Many of today’s up and coming comedy stars are turning to social media to build a following.
Josh Wade is only 22 but is in the Top 100 Australian YouTubers, boasts 766,102 Facebook fans and more than 140,000 Instagram followers.
“It’s definitely not easy,” he said.
“It’s easier to make one viral video but to make another, another, another and then keep this bloody thing rolling – this is my fifth year doing this now – it becomes a lot harder.”
Wade has been producing comedy videos and podcasts since he left high school, often featuring his other mates in the business like Neel Kolhatkar and Wollongong’s own Ben “Frenchy” French.
But he says he’s seen many of them cop some flack from more established comedians who think social media is a “get rich quick scheme”.
“Like ‘you’re not real, you’re not legitimate’,” Wade said.
“None of them are doing it and if they are a lot of them have massive radio stations behind them with massive budgets and they still can’t pull the same numbers.”
Social media is a new wave of observational humour according to Wade, who believes making videos relatable is the key to people watching then tagging their friends.
Kolhatkar, who boasts nearly 500,000 YouTube followers, said the rise of viral videos was the nature of the media landscape.
He’s gone out of his way to learn – on his own and through short courses – the tricks of the trade in how to produce, write and act in videos.
“People who want to do something in this industry they can no longer be a master of one art, I think they have to be capable in a variety of skills,” he said.
“If it’s something you’re really committed to do you can always [teach] yourself and there’s always like minded people to surround yourself with and bring yourself up to speed with the skills.”
The freedom and the full artistic control brought with creating videos and podcasts with your friends is what Kolhatkar loves.
He thinks this is what people want.
“They can sense any sort of content that’s been tainted by advertising or obvious marketing so I think the most organic and most independent works tend to do well … in the digital world.”
Neel Kolhatkar LIVE, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Sunday September 3, 8pm. www.merrigong.com.au
Frenchy ‘Frenchy Unleashed’, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Saturday September 23, 8:00pm. www.merrigong.com.au