Hi-Tech Comedy: Andrew Ginsburg

Today I’m interviewing Andrew Ginsburg, an NYC-based Comedian, Champion Bodybuilder and Certified Fitness Trainer. Andrew has been on “The View,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Sopranos,“ “All My Children,” “As The World Turns,” “The Guiding Light” and “One Life to Live.” You have also heard Andrew on Sirius/XM’s “Laugh Attack,” “Hey, Get Off My Lawn” and Martha Stewart Living Radio.

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1. How are you using the Internet / social media to promote your career?

I use Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. My blog has become a good way to get new fans because it’s a comedic fitness blog that’s reaching a pretty good audience and growing. I use the blog to get followers and to promote my comedy album, “Eat the Yolk”.

2. Your new album just hit the iTunes Comedy top 10, what was the marketing strategy behind it?

Andrea at Pink Room Records has been working hard; we’ve been doing combinations of direct-to-fan, digital, radio, and traditional promotions. We made these cool short stop-motion video teasers that hit the web before the album came out. The album release show was at Carolines on Broadway in NYC. I sent emails to everyone that I’ve ever met at a show that I had an email address for, making sure everyone knew I had the album.

3. How has the internet and marketing strategy changed from your Pumping Irony CD in 2012 to your new release Eat The Yolk in 2014?

I didn’t have a fitness blog back then, so I had way less people aware of my work in fitness and comedy. The blog bridged that gap. Just having a product that has merit and is funny. I didn’t really have a voice in Pumping Irony, I was all over the place, searching, when I started writing with Paul DeLesDernier he helped me narrow the playing field and said, “this is what you know, fitness and family, it should be your subjects.” This album is fitness and family.

As far as strategy, just using those platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. If you have something you’re proud of; you’re more excited to sell it.

4. Do people still buy physical CDs or is it all digital now?

People buy physical CDs. At Carolines, I sold a lot of physical copies, and I did a show this past weekend in Albany and sold some more. If you do a good show, people want the physical copy as a memento. I was surprised that people still buy physical albums, but they do.

5a. You’ve found a tie-in audience base with being a personal trainer and market towards people who are into fitness. Was this accidental?

No, because the gym is really a funny place. It’s a bizarre world. Everyone’s neuroses are on display on this heavily mirrored, open floor. Endorphins are pumping, music is blasting, and a lot of relationships begin in gyms. You’re on these crazy, robotic cardio machines; it’s just a funny environment. And, my clients are hilarious.

5b. How would you recommend other comedians find their audience?

Get in front every audience you can. See who’s laughing. Then see who’s coming to the shows; get to know them.

6. What do you think about posting videos of your show online?

I don’t like to because it’s just giving people free content. Why do you wanna go to a show if you already have the act on YouTube? I know lots of comedians who just put their set right up on YouTube and it’s like okay, great, I don’t need to see him anymore. I’ll put clips online, 2-3 minutes tops. It’s like a girl giving it up on the first date; it’s too much.  Give me a little and I’ll come back for more.

7. How do you think digital tools will change comedy?

When I was in college, we didn’t have iTunes. We still used CDs. I’d buy Bobby Slayton’s album at his show; I couldn’t download it. I saw an HBO interview with Louis CK and he said his whole world is on his laptop.  Before it was cassette tapes and it’s just so easy now. I know people who have gotten on late night TV by submitting a video through email. You couldn’t do that before, you needed people to come to your show or get a recording that takes physical labor. Online, it’s just one click.

I think technology in general will make people less inclined to get off their couch. I myself rarely go out unless its special or I’m in debt to a friend. You can do everything at home. You have Amazon Prime, Netflix, cable, food from Seamless, and if we didn’t have to use the bathroom, we’d never get up.  I think people will leave their homes a lot less as the years go on and obesity rates will sky rocket.

8. How much information do you tend to share on the social networks?

I keep my relationships private. People will post on Facebook “Jane Lefkowitz is in a relationship” then she’s single two weeks later. You’re either married or don’t post anything. I keep it strictly to comedy and getting people to come to shows. I don’t want to give too many details of my life. Plus, nobody cares. Nobody cares what I’m eating for dinner or what half marathon I’m running over the weekend.

9. The Panhandler Party sketch has nearly 2 million views, how’d that happen?

My friend Gary Lee Mahmoud, a really talented actor and comedian came up with the idea for the sketch, he’d been wanting to do it for a while. He uploaded it on YouTube and it just went crazy. We never thought it would turn into this. It got passed around. I thought it was so well organized and everything had to be done perfectly or it would be obvious that it was a spoof. People bought into it. There was very little script, it was 80% improvised, he basically said “you’re a wall street dick, go piss off the subway car,” and it was the most fun gig I’ve ever had. It went viral and got on College Humor and Gawker and then the Daily News covered it because it was the first real panhandler thing. And everyone could relate. It started a few other homeless sketches that I won’t say copied, but borrowed from our sketch.

10. What is your weirdest online experience involving your comedy career?

I was hate blogged. I was published in the New York Times in the “Metropolitan Diary” section. I wrote a funny piece about being mugged in NYC. As with anything, you’re gonna piss someone off and anyone who has a hate blog, I don’t wanna hang out with anyway. I got accused of being racist; they called me a “short, nebbishy Jew.” They pictured me as looking like Woody Allen. They linked my mugging piece to the Trayvon Martin thing somehow. I constantly wonder if it was an ex-girlfriend. Although, there were a lot of spelling errors and most of the women I dated were well educated, unless they did the spelling errors as a cover.

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