Is the current comedy boom about to bust? Yes, and we should welcome it, according to a great new piece by Jason Zinoman over at The New York Times. Titled “Comedy Is Booming. I Can’t Wait for the Bust,” the piece analyzes both the comics who helped pave way for alt comedy and the current overabundance of talent and outlets for comedians, but along with the good news came plenty of negative effects, including an overload of Netflix standup specials and diminished chances for newcomers to break out the way they used to: “Much of comedy right now feels stagnant, dominated by the same handful of stars with a flood of talented young performers struggling to break out,” Zinoman writes. “When’s the last time a new stand-up superstar came along and changed the game?” Here’s another excerpt:
Louis C.K.’s downfall may feel like a symbolic bookend of the current boom, but that might be the wrong way to look at it. Comedy is being disrupted right now; the transition will be difficult but also provide opportunities for those willing to adjust. The audience is bigger and more diverse than ever, and so is the pool of performers. Some producers have started looking at a new population of YouTube stars who come with their own followings. Mr. Godbout said he had booked a few of these artists, which has alienated some traditional comedy fans but filled seats. There’s widespread dismissiveness in the scene toward these entertainers, understandably, since many are terribly unfunny. But if comedy is to grow, it needs to be inclusive and open to change.
Read the rest over at The New York Times.