Trends in Comedy, Technology and Social Media’s Impact on Entertainment

Social Media Week

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“You can find funny in anything, you just have to be good”

This was from a testimonial from an ordinary citizen, and really encapsulates how comedy is evolving to the day. Even more, with the expansion of social media outlets and viewership, we see an explosion of real-life people becoming internet celebrities, just due to some magical charisma that they carry.

Over these windows, normal people are becoming like pastors, garnering an unfiltered following of thousands and millions of people. We see this in Vine, with several internet celebrities becoming the new sketch comics of our nation from just 10-second clips of their ordinary lives. Youtube has made people infamous for being themselves, just voicing their honest opinion or sharing their hobbies and skills.

What unites this movement? Over 84% of people believe in comedy-a greater portion that the amount that follow politicians, the greatest religions. This church is becoming powerful and impactful through social media.

Not only is social media the primary channel for preachers of comedy, but it becomes the discussion forum, the virtual bible study rooms, and the baptism pools for the millions of digital citizens that follow other normal people over social media. Major embodiments presented during this meaningful exploration of social media comedy include the virality of #PopeBars and the newfound prevalence SNL cameos for any and every politician.

The driving truth behind this Church of Comedy is that talking about real-life in crude, open honesty has a comforting nature to the masses-being an adult is hard and social media makes it even more okay to be a dysfunctional adult. Issues like rape, sexuality, diversity, and discrimination become unbounded by location and unscreened by big media.

For the people on stage, this truth was embodied in true form. Some people are meant for stand-up comedy, but Jonah Ray found his calling in his sketch series “Hidden American with Jonah Ray.” Dan Harmon created “HarmonQuest,” and quickly realized along the journey that he was a creature of screens and text.

Kulap Vilaysack of “Bajillion Dollar Properties,” produced over digital outlet, recognized her passion in something not dramatic actress. Evan Shapiro, EVP of Digital Enterprises at NBC Universal, brought out a realization in all three figures that comedic self-loathing is actually something that is much more about the self today than it was before the rise of the Internet native.

Furthermore, the entrepreneurial nature of digital channels and is now seeing economies of scale: costs are dropping for self-made comics to generate content and produce over DIY channels. Big Media is consistently taking a backseat-shows and comics often retain more of their realness as they are extended over larger, more public channels. As this happens, we should see new B2B and B2C serving independent content creation in order to decrease friction and increase monetization.

The rise of a new religion preached ubiquitously by the Internet podium will drive the birth and rise of markets for bootstrapped media.

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James Liao

Student, Columbia Business School

I am a second year at Columbia Business School, focusing on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. I am a graduate mentor for the Founders Institute, and work at Bowery Capital and 37 Angels. I love startups and have been a founder, and am still searching for the next builders opportunity.

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