Stand Up Comics Transition From Stage to Television


Photo courtesy of Mario Santor, Wikipedia

For many years, comedy has been an essential form of entertainment for people all over the world. While there are many subgenres of comedy, they all share one common goal: to get a laugh.

While the objective hasn’t changed, the way comedians have delivered their comedy has. The days of comics making their rounds on stand-up segments seem to be dying, as comedians turn instead to the media of television and movies in order to deliver laughs. This movement has brought the art of comedy a long way and is a big reason as to why comics have been able to survive in a changing landscape.

Although his start was rough, Dave Chappelle moved forward and began building notoriety alongside many other well-known comedians of the 1990s. He was an early pioneer of the transition from the club to television and film. He is widely known for his amazing television stand-up segment, “Chappelle’s Show.”

Sydney Alvelo, freshman, said “Growing up, I always watched his show. I liked it because he was bringing real issues to television, but made the topics more approachable through comedy. To me that’s what makes a great comedian.”

Today, traditional live stand-up routines seem to be shown less by famous comedians, due to the rising demand for comedy on the screen. Some comedians who are well-known in this new form of comedy are Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer and Louis C.K.

For many years, Hart was known for his stand-up appearances, which he still does today. However, he has made a huge leap into the acting world through both television and film appearances. From “The Real Husbands of Hollywood” to “Think Like a Man” and “Ride Along,” he has shown that he has the capability to dominate comedy in different areas. Schumer has also made the transition with her sketch comedy show “Inside Amy Schumer” and her newest movie “Trainwrecked.”

C.K. demonstrates in his television show “Louie” that comedy can be delivered in a way that is not blatantly funny. In his show, he portrays a stand-up comedian, and while viewers of the show see him on stage, the show also uses both situational and satirical humor in the format of a traditional comedy television program or film.

Stephanie Mina, a sophomore, said “I’ve never really been a fan of standup comedy because many things I heard didn't appeal to me. However, I've always been a fan of comedy movies and TV shows because although the idea is used for entertainment, the message behind the joke holds more meaning and substance.”

Comedy can be situational and hold something that is recognizable to the audience. Moving into television and film allows more people to enjoy the comedy of a storyline, rather than just listening to funny jokes or remarks made by a single person standing on stage.

Comedy has changed because people want to be able to see a story in front of them. On television and in a movie, they are able to do that. Stand-up comedy isn’t for everyone. Bringing stand-up into television and movies allows for a more diversified audience than in the past.