Hi-Tech Comedy: Jonesy

Today I’m interviewing Chris “Jonesy” Jones.  Jonesy is a New York City based actor/comedian/writer/musician with a mild acquaintance with technology. His viral videos have received hundreds of thousands of views. He runs a Friday night comedy show in the East Village and sings in a Red Hot Chili Pepper cover band. You can find out more about him at www.funnyjones.com

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

I have my own site www.funnyjones.com, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and a whole potpourri of video hosting sites. I also use a web-based mass email subscription service called Fanbridge.com  that allows me to send thousands of emails at once.

2. Have you noticed the payoff yet?

I depends on what your definition of payoff is. Has my website or myspace garnered a following a la Dane Cook? Definitely not. Have I made money off my web presence? Not much. My site (s) act as a sort of business card for me in that one can go there, see what I do, and contact me if they need to. In that sense it has been helpful and, I feel, completely necessary for every performer/artist. I find that most of the people that have been to my site (s) have enjoyed my videos – not of standup – but my comedic sketch videos.  I have used the social networks Myspace and Facebook to get people out to my Friday night comedy show at Eastville Comedy Club and that has paid off a little, not quite as effective as I’d hoped it owuld be.

3. What do you think about posting videos of your sets online?

I don’t really think it’s a good idea to post ENTIRE sets per se, but there should be some sample of what it is you do if you’re trying to build a following or obtain work as a comedian.  Lately I have posted a couple short videos of jokes I’ve told on stage, called “Under a Minute Standup”, and I’ve found their much better recieved because the viewers are only commited to under a minute – a perfect length in my opinion for viewing standup online.  I’ve even Twittered Tiny Url’s – links to these videos, and posted them on Facebook.

Ben, you and I have talked about this issue in the past and I’ve expressed that I believe that it isn’t that smart to post videos of your standup if you aren’t a somewhat polished comic. I’ve booked some first timers on my show and I’ve seen them immediately put up an entire 8 minute video of themselves performing an under-developed act.  I mean this is fine if it’s not going to be a CAREER for you, some guys just do it for fun only and post a video of it in an un-serious way so Mom can watch it. But if this is a career choice then I think you need to think about not releasing the product until it’s in some sort of professionally acceptable shape, and even then I recommend small chunks of no more than two minutes. If it’s a Live at Gotham or a Conan set then obviously put the whole thing up.

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

Digital tools and comedy are very vague terms. One could talk about this all day. I will just suggest two things that I canl see in the world of STANDUP. Perhaps we may see a little streaming of live shows via web video. I also think we will see more usage of video tools WITHIN the standup act as the younger generations of standup spectators become bored with a talking head on stage. This could be in the form of video and audio or even web participation or webcam participation from satellite viewers or even other performers. I’m just throwing ideas against the wall here of course. At that point I don’t even know if we would even call it STANDUP per se, so maybe I can see digital assistance transforming standup into some technological hybrid performance.

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

Because of the private (relatively speaking) aspects of Facebook I will share more information than I have on any prior social network.  I will occassionally utilize Twitter and Facebook to anounce a show. (I also use FB’s “Event Invitations”) but I normally won’t post what I feel are mundane anouncements about my daily comings and goings unless I think they will get a laugh.  “Went to pick up the kids” I think is a completely dull mis-use of Twitter and/or Facebook status updates. “Just played double-dutch with a crack-head in Harlem”, on the other hand… pretty damn funny. People would enjoy reading that, I feel.

6. Have you ever gotten laid by a fan from your facebook?

Once in Boston (I’m originally from Mass.) I did a show at a very popular downtown venue. The show wasn’t over more than a half hour when a text message from a girl who had been in attendance at the show – a sailor actually (a female Navy Officer) – she’d gone to my site and retreived my cell number ( I no longer make my # available on my site) and texted me asking me where I was and if she could come and meet me for a drink. She did. I later asked her to take me onto her ship but she told me civilians weren’t allowed so I settlled for making out in the doorway of some closed fish market.

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