It might just be one of the greatest setup lines in the history of jokes: "A man walks into a bar." The punch lines to that setup alone are endless, and then there are the numerous variations of the setup itself: two men, a gorilla, a termite, a horse, Celine Dion. The toughest part about coming up with a new joke is figuring out if it is funny. Just because something makes you laugh doesn't mean it will make somebody else laugh. For most of us this isn't a big concern but for somebody who makes their living by making other people laugh, the joke better be funny. Comedians and social media are the perfect marriage to help test out new material and see just how funny they are.
Picture this scenario. A comic comes up with what he thinks is a surefire hit joke. He tells it to his best friend. His best friend stares at him blankly before finally saying "I don't get it." Undeterred, the comic tells it again to a complete stranger, the mailman and his mother. All three of them give him varying responses that aren't much different than his best friend's. Does this mean the joke is not funny? It used to, but that comic has an ace up his sleeve. See, he's smart enough and savvy enough to turn to social media. That is where he hosts a weekly interactive discussion with another of his comic friends. This open forum allows for their fans to engage in real-time commentary, so when he says to his friend in the discussion, "Hey I've got this new joke," immediately he will know if his fans think it is funny. Truth is, it still might not be, but now at least he knows.
Maybe instead of having the same friend on the show every week, instead he has a different comic join him every week to discuss the passion and pitfalls of what it is like to try and create humor on a daily basis. Now fans of his will get to meet someone new, that comic's fans will be introduced to him and both sets of fans will get to know a little bit more about each other. They can even help steer the conversation by posting in the real-time commentary that both comics can see and address. Best of all, this could happen from three thousand miles away. The comic who hosts the show may be in New York City getting ready to hit the comedy clubs for the night while his guest is out in Las Vegas, preparing to work one of the rooms at Ceasar's Palace. Thanks to social media and the interactive discussions that they allow, it can all feel like they are sitting in a green room together, trying to figure out what happens after that man walks into the bar.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer and blogger who frequents real time commentary and discussion sites such as http://www.tawkers.com but never says a word.