10 Comedians Who Have Gained Fame Through Digital Media

The rise to success in the entertainment industry is hard. For singers, actors, presenters etc., it can take years. However, our online comedy community is allowing for more and more people to have their chance at achieving their dream career.

It is easy to assume that everyone takes a similar route to become a successful comedian. However, the traditional route of touring the country and building up a catalogue of panel show appearances is no longer the way to reach success! Thanks to several online platforms, which rely on user generated content, comedians can reach new and international audiences in a number of ways. A completely new way of launching an online comedy career that has never before been available. From podcasts and social media to online comedy series, digital media is giving 21st century comics a platform like no other!

How Has Social Media Helped Online Comedy Careers?

The industry and dominating powers within that now have the responsibility to incorporate online comedy. We can see more entertainment television using online channels as a way of reaching a different audience. For example you can see it happening with the sketches from Saturday Night Live, on YouTube. A new format has been created where comedians are making their own way, rather than relying on television appearances. As long as you have access to a smartphone and the internet, you have the opportunity to gain an international following!

  1. Mo Gilligan

Mo Gilligan is a comedian who has been launched to success on social media. Posting videos to Instagram and Twitter, he quickly gained a dedicated following. Now, with over 146,000 followers on Instagram and 40,000 on Twitter, he has dates lined up until the end of November for his ‘Coupla Cans Tour.’ In his most well-known videos, Mo adopts the “Geezer” character. This particular video reached new volumes of views and caught the attention of the famous rappers Drake and Stormzy. Having the support of such influential people allowed Mo to reach a level of fame unimaginable without social media!

  1. Brian Limond (Limmy)

Though the Scottish comedian Limmy built up a following after his successful BBC sketch programme ‘Limmy’s Show,’ in more recent years his cult following has expanded thanks to Twitter, Vine and Instagram! When Vine was still active, Limmy’s videos got lots of international attention. His Twitter account – which has over 300K followers – is where fans interact with Limmy the most. His tweets, whether they are jokes, about politics or current events, always gain a lot interaction.

Though his television programme is now over, social media has played a large part in growing his popularity with young Scottish people. His comedic style is extremely popular and relates well to youth culture, he is definitely well loved in Scotland. Also, at the end of July this year, Limmy revealed his plans to create “Limmy’s Homemade Show!”

  1. Celeste Barber

Celeste Barber is another comedian who didn’t start out online but did gain success because of it! In 2015, the Australian comedian began the hashtag ‘#celestechallengeaccepted’ on Instagram. Celeste started to post parody photos of the ones singers, actresses and models were posting. Some of her most popular posts are mimics of posts by Naomi Campbell and Beyoncé. Since beginning to post the pictures over two years ago, the Celeste Barber has now reached 1.2 million followers on Instagram.

online comedy star celeste barber

Not only has Celeste now got an international following, the idea that initially started as a joke, has created even more attention about the issue of women’s portrayal in media. Also, Celeste Barber has a new role in a comedy called “The Letdown,” which will be aired on Netflix!

  1. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson

Another way digital media is helping the careers of comedians is through online comedy series. One of the most well-known American shows “Broad City” initially began online. In 2009, it’s creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer started the series, which is based off of their friendship and follows their attempts of being successful in New York.

The web series was initially on their YouTube channel, which gained popularity and the recognition Amy Poehler. The extremely successful comedian caught sight of what these young comedians were doing and helped them, now she is the producer of the “Broad City” television series on Comedy Central! The internet series has given its creators continuing success and a whole new level of recognition in the comedy world, now having their own television programme.

  1. James Veitch

James Veitch’s success is heavily down to the internet. His comedic content revolves around the digital world, with his most popular comedy material being about replying to spam emails. His shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have given him more recognition out with the online comedy world. Also, his TED talks on the have received millions of views! With his own YouTube series ‘Scamalot,’ which is featured on the Mashable channel and on the Mashable website’ also receives a continuing stream of views!

Because James Veitch uses the internet as the basis of his material, he is definitely a comedian that uses our tech obsessed society to his advantage. The release of his book ‘Dot Con,’ in 2015, talks more about the art of scamming and has received excellent reviews. A man making the most of the online comedy world, James Veitch is surely only going to grow in success!

  1. Colleen Ballinger

The character of MirandaSings all began online. Colleen Ballinger, the American comedian and woman behind Miranda Sings, created a YouTube channel in 2008! Miranda is an aspiring singer who covers songs in her videos, known for her dramatic amount of red lipstick and constantly moving eyebrows. Her background explains that she is a home-schooled teen who too confident in her singing abilities and hopes to be famous one day. After posting 500 videos in character as Miranda, Colleen Ballinger has actually achieved fame in real life.

Colleen Ballinger had no problem bringing Miranda into the mainstream. Initially she performed live comedy shows and toured around America which then grew bigger and bigger. Until Colleen was given her own MirandaSings Netflix series called “Haters Back Off.” The second series of which is due to come out this month! Gaining such a massive amount of success over the internet, Colleen Ballinger has created a whole knew life, all thanks to YouTube and other social media platforms.

  1. Bill Burr

Bill Burr is well known for his very successful podcast, ‘Monday Morning Podcast,’ which has been going since 2007. Discussing his life, current news and giving advice to listeners, Bill Burr’s style of comedy gives him an edge in the digital world. Bill Burr is the co-creator and stars in the animated Netflix series “F is for Family.” Covering themes similar to Bill Burr’s own stand up shows, “F is for Family” has been commissioned for a second series!

A comedian a very high level of success in the comedy industry, Bill Burr adopted elements of digital media early on in his career. A long time successful podcast and many guest roles on radio stations have given him the means to create a great comedy series that is completely online. It just shows how the digital world makes careers and allows people to have freedom to do what they want!

  1. Arron Crascall

After Vine was shut down in early 2017, one of its star comedians, Arron Crascall, had to switch platforms. His videos on Snapchat and Vine launched his career, a perfect example of how the comedy industry has been changed. In 2013 Arron Crascall joined Vine, soon to become one of the platform’s most successful comedians! His videos typically involve pranking the public.

Continuing after Vine, Arron still posts videos on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. With over 5.4 million followers on Facebook, Arron Crascall has a massive fan base. All of which is a result of social media! Having just recently released a book Arron Crascall, will surely continue to have success in the online comedy and physical world.

  1. Bo Burnham

Some would consider Bo Burnham the original internet comedian. In 2006, as a teenager he began posting his comedy songs on YouTube, now these songs have millions of views. His first video “My Whole Family,” has had over 9 million views alone! His posts on YouTube allowed him to then release albums these songs.

Bo has achieved a lot in the comedy industry! Including appearances in television programmes, nominations at the Edinburgh Fringe Awards, whilst continuing to do stand-up throughout. He released his most recent stand-up show “Make Happy,” in 2016, which gained a very positive reaction from fans and critics! After being such a success, Bo Burnham has gained a dedicated international fan base who will surely follow in whatever direction Bo will go!

  1. Mark & Isla Nelson

Finally, this last addition is something different. Mark Nelson and his 4-year-old daughter Isla have launched to success in this last year. When the Scottish comedian Mark Nelson began to film videos with his little girl Isla, asking her about current news events, it gained a lot of attention! Their videos are on BBC Scotland’s series, Short Stuff ‘News at 3’ and have received over 100 million views. The pair have more recently appeared on BBC’s The One Show with the same ‘News at 3’ videos. The father and daughter also have a large following on Mark Nelson’s Twitter and Facebook pages!

At the Scottish Comedy Awards that took place over summer, Isla managed to receive the prize for Best Comedy Actress! As well as their online ‘News at 3’ series receiving the best online comedy prize! If it wasn’t for the internet the pair would not have been able to gain such international success. Though Mark was already known in the comedy circuit, this level of success would have been impossible without social media.

The online world has given these comedians the chance of launching and expanding their careers. Each of them have gained a success that would not have been possible before! No matter what industry you want to succeed in, an online presence is extremely valuable.

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