Different strokes for individual folks

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on May 27th, 2012

The Female Half was on a shuttle at the Tampa Airport when she struck up a conversation with the shuttle’s driver, during which it was discovered that the Female Half was a comedian, which led to a discussion of standup. The shuttle driver was a fan of comedy who listed his favorite comedians as Kevin Meaney and Jon Reep.

This is notable because we’re always told that a fan of one comedian can’t possibly be a fan of a totally different comedian. The comedy business, we’re told, is a zero-sum game. And a dollar spent on, say, Dane Cook means one less dollar spent on, say, Doug Benson or Margaret Cho. This theory is usually trotted out in order to pump up a favored comedian and/or disparage another comedian. We’ve always held this to be clearly wrong and counter to our experience.

Can we name two comedians who are more dissimilar than Meaney and Reep? Perhaps. But we’re not surprised that one comedy fan can like both.

Further, our abovementioned comedy fan said that he discovered Reep by watching the fifth season of Last Comic Standing, during which Reep was declared the last comic standing. Many of the same folks who like to say that two disparate comics can’t possibly have an overlap of fans are also fond of saying that LCS (and shows like it) are detrimental to standup. We’re of the opinion that the exposure of standup through television does nothing but good for the business of live standup. The more opportunities that standup fans have to sample comedians– through any medium– the more opportunties that standup has to snag those fans.

Just like the fans of fashion, food, music and booze, standup fans can like a wide and varied array of that which they are passionate about.