Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Blogging and Comedy
The main article, Clive Thompson's "Blogs to Riches--The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom" compares blogging to high school, with A, B and C listers.
Blogging has also become a business for a lot of people, and Thompson describes three business models:
The first—and most common so far—is the accidental tourist: A lone writer who starts a blog as a mere hobby but then wakes up one day to realize his audience is now as big as a small city newspaper.He highlights Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall, who started his blog "just for fun" during the November 2000 election recounts, and gradually accumulated 150,00 page views per day.
The second basic blogging business model is the record-label approach: Crank out dozens and dozens of sites and hope that one or two will become hits.
That would be Weblogs, Inc.'s Jason Calcanis, who's been a new media mogul since he published the Silicon Alley Reporter back in the mid-'90s.
The third and final model? The boutique approach: a publisher who crafts individual blogs the way Condé Nast crafts magazines—each one carefully aimed at some ineffable, deluxe readership.
Which is Nick Denton of Gawker.com, who scared away competitors by telling the press, “While I love the medium, I’ve always been skeptical about the value of blogs as businesses.” So it's like he said, "Don't bother; there's no money in it" and then he made a lot of money from it and went "Heh heh heh heh."
For me, blogging is kind of like what stand-up was for me back in the '80s. Although if I were a 27-year-old comic today, I would probably have a blog as a supplement to my act, to publicize the act and to put things that translate better into words and pictures than into performance.
Unlike stand-up, I don't have to wait until the gig. I can get an idea and go right to the computer. So maybe it's like a stand-up act for people who have no self-control.
We had the A, B, and C list in comedy clubs, too. There were the acts that got prime time on the weekends, acts that got pretty regular spots the rest of the time, and people who got a chance once in a while at 2 AM in front of six people.
Blogs have become an industry, and comedy had become an industry by the late '80s. In fact, you had a lot of twenty-three year old comics all of a sudden who were saying things like "comedy business model paradigm" as if Lenny Bruce were spearheading an MBA program. So many comics had become so into "Running my comedy like a business" that it killed off a lot of what had made it worth doing in the first place. The person who has a "Mission Statement" for their comedy is a person who's stopped seeing the joke. In fact, the first time you begin a sentence with the words, "My comedy is..." you should be slapped silly.
Naturally, you have to eat and pay the rent, so you have to put some standard of care into your work and be aware of getting promoted. The tough part is the balance between selling, and having something you're proud to sell.
And I've linked (though that post doesn't reflect the degree to which I will ponder this).