5 Ways to Amp Up a Comedy Career By Connecting With a Mass Audience

Maximum exposure, maximum laughs

1. YouTube

Potential audience: 124 million

Bo Burnham was an ordinary 16-year-old kid in suburban Massachusetts when he started posting videos of his songs, which he called "pubescent musical comedy." As of January, more people have watched his videos than watched the last episode of M*A*S*H (106 million).

2. Talk Show

Potential audience: 5.6 million

Hannibal Buress hosts a stand-up show every Sunday at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Assuming the theater sells out (a best-case scenario), he performs every week to about 300 people. Compare that to his Feb. 25 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He would have to perform at The Knitting Factory every Sunday for the next 36 years, to match the 5.5 million viewers he reached that night.

3. Comedy Central Show

Potential audience: 1.6 million

A show on Comedy Central is no guarantee of ratings but it's a place where new faces can find loyal followings. When Inside Amy Schumer debuted last year to 1.6 million, according to Nielsen, it seemed inconceivable for a comedian whose biggest exposure to that point was coming in fourth on Last Comic Standing.

4. Las Vegas Residency

Potential audience: 1.2 million

Carrot Top isn't the most respected comic in the world, but he might very well have the best gig in comedy. Since 2004, he has played to sold-out crowds six nights a week at the Luxor's 380-seat showroom in Las Vegas. If you want consistent crowds, Vegas is the place to do it.

5. Open-Mic Night

Potential audience: Anywhere from 960 (at New York's Great Hall) to 1 million

Open-mic night crowds can be small and inattentive. But the Moth StorySLAMs, held at least once a month in 15 cities, are a hot ticket, and if your story gets picked up by the Moth podcast, you could be among its 1 million monthly downloads.


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