Making animated videos about the inner workings and failings of the comedy club world has become a late-summer sensation for the comedy community, thanks to the technology of xtranormal.
Now the comedian who posted the first "Stand-Up Comedy is Not Pretty" video, and a club owner who has posted another new entry into the field, have spoken with me about what they're doing and why.
The creator of that first entry (see what I wrote and screened for you on Aug. 31) that has launched a few imitators and rebuttals wishes to remain anonymous, at least for now, calling himself (or herself) "I Am Comic" on the site Great That Sounds Fair (named for the catchphrase the stand-up keeps repeating to the club booker) and saying: "Now I just think it would be silly to come out. Who I am is really not important -- and I don't think would add to the story much at this point. I am, however, glad that they caught on pretty quickly that the clip was more about what we as comics have to go through in the early stages of our careers, and not an indictment of their business practices."
The comedian "came up with the theme after seeing a similar clip that involved a conversation between Club Promoter and a Musician. The intent was just to make a local inside joke between the comics. I had no idea it would catch on the way it did. When the actual club owners themselves started sharing the clip and joking about it, I realized there was really no need to remain anonymous. But by then it was too late."
Look for more to come, the comedian says, who feels that "Joke Joint Becky's" look at the flip side of dealing with open mic'ers is better than his/her own. "I love that people are making their own clips. I was actually surprised more people did not jump on the site sooner. It really is amazing, and easy to use."
One of those to jump on the site is Marshall Chiles, of Atlanta's Laughing Skull Lounge, who said Stand-Up Comedy Is Not Pretty "deserves some mad props for this new little eco-video-correspondence they have started." Chiles created an xtranormal video yesterday about dealing with agents, and modified it slightly to release a new edition today called "Booking a Celebrity." Set up the clip! "This is what it is like SOMETIMES when dealing with an agent trying to get a celebrity to your comedy club." Roll it.
Chiles explained to me today: "I have some other ideas for videos on the industry and what it is like to be a comedian... and be a club owner... then combining the two which is my walk. I really like xtranormal's solution and can see it being a great venue for creative output. And of course, just like all artistic expression, some are better than others. I have seen a few that are just reaching imho."
Which means, of course, in a couple of weeks, there will be a glut of these videos and most of them will suck. Don't worry. I won't make you watch those.