Is stand-up comedy dying? Of course not! There's a reason why Nextflix and Hulu have whole specials and advertisements dedicated to comedy routines. The reason is that people still love to see others perform, especially in person, because this gives them a chance to interact with the comedian at live shows.
Stand-up comedy isn't dead because people still attend live showings of their favorite comedians. Even on popular streaming services, stand-up specials will feature in the comedy genre and sometimes have their own section altogether. Small venues and comedy nights also still exist.
In this article, we will be showing you how stand-up comedy is still doing well and why some people may have been led to see it as a dying art. Stand-up comedy has certainly had to change with the times, but it's far from dead!
Why Stand-Up Comedy Is Alive & Well
Part of the appeal of stand-up comedy is being able to engage with someone's opinion on society through a comedic lens. This means that people will always be eager to hear the new perspectives of people they admire. This is because comedians show some of their ideals and personality through comedic fashion, making themselves and their way of life more approachable. When life becomes too stressful, and you need something to cheer yourself up, comedy is one of those answers.
This is especially important if you can find something that makes fun of something you find bothersome. Comedians specialize in presenting the daily scope of life through free speech with their comedic art form. By shedding light on different aspects of how someone can view a controversial subject, they can not only help educate the audience on different matters but make fun of it in a healthy way. We'll show you what we mean by that in the next section.
A Comedian's Stand-Up Experience: Outside the U.S.
A well-known comedian, Gabriel Iglesias, also known as "Fluffy", went to Saudi Arabia to perform. Although this might be an intimidating place to try comedy for some people, given the cultural differences, this comedian was able to give his own unique perspective on his experience in the country. Fluffy was able to give a fresh look into the culture and was able to find things to joke about that wouldn't be offensive to the people there.
This type of stand-up is admirable because it's not easy to appeal to new audiences, especially ones with a whole different lifestyle and culture! That's partly why stand-up is still alive and well. In-person performances in various locations give a different perspective for everyone.
In one of his specials, Jeff Dunham has a puppet show that specifically talks about terrorism. This is a very fine line to walk because lots of people have emotions and personal experiences tied up in this topic. However, he was able to walk that line and the show was very well received.
It is here that we come to the example "there are two types of people in the world"— those who are easily offended, and those who are not. Some forms of comedy are basically funny politics, so it's a way to engage with ideas that we may not agree with, but still look at them from a new angle. Good stand-up comedians are masters of this balance because they get us to think about the problems and complications in the world, while still making it fun to engage with!
As you can see in the video above, stand-up comedy is also thriving in the digital era of streaming and YouTube. You can find stand-up routines anywhere and everywhere because they are still being put on live streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), radio stations, and even online (Youtube).
Anyone can break into the world of stand-up comedy, but not everyone will be successful. Anyone who has tried it can tell you that it's harder than it looks! This is partially why some people believe the art of stand-up is dying.
Why People Think Stand Up Is Dying
There is a common sentiment nowadays that comedians are bad guys who are making fun of things that are best left alone. This is because some new movements in American culture believe that, morally, you shouldn't joke about controversial topics.
As people often think:
"You don't know what it's like to be like the person being made fun of."
"It's exposing the bad parts of our society that we're ashamed of and trying to fix."
These are all justifiable claims that are very real when it comes to how people approach comedy. Yet this is where comedy helps bridge between what is accurate and what is satire. Comedy helps give perspectives from people who are trying to relate to/enlighten their audience based on their experience and viewpoints.
In some cases, the joke can definitely go too far, and comedians should always be careful to laugh with their audience, not at them. There are some jokes and topics that are simply not appropriate to joke about, particularly if you are not part of the group you're poking fun at. For instance, it might be more acceptable for a woman to make jokes about women as opposed to a man. Likewise, making jokes about racial or ethnic groups that you are not part of is not always the best idea.
Much like any entertaining topic, stand-up comedy is made out to be good or bad, depending on what the audience finds to be funny and acceptable. Understanding your audience and providing the content they expect is something any stand-up should be able to do.
So no, stand-up comedy is not dying. It's certainly changing and adapting to the changes in society, but this opens up new opportunities for comedians who can take advantage of it. With the help of online streaming services and video platforms, your content can reach more people than ever!
As long as you can cultivate a unique voice and find a way to resonate with a modern audience, you could be a successful stand-up comedian as well!