Entertainers of all stripes have flocked to the big social networking sites. They’ve been particularly active on Twitter. This is hardly surprising, since the site is useful for anyone who wants to promote themselves to a specific demographic. But there’s one group of entertainers Twitter is ideal for: comedians.
Not only is the site great for interacting with fans and connecting with others in the comedy industry; the 140 character limit is also perfect for funny tweeps to try out their new gags and one-liners. This is a really good writing exercise that forces them to write strong lead-ups and punchlines as briefly and directly as possible.
Also, funny one-liners are often the ones that get retweeted most often. When the Australian federal election was held recently one of the big surprises was that Wyatt Roy, a 22 year old, was elected as an MP. Not only was he very young, he looked even younger than he was! In fact, he could easily have passed as a 16 year old.
There was keen interest in this precocious Aussie politician and his name was a trending topic on Twitter. Seeing the potential, an Aussie comic called Lawrence Leung tweeted: “Wyatt Roy = Doogie Howser, MP.”
This great line was picked up by many other tweeps and it was retweeted hundreds of times. It then found its way into the mainstream media. So this nickname is now in wide use. (Google it and you’ll see.) And this was all because a comic had the foresight to post a funny, memorable and descriptive one-liner on Twitter.
Another example of the same phenomenon is the Twitter site of acerbic American comedian Denis Leary. He seems to tweet nothing butgags. If you click on the bottom of each tweet (where the date and time are listed) you’ll see that most — if not all — of his jokes have been retweeted many times.
Both of these comedians are well known — Leary in particular. So it’s easier for their tweets to “go viral” since they have ready-made followings of people who are fans of their comedy.
That said, even if you aren’t a well known stand-up, a good one-liner can still pick up a lot of momentum. So if you can do them repeatedly you’ll get known for this within the site. There will be many other tweeps who are also in the comedy industry who will take note. So, Twitter can help start a comedy career as well as improve an already established one.
There is a risk of your lines being ripped off, of course — particularly by comics in other countries. But that’s also a risk for any comic when he does his act live. So, it’s not worth worrying about.
And in the very unlikely case of another comic in your city ripping off your funny tweet and performing it as if it were his own creation, Twitter will have a record of the date and time you posted it. You can use this to prove ownership.
So, if you are a comedian, don’t be shy about using Twitter to build up your routine. It’ll help you hone those funny one-liners while simultaneously lifting your profile within the comedy industry, as well as among the public at large.