A Beginner’s Guide to Internet Comedy: Late Night Sets and Comedy News


The rise of the internet has played a critical role in the current comedy boom. Between the rise of video sketches on YouTube,  podcast networks like Nerdist Industries, Earwolf, and the Deathsquad network, and the emergence of Twitter as a place for comedy writers to prove their worth, the internet has been the force that’s brought comedy back to such high levels of popularity. If you’re looking to get your comedy fix online, you can start with catching up on Late Night sets and staying up to date with the latest comedy news.

Late Night Sets

Unfortunately, not every late night show makes it easy to find clips from stand-ups. CBS’s the Late Show with David Letterman and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson have lots of incredibly talented comics on all the time, but haven’t made use of the internet in a way that makes those clips easy to access. Luckily, NBC’s late night shows, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, have pages dedicated to comics’ appearances, and TBS’s CONAN has probably the most comprehensive database of stand-up sets of any show currently on the air.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – Late night’s booking department has given lots of young comics one of their earlier TV credits and they don’t shy away from giving alt-ier comics a chance to impress. For instance, they featured a wildly unconventional, yet incredibly impressive set from Nick Vatterott last year. The show also brings in established veterans like Bob Marley and Dom Irrera, and in recent months have even had two of the biggest names in the business on the show, with sets from Jerry Seinfeld and Russell Peters.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno – The Tonight Show doesn’t have comics on as frequently as in the days when Johnny Carson was hosting, but from time to time they still feature great comics on the show. The Tonight Show tends not to take as big of risks as a show like CONAN, generally sticking to clubbier, reliable acts like Dan Cummings and Kathleen Madigan.

CONAN – CONAN’s booking department is probably the most in-line with the tastes of audience in Los Angeles and New York. If you need somewhere to start, Emily Heller had an incredible set this past March with huge consistent laughs throughout. CONAN has also been willing to let some weird stuff happen on his show, gambles which have paid off big time. You might remember when Rory Scovel and Jon Dore did their infamous dueling sets, and last winter they came up with this messy masterpiece. Both Dore and Scovel also had incredible solo sets. Check out  Jon’s here and Rory’s here.


Comedy News

Like the rest of the entertainment industry, the news-cycle for comedy is 24/7. There’s a pretty clear oligarchy in the comedy news field, and these three sites hold most of the power.

Splitsider.com – With a more blog-like feel, Splitsider has a friendly, comedy-nerd-heavy vibe. It’s clearly a site by comedy fans for comedy fans. There’s an enthusiasm in the writing, no matter the topic, and the site largely serves to let its readers know about the best new clips from various shows, be they segments on the Colbert Report or a particularly stand-out Late Night Set. The site also has features like the Vine 5 Film Festival and Follow Friday to keep you up to date on comics who are utilizing social media to the best of their abilities.Probably the best part of Splitsider is their ability to consistently land interviews with interesting comedy minds, which make for easy, enjoyable, back-and-forth reads that really capture the voice of the interviewee in a way that any comedy fan will enjoy.

The AV Club – The Onion’s sister paper certainly has a more professional polish than Laughspin and Splitsider, coming off more like an online newspaper than a blog. The AV Club often reviews movies, tv shows, and comedy specials with a critical eye that typically isn’t reserved for comedic content.  With editorials, video clips, and more it’s a site you can definitely lose yourself in for a couple of hours if you’re not careful.

Laughspin.com – Laughspin, formerly Punchline Magazine, is a reliable source for all up-to-date comedy news, and like the other sites featured in this section holds reviews, news items, and the top clips from TV shows and sketch group around the internet. They have a diligent staff, constantly putting out new items, and their article categorization makes it easy for you to find whatever your looking for in a few simple clicks.