Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

Sub Headings: even more tips!
Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Jonthan Winters | Joan Rivers | Hecklers
Funny Money: $25/show or $100 Million/Year from Netflix? Comedy Coach predicts the near future!
How to Tell a Joke | How to Write a Joke
Titter: "Cute bit. Now, make it funny!"
Which is more important, what you say or how you say it?
Life as a Comedy Coach: our first big win!
100K_sinkHole

Funny Money: $25/show or $100 Million/Year from Netflix?
Comedy Coach predicts the near-future!

(Mill Valley, California, 12-7-2018)
by Jim Richardson, comedy coach and co-writer.

In the mid-1990's, I produced 1,000 professional comedy shows throughout northern California. A competitor of mine had a string of one-nighter comedy nights scattered throughout the state on a weekly basis. Suddenly, he got greedy and decided to cut the opening act/MC's salary from $50/show down to $25 a night. Most strange.

Those were the days when a good headliner could expect to make $1,000-1,500/week at a full time comedy club.
That left time during the day to supplement your $50-75K comedy income with radio and TV commercials, print work, book writing, etc.

The plum jobs were performances at corporate gigs for $2,500/show.

Kevin Pollak
confided in me, "Jim, we call those gigs 'funny money'."




Jerry Seinfeld
recently sold three shows to Netflix,
two of them already in-the-can, for $100,000,000:
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (2012–present)
Jerry Before Seinfeld (2017)

In 2018, Netflix produced and/or purchased a record number of stand-up comedy one-hour specials featuring both unknown and known headliners.

List of original hour-long stand-up comedy specials distributed by Netflix:
2013: 5, 2014: 5, 2015: 12, 2016: 25, 2017: 60, 2018: 70, Total about: 177

List of original under an hour comedy series: 4 combined = about 37 episodes

2019: already about 18 combined shows, not announcing number of episodes per series.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_original_stand-up_comedy_specials_distributed_by_Netflix

My main interest was finding the time to watch them all,
then make notes on bits that were good examples of comedy techniques.
Since comics should open their acts with strong material and finish with their strongest bits,
it seemed logical to cull this herd by first watching just their opening and closing five minutes.

Imagine my surprise at how many acts had
neither
an opening bit capable of hooking audience interest
nor
a finish capable of generating long and loud exit applause.

I stopped with the ten-minute failed culling experiment.

Now, to be academically accurate, I'd have to watch the entire hour of each act.
This, in hopes of finding something to recommend for my students and clients
to study to become better comics.


Worse, some household name comics were being paid $10,000,000 each
for one to six hour-long shows that they hadn't even written yet.
Let alone tried out before at least 150 audiences to fix up the weaker bits
by "punching it up or cutting it out."
Frankly, too many comics appeared to have run up against impossible self-imposed deadlines, and opted to "just phone it in."

Perhaps not the worse offender, but certainly bad enough to provide an unneeded poor example

was Chris Rock's "Tamborine" about the break up of his marriage.
This, from the once ingenious premise routine writer in the pantheon of great African American comics:

Bill Cosby-Richard Pryor-Eddie Murphy-Chris Rock-Steve Harvey?
Pathetic.


So, I tried to imagine how this all went so very wrong
with so many comics making essentially the same mistakes.
My educated guess is that when playing comedy clubs or larger venues,
comics might think that they have nothing to prove
once the audience has forked over their admission investment, and taken their seat.
Hell, it probably took them forever before the show
just to find a place to park their car.
That audience was not going anywhere.

What makes this different on Netflix?
If you are not funny in the first 10 seconds,


all the viewer has do is click a link to try another comedy act.

Or do what they always came to do on Netflix:
watch flicks!


First, the bad news. Then, the good news.

Bad news:
Computers hosting web pages with video can easily be programmed to find out exactly how many minutes and seconds before the user switches to another video.
These "metrics" are a trade secret that Netflix does not share with comics when they go to re-negotiate their contracts.

We've already seen how many original series Netflix has given the axe.
Why should stand-up comedy "stars" be treated any differently?

Point being, this market potential is being sullied by the comics themselves.

Now, for the good news:
Stand-up comedy shows are a whole lot cheaper to produce than a motion pictures.
So, with all these heads about to roll,
there is still lots of room for up-and-coming comics
to take over this bloated industry.

Given what happened to 2018's crop of arrogant comics grabbing at Netflix funny-money,
I don't suggest you try this major career move all on your own during 2019.
But I do have a plan to get your act Netflix-ready in the next 6-12 months.



Jim Richardson, comedy coach & co-writer
I can work with you locally in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Or long distance from anywhere in the world via video conferencing.

Good help is available with 35 Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced 3-hour workshops:
http://stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/IntermediateAndAdvancedCourseTitles.html
Plus, 150 hours of coaching and co-writing services:
http://www.stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/coach.html
Student and client endorsements:
http://stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/endorsements.html

Discounts of up to 33.33% when you invest in my entire six-month program:
http://www.stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/IntermediateAndAdvancedCourseTitles.html#your Investment


Let me now throw caution to the winds.
Yes: some of the stand-up comedy shows on Netflix are in fact, very good.
I will just use laugh pattern to score them objectively:



Bio.: Jim Jefferies.
Netflix's comedy hour: "This is Me Now" (July 13, 2018), one hour, 10 minutes.
Great opening character and career reveals but a bit chatty sans big laughs.
He gets off to a slow start the first few minutes with some titters
until he gets a couple of solid laughs.
Then, about 6 minutes in, he gets a great laugh.
If you are not familiar with the math here, please read up on laugh pattern:
The Producer's "Audition Requirement" Letter
http://www.stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/audition/auditionLetter.html

Then, hit your browser's Back Button to return to this page.


"The Jim Jefferies Show" (June 6, 2017 – present),
Comedy Central, Tuesdays.




Bio.: Anthony Jeselnik
Netflix's comedy hour: "Thoughts and Prayers" (2015), 59 minutes.

(plus: Jeselnik is interviewed on "Larry King NOW")


Total class act. Three minutes into his Netflix show, Jeselnik is getting Big and Great Laughs
left and right.
Six minutes in, he is already working the crowd, and killing.
Master of what I call the Yes/No basic joke format,
he repeatedly dares the crowd to guess where he is going
from each set up to get to his surprise punch line.
Brash, daring and all around just plain fine.
For his explanation of his workflow, watch the King interview.



Bill Burr is one to watch develop his writing to match his already dynamic character attitude and movements.
His 2008 DVD "Why Do I Do This" begins in a NYC subway:
Talk about a Cadillac walk!
And he's from the humble Boston suburbs!

Extras on his DVD show him chatting with us out of character.
This helps us appreciate the work he has done to create his comedy persona.
An early podcast "Uninformed XM" 2002 The Drum Battle Episode is included but doesn't go anywhere.
"Inside the Hacktors Studio" is an interview on his background and early years in both the Boston and NYC comedy scenes.
"The New York Clubs" has him giving an odd day time tour inside comedy clubs without stage lighting:
Gotham Comedy Club, Dangerfield's and Caroline's.
"That Philly Thing" Opie & Anthony Traveling Virus Tour shows Burr managing to stay on stage while the audience tries to boo him off. Doesn't work very well.

But note how he handles his opening words for "Why Do I Do This" (2008) only available via Netflix on DVD.
Remember: this is 10 years ago.
So, he's still prone to watch what other acts do wrong, and imitate those errors:
he meets positive entrance applause with a series of heartfelt but banal repeating "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

But by 2017, he knows better, and instead immediately establishes his character by talking back at the audience
while they are still applauding with maximum enthusiasm,
ending it with, "Let's wait to see if I'm funny first!"
What else is he doing so much better?
Watch his Netflix hour Walk Your Way Out (2017), one hour & 17 minutes,
and his many guest panels on major talk shows easily found on youtube.com


What is Jim saying?
Treating entrance applause as a set up line
for your first joke is a good idea which can
start revealing your character.
Let me give you a better example.

As much as I like "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,"
our host has a terrible habit of greeting all guests
with the same lame line, "Nice to have you here on the show."
Guests fall into saying almost identical words like, "It's nice to be here."
Boring!


Not ol' Hugh Grant who says the same words but his arch delivery changes their meaning. (6-27-2018)
Then, he astutely proceeds to roast the theatre, the NY audience, Colbert, etc.
When the host tries again to make nice, Hugh waves him off.
Eventually, Grant grants the host's request, and makes nice by admitting he's been kidding.
But not until after opening his guest slot by immediately "getting out of the chute fast!"


"Norm Mcdonald Has a Show" opens with a terribly unprepared David Spade as solo guest in the first episode but rapidly improves,
especially by episode 5 when solo guest and host reverse roles. Suddenly,
Norm is interviewed by Jane Fonda, before she decides they could date:


"Norm Macdonald Live" was a podcast where Norm interviewed comics and talked to them like the audience were hip to comedy writing and performing techniques, and did not require explanations. Here he is demonstrating how Richard Nixon could deflect the interviewer's question by simply changing the order of items on a list and redefining the key item with an electric change of attitude. Jerry Seinfeld's doubling over with laughter is proof of the pudding:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckHQhxQ13PA




Joe Rogan's interview of Tesla genius, Elon Musk:

I met his mother, supermodel May Musk, at a keynote speaker's birthday party in Silicon Valley.

This was before Tesla, Inc., had become universally visible. He had promised her that if all worked out as he expected,

"I'll buy you a different colored Jaguar for each day of the week!"

I only hesitate to recommend the above comedy shows
as I still need to view more of each comic's work available online
just in case there are even better examples.
So far, so good.
Stay tuned to this web page.

Considering all the above industry news,
2019
can shape up into a very good year
for the smarter stand-up comics.
For you, I have already plotted this out
with a series of weekly goals to meet.

As they told me in computer class,
"keep up with your homework deadlines,
or you'll never catch up!"

8-)

Questions?
Ask away:

Jim

415-877-4424
jim@stand-upcomedyworkshop.com

Jim Richardson
Comedy Coach & Co-Writer
ORGANIZED COMEDY
P.O. Box 992
Mill Valley, CA 94942-0992 USA

Copyright © 1997-2019

Page created: Friday, December 7, 20183, 11:15 pm PST and updated: and Monday, February 11, 2019, 12:05 am PST
Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

Sub Headings: even more tips!
Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Jonthan Winters | Joan Rivers | Hecklers
Funny Money: $25/show or $100 Million/Year from Netflix? Comedy Coach predicts the near future!
How to Tell a Joke | How to Write a Joke
Titter: "Cute bit. Now, make it funny!"
Which is more important, what you say or how you say it?
Life as a Comedy Coach: our first big win!