Fans of TV could be forgiven for thinking there were only a handful of funny people in the UK – Frank Skinner, Michael McIntyre, Graham Norton, that bloke off the GoCompare ads who wears a tux and sings opera, the cast of “Have I got News For You” and that guy who is travelling around America with his mum – well actually there are at least two of those; Romesh Ranganathan and Russell Howard. They’re all called Russell, aren’t, they, comedians? Or Ricky.
The point is, comedians can’t get all get on the telly! Which means most people aren’t watching most comedians; this is also partly because fewer and fewer comedians are making DVDs and partly because we are finding more and reasons to stay home and watch Netflix than to brave the freezing temperatures and head to our local comedy club to laugh at or with people who are prepared to discuss their malfunctioning sex-lives with strangers.
And that’s a shame, but thankfully a new London based “disruptive tech” start-up is about to change everything.
NextUp is an online comedy viewing platform that will offer video content from hundreds of different comedians – a veritable cornucopia of rib-ticklin’ japery, to anybody prepared to pay a small monthly subscription fee.
Netflix for comedy, then? Yes, but also so much more!
NextUp plan to give subscribers “access not only to all the performances on the platform, but also curated playlists with categories including Rising Stars, Most Watched, Household Heroes and Contemporary Greats to help members navigate to new acts they may not have discovered before.
Yep, sounds like Netflix for comedy!
Yeah but, no but, yeah but NextUp are also offering direct links to ticketing sites so subscribers can book tickets to comedian’s upcoming gigs, “thereby helping to drive audiences not only to discover acts they may not know, but also turn up to their live shows too.”
Airbnb for comedy?
But members will also receive numerous other benefits; voting options on future site content, competitions, access to live shoots for the channel, exclusive editorial content from former TimeOut comedy editor and Edinburgh award judge Ben Williams…and much more!
Wow – sounds like the Uber of Comedy streaming sites!
Sigh, if you want. It’s certainly great for connecting fans to new comedians, and vice versa – the site will open new revenue streams for new faces and underground acts struggling to support themselves financially – comedians will earn a percentage of the platform’s income for each and every view their content receives.
“Ultimately, NextUp aims to create a comedy community connected via the internet but existing out in the real world too”, its creators say.
So just a bunch of obscure comedians I’ve never heard of?
Nope, wrong again. Comedians whose content will be featured on the site include; Lou Sanders, Richard Herring, Simon Munnery, Fern Brady, Miles Jupp, Sean Hughes and Luisa Omeilan.
Not bad – so who created this many headed digital comedy beast? The Adult Friend Finder of comedy?
Hmmm…NextUp has been founded by the team behind stalwart YouTube comedy channel and live comedy night ComComedy, who have teamed up BBC Worldwide’s Stuart Snaith.
Says co-founder Sarah Henley; “the idea for NextUp arose because we as a team found it exceptionally sad that we would come to the Edinburgh Fringe every year and see incredible, lovingly crafted shows which would maybe tour, but then disappear completely, with only a small handful of comics getting DVD deals.”
But what’s funny about that?
Nothing stupid, that’s the problem that NextUp is solving!
“NextUp will support comic talent and share comedians’ extraordinary work with a worldwide audience of stand-up comedy fans. With our production arm they’ll be able to resurrect their favourite retired shows, or record their new ones as well as gain new fans from existing recordings. Audiences may be brought in by their favourite one or two big names but we hope they will quickly be encouraged to discover the breadth of great comedy the industry has to offer” concludes Henley.
I’m in – how much does it cost?
£3.50, and you get a 30 day free trial.
Is this the biggest thing to hit comedy since Frankie Boyle first picked up a copy of Loaded magazine?
This much we know – the UK loves comedy. Comedians love the UK – the UK’s most successful ever exports? Comedians and costume dramas.
Did a London start-up just solve the post-Brexit export crisis? It feels like it, a bit.