasn't very good...
  • Checked him out on youtube. Not bad, but inventively-obscene renaissance-themed doggerel is always going to be something of a niche market, methinks. Egad. Forsooth.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @02:59AM (#43587981)

    AKA "How do I market to geeks?"

    How can you possibly maintain the following train of thought?

    (1) "I think renaissance faire people are geeks"
    (2) "I think slashdot people are geeks"
    (3) "these groups form an equivalence set"
    (4) "ask slashdot how to market to geeks"
    (5) "slashdot tells me"
    (6) "market to geeks"
    (7) "reach the renaissance faire target market"
    (8) "Profit!"

    Seriously, I hope that the OP doesn't think that geeks form a monolithic market block, any more than Anonymous all hold the same political positions on everything.

    • Insularity. Being around people who think the same and shunning anyone who thinks otherwise. It leads to this sort of thing where the person cannot see outside the Self. It's called "solipsism" and is especially pronounced among the liberal media. There was a journalist who worked for the mainstream media who, 40 years ago, famously said "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Insularity. Being around people who think the same and shunning anyone who thinks otherwise. It leads to this sort of thing where the person cannot see outside the Self. It's called "solipsism" and is especially pronounced among the liberal media. There was a journalist who worked for the mainstream media who, 40 years ago, famously said "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them." The same attitude is alive and well today.

        To be fair, if you're not self-obsessed you're probably not going to make it in the entertainment business. An absurdly over-inflated ego combined with an incredibly tough skin are both prerequisites for success in that field.

  • Where to start... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:18AM (#43588049) Homepage

    why is this guy doing niche fairs and not HBO specials?

    Maybe because you're not the ultimate arbiter of what's funny and what isn't.

  • If he is so into giving his stuff away for free, why does his website consist of a couple minutes of youtube clips and a link to, you guessed it, iTunes (where they decidedly do not give away stuff for free)?
  • A comedian (like any other performer/entertainer) needs a combination of talent, timing (being in the right place at the right time) and luck to succeed. There are many good comedians, musicians, writers, actors and poets who have never made any money, and achieved no recognition whatsoever.

    I've not seen his stuff live, but judging by the website examples it's quite a niche (pseudo-Seventeenth Century erotic verse). Good luck to him, but he doesn't scream out "mainstream TV comedy".

    Oh, and I don't give

  • by slim (1652) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @06:03AM (#43588741) Homepage

    Firstly, congratulations on getting your guy's link onto Slashdot.

    I've got news for you: there are thousands of comedians playing night after night in front of crowds of 100 or less. Many of them are subjectively better than most TV comedians. Some of them will break through. Some of them will spend the rest of their life doing it for the love of it. Some of them will make a living wage on it but no more.

    There are well worn paths, and your guy seems to be on one. He's doing paid gigs.

  • He's pretty good at what he does, and it's great that he's carving out a niche, but I have a hard time seeing it work as stand up on TV because all of the biggest laughs that he gets are from interacting with the audience or with other people on stage and that does not fit most standard TV formats where it's one person up on a stage.

    Here's a clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R25DAYbgRVc [youtube.com]

  • The most effective way to promote someone in a 'geeky' way is to do what Ze Frank does. His followers are rabid and participatory. I get the sense your entertainer relies on audience feedback as part of his act, and would do better if he was going back and forth with people who are interested.

    So, create a blog, do videos. Speak directly on topics that showcase his brand of humor. Invite the audience to do contests, send in their favorite picture of an Earl or something. Have posts that are just about those.

  • How To Promote Stage Comedy In a Geeky Way?

    Is a stupid question. The questions should be:

    "What target demographic does this comedian most appeal to?"
    "Where does this target hang out, in real life and online?"
    "How do I communicate with them there?"
    "Does he need to change his material to reach a broader demographic?"

    Asking about a geeky way to do something is falling into the same trap that burst the dot.com bubble, or shatters the dreams of many indie film-makers and musicians. If you build it, t

  • So where's the torrent link to the DVD? Then we can see for ourselves.

  • Kickstarter ... 'nuff said. The Veronica Mars producers raised money to make a movie via kickstarter. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project [kickstarter.com] Seem to me to be the best solution ... no?
  • enebody knows how to... this ?

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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