The popularity of stand-up comedy has skyrocketed during the past few years. It has gone from having a tiny comedy scene to one comprising an entire industry, with the former relying predominantly on half-hearted television reality shows that repeatedly use the same stream of jokes. People take comedy much more seriously now that they can make money and become famous for doing it. The landscape has changed due to prominent comedians making money off of one gig and getting opportunities to become YouTube stars and movie actors through it.
Due to this trend, people have taken comedians like Ricky Gervais seriously, and many have become integral to political and social commentary. Businesses, bars, hotels, event planners, and other establishments scramble to get in on the comedy craze. Many more doors are opening in this field, and there is plenty of possibility for everyone involved. To see Ricky Gervais live, check out his website and social media accounts for the announcement of his upcoming shows.
What Is Stand-Up Comedy?
Stand-up comedy is performed by a single comic or often a small group of ‘openers’ who introduce the main act. Stand-up comics typically amuse audiences by making jokes about and sharing anecdotes from their own lives.
Humans have been sharing and laughing at jokes for generations. In ancient Rome, crowds of spectators would gather in specially constructed arenas to see gladiatorial contests. People needed to laugh at what they found humorous or outrageous from the beginning. In the early 20th century, when commercial radio shows first aired, comedians would tell their jokes live on stage for the listening audience. We now refer to these types of humorous performances as ‘stand-up’ for short. This entertainment has evolved alongside technological developments with the help of television shows, videos, and social media. More people have been interested in stand-up comedy since the genre’s boom in the 1950s, and many young people are trying their luck to become successful comedians.
Throughout American history, stand-up comedy has developed. Still, it has always remained loyal to its roots in the kind of humor that would be shared among close friends and family, based on common experiences that everyone can relate to. In addition, stand-up comedy has evolved, becoming more family-friendly and less raunchy. Most well-known comedians have said they enjoy challenging audiences but won’t do it at the expense of producing fun stuff for everyone.
The History Of Stand-Up Comedy
Below is a brief historical context of the development of stand-up comedy.
- The 1800s. Comics that perform only stand-up routines can trace their roots back to the 1800s, though they didn’t become widely used until the 1970s. Although some minstrel shows also known as minstrelsy featured stand-up comedians, musical acts were the mainstay.
- The 1900s. The comic would take center stage as their interlocutor told jokes and asked funny questions, and the end-men delivered the payoff. These shows were widely watched before, during, and especially after the Civil War, when slavery was finally put to rest. However, the rise of vaudeville at the end of the 19th century led to a decline in the popularity of stand-ups.
- The 1950s. Radio ‘brought Americans together’ during hard times. Therefore, comedians often chose to showcase their art over the radio during wartime (particularly World War II).
- The 1970s. From the 1970s onward, four decades of public taste and historical events will dramatically alter the growth and collapse of humor. As a new generation of comedians and the so-called ‘creation’ of the comedy club emerged in the 1970s, it’s fair to say that this decade marked the ‘birth’ of stand-up.
- The 1980s. Throughout the 1980s, stand-up was widely available on television, at clubs, and from individual comics. But stand-up comedy suffered a modest decline in the ’90s. But only to make a comeback in the new millennium.
Thus, stand-up comedy has thrived throughout the new millennium and into the current day.
Stand-Up Comedy: The Rising Trend
The popularity of stand-up comedians is on the rise in the modern world. The most successful stand-up comedians earn more than USD$100,000 per performance, and their popularity has increased. When starting out, many comedians try out many styles until they find one that works for them. Most stand-up routines by celebrities deal with topics relevant to most Americans, such as growing up, raising a family, and finding work. To avoid offending anyone, even well-known comedians draw on their own life experiences while creating material for their jokes.
We all like a good laugh and a comedic story, but comedy has more profound meanings. If you find yourself laughing at anything, it’s probably because you find it to be at least partially true. So, this is how comedians get their points across.
Conclusion: The Future of Stand-Up Comedy
It appears that today’s youth have a vested interest in the world’s political and social issues, partly due to the engaging information they may discover on the internet. Stand-up comedy plays a significant role in this material, and judging by its trajectory, it appears to be here to stay. Laughter is a universal language, and it will be fascinating to see where this innovative new tactic goes from here.