Archive for the ‘comedian’ tag
A comedian who’s tagline is “I can’t really tell if he’s being serious or not,” has posted a video about his experience with Reddit, and explains how he infiltrated the network and discovered the easy way to win the adulation of Redditors. Through reading, commenting and posting on various sections of the site, Robbie Sherrard figured out the Redditor code, and opens Pandora’s box in his tell-all video. Alright, it’s not actually that much of a reveal, but we definitely laughed at the office when we read it.
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Comedian Conan O’Brien opened his monologue last night with a video spoof of the Apple vs. Samsung dispute, bringing even more publicity to the case that has already been deemed the “patent trial of the decade.”
Because at this point everybody’s doing it, Box CEO Aaron Levie is going to be at Disrupt SF this September. Levie will be joining the other esteemed and as of yet unannounced speakers on our Enterprise panel.
Seeing as Enterprise is going through a revolution, a “consumerization” if you will, it promises to be a juicy discussion — sexy even.
Levie is best known for dropping out of USC to start his cloud storage company Box, which just raised a hefty $125 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. But he is also notable for providing much amusement and wisdom to anyone who follows him on Twitter, posting viral-ready tweets like “Linkedin beats earning estimates, saves the Internet” and imparting pithy startup wisdom like “Your goal should be to build a team so great that you’re unqualified to be on it.”
He is also, seriously, a bona fide magician!
Linkedin beats earning estimates, saves the Internet.—
Aaron Levie (@levie) August 02, 2012
Levie will join a full Disrupt lineup which already includes speakers like: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Brian Lee, Marc Benioff, Ron Conway, Kevin Rose, Jessica Alba, Dave Morin, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, Vinod Khosla and many others yet to be announced.
This year’s Disrupt SF is going to be the bomb. We’ve got kickass speakers, the entire TechCrunch team and real worthy Startup Battlefield finalists onstage, battling it out for the top prize of $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt cup.
(Fight on Trojans!)
CEO and Co-founder, Box
Aaron Levie co-founded Box with friend and Box CFO Dylan Smith in 2005. The Box mission is to provide businesses and individuals with the simplest solution to share, access and manage their information. Aaron is the visionary behind Box’s product and platform strategy, which is focused on incorporating the best of traditional content management with an elegant, easy to use user experience suited to the way people collaborate and work today. Box is one of the fastest growing companies in enterprise software, used by more than 11 million individuals and 120,000 businesses worldwide.
Aaron is a tireless advocate of innovation and disruption in the technology industry, and he has spoken at numerous events, including Fortune Brainstorm Tech, Dreamforce, LeWeb, RSA, MobileBeat, GigaOm Structure, and DEMO. In addition, he has written several articles for major publications such as CNN, the BBC, Fast Company, Forbes, PandoDaily and TechCrunch.
Aaron studied business at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California before leaving to found Box.
It’s nearly impossible to describe Baratunde Thurston with a few quick sentences. Formerly the Director of Digital for The Onion, Baratunde is an author, advisor, comedian, political activist, and social media maven. His first book, How To Be Black, is a critically-acclaimed bestseller, and his newest project, Cultivated Wit, aims to help companies reach audiences through humor. If that wasn’t enough, he still regularly performs standup in New York City. Anyone this smart, passionate, and straight-up busy has to have a few tricks up their sleeve. Baratunde shared his with us, from the apps he can’t live without to the tunes that keep him inspired. More »
I was talking to my brilliant friend, James Intriligator, and he was explaining why advertisers need to be careful using humor in their ads. As entertaining or outright funny as an ad may be, the joke can distract from the message.
The example Intriligator used was a commercial in which the punchline coincided with the display of the company logo, but when viewers were later questioned about the commercial, they could only recall the joke—not the advertised product or company.
I brought up Intriligator’s comment while talking with Baratunde Thurston during this week’s episode of our Marketing Smarts podcast. Thurston is a stand-up comic and was director of digital at The Onion, so he’s no stranger to comedy. He’s actually gotten paid to do it! And he is also the keynote speaker for the B2B Forum in Boston (shameless plug: Save $300 if you register before August 8!).
Thurston is also the author of How to Be Black, a book that is at once a personal memoir and a satirical reflection on the very serious issue of race in America. I wanted to know if he thought that, by casting racial stereotypes and their impact on himself and others in a humorous light, he ran the risk of blunting his critique of racism itself.
“I don’t agree, generally speaking, with that criticism,” Thurston replied. “I think there’s very little risk of satire… disconnecting people from the trauma and the reality and the weight of the truth that it’s exposing.”
Still, he acknowledged, “There is some risk to that. I just think the upside is probably greater than that risk, which is, you provide maybe a bit of escape—which might be necessary to sustain one’s sanity.”
In support of his view—and against my own, when you really look at it—I pointed out that, in Jonathan Gottschall’s most recent book, he shows how works of fiction are often more able to change social attitudes and create a greater sense of empathy than well-researched studies that trot out established facts to make the case for social justice or social change.
Thurston concurred saying, “People will pay attention to an entertainer, maybe more, in an absolute or relative sense, than they would… someone spouting out facts on a street corner.
“The fictional author, the satirist, the comedian, the artist,” he went on to say, “can bypass some of those natural defenses mechanisms [which spring up when someone tries to convince us through argumentation] to get below the surface.”
While insisting that it’s not up to entertainers alone to change society—jokes all by themselves won’t put an end to racism—Thurston said, “Everyone contributes what they have and I think the satirist and the comedian have something pretty unique—and more valuable than not—to offer.”
What’s been your experience? Either in a political or a traditional marketing context, do you think that humor helps get the message across? Or does it run the risk of reducing the message to a joke?
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Teeth Wind Up)
No one can accuse John Cleese of not earning his paycheck in this great new DirecTV spot from Grey in New York. It shows the actor and comedian holding an absurd and increasingly irritated conversation with himself about DirecTV's best package of the year—in a rapid-fire back and forth through little set-piece scenes that last barely a second each. Repeat viewings aren't just tolerable—they're mandatory. You could watch it a few dozen times and barely catch half of everything that's going on. The spot, called "Questions," was directed by Tom Kuntz, who also crafted all the ads for DirecTV's recent, celebrated "Cable Effects" series.
Comedians are inherently self-promoters. In fact we often refer to ourselves as whores. I should know, because I am one. Selling yourself is a tricky business, and even with the emerging technologies that the post-advertising age has afforded comedians—Twitter, YouTube, podcasting, and more—nearly all still follow the standard protocols of producing and selling their content and themselves to get ahead…except Louis C.K.
Historically, comedians were mostly direct marketers, traveling across America and taking their product door-to-door into clubs, restaurants, bars, strip clubs or anywhere else with a stage. The emergence of social media allowed comedians to reach larger audiences, and a few could become viral sensations or minor Twitter celebrities. But even in the post-advertising age, the dream of making it big—selling out clubs, hosting your own comedy special, producing a TV show and starring in films—has been controlled by a corporate few who rarely like to gamble on anything but a sure bet.
That is, until Louis C.K., a comedian known for his authenticity and refusal to adhere to the industry norms, decided enough was enough. He was fed up with industry middlemen like ticket brokers and DVD distributors (not to mention ticket scalpers) gauging both the fans craving content and the artists producing them. Following musical predecessors such as Radiohead, Louie became the first comedian to fund the filming of his own special “Live at The Beacon Theater” and release it exclusively on his own website for $5. In an effort to keep his fans involved in the process and curb piracy, he simply asked all potential downloader’s not to steal the video and put it on torrent sites. He had to be joking (pun intended), right?
Monetarily this was a huge gamble, as C.K. effectively cut out the middleman and distributed the special all on his own dime (though he’s spent decades on the road, building an audience of fans). This means he had no network protecting him or making the promotional push. However, C.K.’s transparency with the public, (he also posted a screen shot of his PayPal account when the special made over a million dollars), and willingness to interact with them directly has forged a personal relationship between him and his fans. It is a relationship built on trust, and one rule: please don’t steal from me, and I’ll continue to put out quality content for a very low price. Drafting on the success of his experiment, Louie has since put a formerly unreleased special for sale on his website, and plans to do the same with a feature film he made years ago.
But C.K. didn’t stop there. In an unprecedented move, the comedian recently announced that he will be selling tickets to his upcoming tour exclusively on his website for a flat fee of $45.
Making my shows affordable has always been my goal but two things have always worked against that. High ticket charges and ticket re-sellers marking up the prices. Some ticketing services charge more than 40% over the ticket price and, ironically, the lower I’ve made my ticket prices, the more scalpers have bought them up, so the more fans have paid for a lot of my tickets.
By selling the tickets exclusively on my site, I’ve cut the ticket charges way down and absorbed them into the ticket price. To buy a ticket, you join NOTHING. Just use your credit card and buy the damn thing. opt in to the email list if you want, and you’ll only get emails from me.
Again C.K. is eliminating the middleman, in this case Ticketmaster, and offering his audience the opportunity to see him live at half the price they paid last year. He has also hired a staff to police the net and seek out any person or broker that is trying to resell their seat for more than the $45 value, and void the ticket. It was another calculated risk, since many theaters won’t let artists sell their own tickets, and cities like LA and New Orleans are noticeably absent from the list due to that fact. But the results have been staggering. In just two days he sold more than 4.5 million dollars in tickets, and has been adding shows to fulfill the demand.
Louis C.K.’s model is certainly not the norm, but it has spread to other comedians. Both Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari recently released their specials through their individual websites, and Joe Rogan plans to do the same in the upcoming year.
The Lesson for Brands
Post-advertising is about utilizing the technologies that are given to us to buck the industry norms and connect fans with the content they crave. Actors can tweet directly to their fans. Brands can get feedback in real-time. There are so many possibilities, many of which are very simple. All C.K. did to sell his comedy special was set up a PayPal account.
Brands are no different than comedians. In fact, comedians are brands. So it’s important for brands to spend time and resources both producing content and trying to find new ways to connect their audiences with the content they crave.
In the post-advertising age, there are no rules and innovation happens every day. Identify the middlemen that inflate costs, slow the delivery speed and dilute the quality of your content, and find a way to get rid of them. Do everything in your power to make your audience the big winners, even if it means taking risks and potentially losing money. You owe it to them.
Back in April we interviewed comedian Mark Malkoff as he embarked on his latest feat—to watch as many movies as he possibly could in a month on Netflix streaming to get as much out of his $7.99 subscription fee as possible. This morning he released a video documenting his “Netflix Challenge” on My Damn Channel.
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Comedian Louis CK has just released a new comedy special, WORD: Live At Carnegie Hall as another download/streaming offering. The special costs $5 and follows on the heels of his previous special, Live At The Beacon Theatre.
CK did no preliminary press for the release and this special contains content that fans might recognize from other live shows as well as his TV program, Louie.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan also recently released a download-only comedy special as did Aziz Ansari. The specials aim to avoid the potential censorship and, more important, the cost of working with broadcast and cable networks.
Sadly, Louis CK’s site seems to be down right now but you’ll be able to pick the special up for streaming and DRM-free download shortly.
Conan O’Brien, the late night comedian with the shock of red hair, hosted his first Google+ Hangout on Monday, and apparently not everybody knows about it yet, as the recording only has 11,500 video views on YouTube. That said, Google hasn’t published any other stats to let us know how many people were actually viewing it live.
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