A Breakdown Of A Clever Comedy Stunt – And What The Comic Could Have Done To Get More Out Of It

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A Breakdown Of A Clever Comedy Stunt

By: Josh Spector (of Connected Comedy)
One of the things I’d like to do a lot more of in the coming year on Connected Comedy is showcase some examples of creative things comedians are doing to grow their fanbase and showcase their comedy. Today I came across a perfect example.

Over in the Connected Comedians Facebook group, Minnesota-based comedian Corey Adam shared a video that he posted based on something he did on Black Friday. Basically, he went to a bunch of stores that had crowds of people waiting in line for the store to open and then did a spontaneous stand up performance for them.
I’d like to share with you what I think is great about this, what you can learn from it, and also a few thoughts about what Corey could have done better to get more out of the effort he put into it.
First, check out the video:




What I Like About This

It’s Unique And Unexpected

The best way to get people to notice you online is to do something unexpected and this fits that bill. This is just a clever idea that would certainly get the people in line to notice Corey and had a lot of potential to get people online to notice the video that came from it as well.

It Provides Value

Another great thing about this concept is that the stunt actually provides a service – a welcome bit of entertainment to people who were likely bored and cold standing in line with nothing else to do. Assuming they found Corey funny, they probably viewed his appearance as a welcome distraction – this also probably made for a relatively “friendly” crowd.

It Leaves An Impression And Gives People A Story To Tell

I guarantee that every person in that line that saw this wound up telling people who weren’t there about what happened. That’s a mark of a great promotional stunt – something that people want to tell other people about.

It Works On Multiple Levels For Multiple Audiences

This stunt not only had an impact on the people who saw it in person, but because he shot a video of what he did and posted it on YouTube, Corey also was able to use it to potentially reach a much broader audience.

Audiences Are Everywhere – You Just Have To Look For Them

One of the things I really like about this stunt is that it’s a great example of a comic recognizing that there are tons of places to find an audience outside of a comedy club. If your goal is exposure, then any place where people gather (especially if they have some down time in that place) can be turned into an audience with a little creativity.


The Opportunities Corey May Have Missed

The Video Is Too Long

My biggest criticism is that Corey undercut the video’s chance of going “viral” because he didn’t edit it down enough. Six minutes is too long for a video like this and it would have a much better chance of spreading if he had cut it down to about a three minute video (at most). And I think he easily could have done it without losing too much of the essence of the video.
He basically has a 45 second intro which probably could have been accomplished in 10 seconds, another minute of set up before he starts to perform which could have probably been cut by at least 30 seconds, and then the performance could have been tightened a bit without losing much as far as the video goes.
It may seem like a little thing, but the length of a video has a huge impact on how many views and shares you get so it’s something to keep in mind. And he always could have put out an extended version if he really felt like he wanted more of the footage out there.

The Title Undersells The Concept

The video is currently titled “Black Friday Comedy 2012″ which is far from the most attention-grabbing headline. In fact, I doubt many people would click on that video unless they knew what the video really was.
By comparison, a title like “Black Friday Shoppers Get Shocked By Comedian” or “Comedian Crashes Black Friday Shopping Line” would be a LOT more compelling and likely to draw a lot more views. Here’s some more general tips on video titling in case you’re curious.

There’s A Lack Of Branding

I’m sure that Corey wants the people who do happen to see this video to take an action to connect to him – to join his mailing list, or follow him on social media, or at least subscribe to his YouTube channel. But, he doesn’t ask them to do any of those things in the video, or through annotations on the video, or even in the video description.
He doesn’t include any links to his website (if he has one), or provide links to any of his other videos through annotations or the video description. So basically, if somebody stumbles across this video and enjoys it, he’s done nothing to direct them as to what they can/should do next. That’s a missed opportunity.

How To Build On This

This isn’t a missed opportunity, but more of a suggestion for something Corey may want to do next to build on this concept. Assuming he enjoyed doing it and felt like it worked well, why not try it again in different settings that may have similar lines of people waiting? Why not broaden this out into a web series?
Suddenly, what seems like a one-off random video idea, starts to become actual intellectual property (something that could potentially become a TV series) and Corey is creating value for himself. On top of that, if the videos start to take off then Corey is also starting to brand himself as “the guy who performs to people in line” which separates him from “just another comic” syndrome.
And, because this video concept involves direct contact with different people all the time, it gives him an opportunity to build his fanbase offline as well as online. Every time he performs for 20 people in a line, he has the chance to connect with some of the people there who enjoy what he did and literally build relationships with those people – that’s how you grow a fanbase.

Now It’s Your Turn…

Obviously, I think Corey’s stunt is great but I’d also love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment with what you think of what he did, what other opportunities you see for something like this, and any other things you’ve done (or seen) recently that you think Connected Comedians should know about…
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