Hi-Tech Comedy: Wayne Manigo

Today I’m interviewing Wayne Manigo (aka ‘WayneMan’). In over a year in the comedy arena – he’s gone from being the start up comic at the ‘open mic sessions’ – to opening for national headliners (including Clay Miles, Kevin Lee, Yannis Pappis, and others). When not performing at corporate events or writing new material…he is just ‘5150’ (the national radio code for just being crazy). Step into his mind and he’ll take you for a ride!

wayneHow are you using the internet / social media to promote your career?

I am a technical person by default. I’ve been in the IT industry for over 20 years. When I was laid off in 2009, I took that time off to study and promote comedy. I’ve always been told that I was funny, so I wanted to understand how to use that gift, and also build it into a career. Using the tools available via the internet, it was clear that how people choose to be entertained had changed. I needed to understand my target audience, and how they’re using the internet for social entertainment. The social media (as a whole) is a process that a comic must be willing to navigate. It’s not just about “Who’s looking on my website?” You have to ask yourself “Who found my website?” and most importantly – “Are they coming back?” The next thing you need to inquire is “What are the other ways my audience is communicating online? How do I get more involved with them?”

Have you noticed the payoff yet?

Absolutely! In a nutshell – Twitter is the bomb! I’ve started to obtain a great and dedicated following from word of mouth. I utilize my website, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and for those still using email – fanbridge.com. If you’re going to market yourself as a comic, you have to ensure everyone who wants to follow your work (as a fan) has a certain amount of access to you. My career in comedy would not have advanced this rapidly if there was no internet. My biggest payoff this far is the DC Digital Week Conference (June 10th-20th). This conference has allowed me to introduce some of the best local comics on the scene to the rest of the world.

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

In the beginning, I hated the idea. My fear was that someone would steal my jokes, and when I performed the same material live – I would be referred to as a hack comic. Now my thinking is the reverse. I can post a few of my jokes out there, and start to build a following. I’ve had fans who attended my show(s) based on my demo clip on youtube. The comedy market is crowded, but if you’re using the human factor…(meeting fans before and after show, etc) – success can be discovered.

How do you think digital tools will change comedy?

It’s a good and bad thing. Just like porn, now any fool with a camera thinks he can produce a quality product. Seriously – I treat it like I did when MTV was introduced to the world. My inside voice says “You have this new power…how will you use it?” If you’re going to consider using the digital market for comedy – you’d better have a strategy. If used incorrectly…it could take years to correct a bad marketing plan. Having a website is no longer the only plan to generate interest. Learn how to use the ‘Social Media’ to advance your career!

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

My online life is almost an open book. In the years before the rise of FaceBook, I was active in a lot of online communities. . I’ve been in computer networking for over 20 years, so if someone did a digital query on me, my results would include computer related items… before the article on strip clubs (or what other results produced may be produced by the search engine of your choice).

What’s your weirdest online experience involving your comedy career?

That would be in the ‘twitter world’. If you’re trying to get attention (for whatever reason) via twitter – you’ll get people that want to follow you… and you have no idea why! Not everyone who follows you on twitter is someone you want in your fan base. I use www.truetwit.com to validate users. I will follow my fans if you’re real and take the time to reply back to me. But to those spammers who join me with names like “DateXXXXblah, blah, blah,” or “hottest parties, blah,) – Byte Me! You’re off my digital list! If you’re a fan I’ll bring you some comedy to remember.

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