Picking a tape to use

Now that everyone watches standup clips online, the 5-10 minute tape that used to be standard fare feels a bit passé. The reason: Long online videos don't really get watched. Maybe by a show booker but not by normal people. That's why you see Comedy Central and others breaking online clips into 1-3 minute chunks. Just one bit or a few quick jokes. Anything longer overshoots the attention span of online viewers.

Still, you need a tape of a longer set for bookers, contests, etc. The best two recent tapes I have are from a few months back and recently I asked Mike Drucker's opinion (because he is very smart and very funny) on which one I should use. I thought his feedback was interesting so, with his permission, I'm sharing it here. (Unless you're a glutton for my standup, no need to watch both sets. The commentary about tapes in general is why I'm sharing this.)

Me to Mike:

hey MD-

need an expert opinion. i have two sets that are both decent and i'm wondering which one i should use as my goto tape.

i think this one is better (hot crowd, tight set). mark says this one is loose and more "the real Ruby."

hate to waste 20 mins of your day, but if you're willing to watch both and let me know which you think is better to send to show bookers, etc., i'd really appreciate it.

Mike's reply:


Here's the deal with the videos.

Normally, I'd say the one you like more is better. Louder laughs longer pauses for laughs, which is great.

BUT I like the look of the other video more. The first video looks a little squashed and too bright and the angle is a bit weird. I think the Karma one has a much more complimentary look for you and feels much more professional-looking.

So comedically, I'd go with the Broadway one. True, the Karma one is a little more your style (and both are great, make no mistake), the Broadway one is just louder and more powerful on the laughs.

However, as far as professional look goes, I would learn towards Karma. It really feels shot well and you look better in it, the curtain looks better in it, and the angle feels more "pro club tape" than the Broadway one, all of which which may make you ultimately seem more professional.

Does that help at all?


Yes, it did help. I was so caught up in the audience reaction and my delivery that I wasn't even really thinking about the overall production quality of the tape. (Gotta get my head out of my own asshole sometimes, ya know?)

Also, it took a bunch of views of the first one before I noticed I say "oh boy" after a few different jokes. Some sorta weird nervous tick that I didn't catch at first. Weird that. Been watching out for it since.

Anyway, may be a moot point now since I had a hot set the other week in Chicago and it was filmed. A copy is on the way and my fingers are crossed it came out well. I think I've progressed since the above tapes were shot so it'll be nice to have one which shows that.

(P.S. That Karma tape, the one that's shot well, was filmed at the New Young Comedians show. A big shout out to Aalap, Chelsea, and Matteson for running a great show and hooking performers up with quality tapes too. The next one is actually tonight, Friday, at 8pm at Karma. Details/tickets here if you're interested.)


Mike Lawrence said...

Double kudos to Aalap, Matheson, and Chelsea! I still use my Karma tape from November even if it now has three jokes I've since gotten rid of). I think it's almost impossible to get the perfect tape, especially if you're doing a set with that as the main goal. I've never been satisfied and I don't think I ever will be.

Kent said...

My idea: get a good 15 minute set on tape and then cut it up into a couple of my best clips. Then I also post the entire set so bookers or other people who want to see a longer set can check it out. The best part is that I only need one good set to make it work.

PS: Did you pick up "Oh boy" from Normand? I know I accidentally pick up small verbal tics from other comics I spend a lot of time with.

Matt Ruby said...

Kent, good idea. Where do you do this? At your site? Or just via email? Curious to see how you present it.

I think I got "oh boy" on my own but I'm sure I've picked up other shit from Normand. I've caught myself saying "alright" or "take it easy" before. And I remember one time I riffed a line that PFT says verbatim on Impersonal. Damn subconscious!

Mo Diggs said...

Haha. Are you talking about "Oh folks" because I've said that and acknowledged the source onstage.

Matt Ruby said...

Mo, it was some variation on "I retract my entire argument."

Kent said...

Well, I said "idea" because that's all it is at this point. I'm going to record all my shows when I host at Helium in a couple of weeks and try to use one of those. I know that hosting is a tough spot to get a good tape from, but I've had good luck so far with the Helium weekend crowds.

Then I'll probably publicize the clips and bury the full set a little, but use it for bookers.

Mo Diggs said...

Jesus I have to stop listening to PFT

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