What Comedy Central Records looks for in a comedian

An interview with Comedy Central Records' Founder/Vice President Jack Vaughn [thx OE]. He's asked, "How do you discover talent?"

Ultimately, there are basically two criteria for who we sign to the label:

1. You have to be really funny.
2. You have to have a distinctive voice or point of view.

That’s it. Things like having a strong following or being on TV or in movies is great, but those two criteria are the main things we look for.

And he also discusses the recording process.

One of the quirks of this genre is that the audience tends to be the most important part of the recording, and how the audience reacts can drastically change how the jokes are perceived by the listener. Jokes seem funnier the harder people are laughing at them — this is the reason sitcoms customarily use laugh tracks — which may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised just how important it is.

By the time of the album recording, the comic has gotten so good at doing the material that the differences in delivery among the sets are usually minimal. But the difference between an intelligent, raucous audience in a packed room, and a sober one in a half-empty club is staggering. We’ll re-record shows if the audience isn’t good enough.

I hadn't really realized that CCR almost singlehandedly brought comedy albums, which hadn’t sold much since the late seventies/early eighties, back into vogue.

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