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Oct 09

The Comedy Stylings of Bo Burnham – Bo Fo’ Sho’

Just came across this article on The Guardian website:

“Two years ago, Bo Burnham’s big brother Pete left his home in Massachusetts to attend Cornell University in New York. Burnham wanted to stay in touch, so he wrote a comic song for Pete entitled My Whole Family Thinks I’m Gay, videoed himself singing it, and posted it on YouTube.

“Pete was duly amused – and so were a lot of other people. Burnham’s song found its way on to various college sites, and its audience soared overnight from 9,000 to an astonishing 1 million.”It, along with other YouTube clips of Burnham performing various outrageously un-PC song routines, has now been downloaded 30 million times. The young comic has signed a four-album deal for the record arm of US TV channel Comedy Central, and his debut EP – Bo Fo’ Sho’, a collection of six of his songs – topped the iTunes album chart.

“Then, earlier this month, a movie collaboration with Judd Apatow (director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up) was announced, the two having met when Burnham performed at Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival this summer. And this week, the 18-year-old phenomenon hits Britain for his debut overseas stand-up shows…”

It seems that Dane Cook, Russell Peters and Judson Laiplly aren’t a blip. Perhaps this approach to self promotion is going to become the norm?

So what can we learn from this? Well, if you’re interested in pursuing a career as a professional speaker or humorist we need to make sure that we really utilise Web 2.0 internet marketing.

We need to use sites like You Tube, and build a fanbase using sites like Facebook and MySpace. We can interact with our fans as we build them, they can interact with us, and they can pass round our video clips or learn from the video clips (depending on what you is appropriate for you as a speaker).

Even if your video clip viewings don’t hit 1 million 9,000 (Bo’s original hit count) that’s still a respectable number. How do you get these viewings? By creating original, funny clips. Don’t think there’s an actual formula for it. Just create genuine content that is either killer funny, or imparts some really useable piece of knowledge.

There are plenty of examples out there that you can look at. Check out the links of the comics above. Also…

Don’t be put off by the fact that I’m talking about stand-up comedians. We can absolutely learn from these guys and apply them to our careers as speakers or trainers, and so on.