Online comedy channel gets serious

Comedy stopped being the new rock and roll a while ago. Now it’s the new online video content. A new comedy channel has evolved online, looking to tap in to the seemingly endless interest in stand-up.

ComComedy TV has been around in irregular form for 2 years already as an intermittent YouTube channel showcasing stand-up sets from a wide variety of performers.

From April 12 it will have its own website, comcomedy.com, where all the recordings including the archive footage will be available for free viewing. Users won’t need to join or register to have access to the material.

Well-known comedy names like Jimmy Carr, Jon Richardson and Griff Rhys-Jones have already appeared on the channel, and ComComedy’s creators are hoping that it will become the definitive online showcase for stand-up.

The channel will feature performer profiles and interviews, specially recorded session performances, and recordings of one-off events like some of the charity shows and theatrical productions that take place on the Edinburgh Fringe. ComCom will hope to emulate the success of Funny Or Die, an online comedy channel that has an estimated value of $40million.

The only downside may be resistance of some comedians to having their material disseminated online. Live comedy DVDs can sell hundreds of thousands of copies and be a major source of earnings for stand-up comics, who are understandably reluctant to give away material for free.

In extreme cases, they can even object to audience members carrying iPhones into their shows. Stand-up Sarah Millican recently told a fan who had recorded a show that "what you did is basically theft."

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