How To Go Virtual For Comedians

Like other live performers, comedians have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. They’ve had to adjust to show cancellations and venue closings. Venue staff, tech crews, servers, bartenders, and anyone else supported by comedy shows are also now under financial duress.


But do not despair, comics have continued to reach audiences through live streaming services in an effort to practice their craft, earn money, help their field and provide audiences with much needed laughter. Mike Birbiglia’s Tip Your Waitstaff live stream raised money for waitstaff at closed venues. Birbiglia and the day’s guest would each select a regional comedy club to receive money and then spend the next hour running jokes. The virtual setting of this show paved the way for a more intimate, collaborative, and casual comedic expression. Audience members at virtual shows can participate through the comment section, providing an interactive substitute for audible laughter. Comedy Quarantined was a popular online event organized by comics to support staff at Hoover’s Stardome Comedy Club. Their profits were also used to offset losses caused by the coronavirus. Naked Comedy Club is another popular show; they stream on their Comedy Quarantine Instagram every weeknight. Comedic podcasts are flourishing as well. Shows like Entry Level and Best Friends explore the peculiar professional and interpersonal dynamics of our current moment. Check out this extensive list of quarantine comedy live shows for more inspiration.


The beauty of going virtual is that with the right outreach, you  can reach a wide, international audience. The Arts Oasis can be used to popularize your event. Comedians can submit their own events through our create a free listing page. You may also create events after signing up for an account on Oasis. With an account you can also create an artist profile and update it regularly with new events and links to your personal websites. Please let us know if you launch a show and we will try and review it for our blog, Artsfeed.


Best Practices for Going Virtual

A variety of platforms and services can be used to host these events. For example, one show used Zoom to record a performance that was then streamed through Twitch, with audience members commenting live and proposing suggestions to the hosts. Twitch is also popular because it allows audience members to make donations to the performer. So far, many of these events have been met with strong viewership and success. Tip: we suggest choosing an interesting location to live stream; comics so far have streamed while hiking in the forest and sitting in the bathtub. Unique strategies such as choosing an unconventional location to film, hosting intimate collabs with other comics, or focusing on an odd theme (one comic chose birdwatching) will allow you to stick out. Our favorite example: comedian John Hodgman has spent quarantine running Get Your Pets on Instagram live, a stream where he interviews people’s animal companions. 


What services can be helpful?

Standup comics have used several streaming platforms which include Zoom, Twitch, and Instagram/Facebook Live. These free services allow audience members to interact with standup comics or groups by sending messages in real time. Although this audience feedback is different from audible reactions at shows, it allows comics to gage their audience’ reaction and enjoy a more intimate feeling of community in isolation. The livestream abilities of these services will allow you to practice your comedy under the high stakes of a live audience so you can continue to grow as a performer, and read their comments as they are sent in real time.


We suggest using your social media platforms, such as Instagram, to build your network. Add accounts in your field of comedy, hold competitions amongst your followers, collaborate with other comics, or even livestream something random like a comedic cooking session. The more you show off your individual personality and style the more attention you will receive. The wider your social media presence (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc), and the more people you follow, the broader your audience will be (and your net chances of getting opportunities). 


Here are some streaming platforms along with tips on how to use them effectively. 


Google Meets 

  • Free and unlimited until September 2020

  • After September 2020, it will have a 60 minute time limit and a 100 participant limit

  • Available on iOS, Web, Chromebook, and Android

  • You’re able to admit/accept or deny people from entering your meeting 

  • You can send people a link to invite them to your meeting

  • 16 people can be displayed at once on the screen 

  • Alternative plans available for $10 and $20 a month 

  • Can share screen 

  • Recording available



  • Free version allows up to 100 participants and calls limited to 40 minutes

  • Alternative plans available for $14.99 and $19.99 a month 

  • Known security issues 

  • 49 people can be displayed at once on the screen

  • Can share screen 

  • Recording available 

  • You’re able to admit/accept or deny people from entering your meeting

  • Can change virtual background 

  • Offered “Webinars” And “Meetings” 

Webinars are when you expect audience to mostly just listen 

Meetings are when you want more back and forth interaction with everyone 



  • Offers majority of its services completely free

  • Available across Windows, iOS, Android and Mac

  • 50 participant limit 

  • Can share screen 

  • Recording available 

  • Some say it makes your computer run slower 

More helpful tips for how to host a digital event through a video conference platform can be found here. 


How to Receive Payments 

When someone is interested in tuning into you comedy show, you can give them your PayPal (ex., Venmo (ex. @NallaT) or Cash App (ex. $NallaT) handle for them to send payment to. Once you’ve received the payment, you can keep track of people who have signed up with a list and then send your Zoom or Google Meet link to only people who have signed up AND paid for the class. 


How to Sign Up for Venmo 

  1. Download one of our mobile apps: iOS & Android (Venmo does not have a Windows app)

  2. Open the app

  3. Choose your sign up method and create a secure password between 8 and 32 characters long 

  4. Verify your phone number and email address 

  5. Add and verify your bank account 


How to Sign Up for PayPal

  1. Go to 

  2. Click sign up button in upper right 

  3. Choose personal or business account 

  4. Fill out your information 

  5. Create password 

  6. Link your bank account info 

Here’s a helpful how-to video


How to Sign Up for Cash App 

  1. Search for Cash App in your device’s App Store

  2. Click the Cash App by Square Inc. app with a green picture with a money symbol. 

  3. If it isn’t downloading, you might not have enough Storage on your phone so you may need to delete other apps you are not using. 

  4. Open the app when it’s done downloading

  5. Enter information 

  6. It will send you confirmation code, enter this code 

  7. Click the circle button in the upper right corner 

  8. This will bring you to the page where you can add a profile picture and your name and your handle which you will give to people to send you money 

  9. Adjust info under the Privacy & Security and Notification tabs to your liking 

  10.  You must give people your handle name with a “$” in front of it always, so they can correctly locate you to send money 


Classes and events: 

Here are a few online comedy classes and events to check out with all that free time:

Caveat Youtube channel with standup content

The Groundlings  ($310 for 6 sessions)

Dynasty Typewriter for livestream events