Twitter and comedy are no strangers, but last week saw something unprecedented in 140 characters or less: a comedy festival held entirely on Twitter. Comedy Central’s #ComedyFest pulled in some of the biggest names that already joke on Twitter daily, in addition to those established comedians completely new to the platform, such as Mel Brooks.
#ComedyFest gave us his first- and only- tweet.
The festival officially ran April 29-May 3, and featured a variety of events, ranging from moderated discussions on comedy, to individual comedians live-tweeting Ambien trips and television shows, and even included Twitter roasts. Reach for the week peaked on the first day, April 29:
4.7k tweets from 3.3k contributors reached 28.7 million unique Twitter accounts on that day, a nice chunk of the overall 17.6k tweets from 10.3k contributors over the entire week (a little under ¼ of total tweets and ⅓ of the total contributor amounts, respectively).
Mel Brooks’s first and only tweet was the second-most retweeted on April 29, second only to one from Workaholics actor Adam DeVine.
But one of the more interesting- and certainly the newest- uses of the platform during the festival was found at the bottom of the retweet list:
Cartoonist and writer Marlo Meekins used the new six-second video app Vine to create some intriguing and funny video segments during #ComedyFest, including this one of a cartoon cat running rampant across her legs and another of her throwing away the loading icon from the video. Clever and the result of careful work (one mishap while recording a Vine and you have to start over from the beginning) these show a fantastic potential future for comedic media.
While perhaps not an earth-shattering success, Twitter’s first comedy festival did see solid participation and was fantastic exposure for some up-and-coming comedians to be billed alongside the more established. While famous names might attract more followers, a space like Twitter evens the playing field when it comes to activities like live-tweeting a show via hashtag; every joke made with the hashtag ends up in the same place for interested people to scroll through, giving newbies a chance to get noticed and followed by fans and other comedians alike.
Overall, with the rise of multitasking on a second screen while watching TV in America, it makes sense to take entertainment where the people are already talking about it.