Reasons Why Comedians Prefer YouTube Over TV Networks

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YouTubers are multiplying by the minute. It’s unsurprising, not even a bit – it is a lucrative career. Even people who are already famous have started their YouTube channels. Gordon Ramsay, for example, has one.

Now, there’s a trend that’s becoming more and more obvious. Comedians are now choosing YouTube over TV networks. What pushed them to do that? Does YouTubing have advantages every comedian should know about? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at that.

Reasons Why Comedians Prefer YouTube Over TV Networks

Pat Tomasulo Puts His Special on YouTube

Pat Tomasulo is a WGN Morning News sports anchor and a Chicago-based comedian. He created a YouTube channel years ago, but it was not doing that great. The first few videos did great; they have thousands of views. Then, the channel “died.”

Pat Tomasulo kept uploading podcast episodes, but they averaged around 500 views only. Even the short-form videos he uploads on YouTube Shorts don’t reach even a thousand views.

So, why would he upload his special to the platform? Surprisingly, the video did well. At the time of this writing, it has more than 176,000 views.

Tomasulo was not the first to do it – he’s following a trend. Tomasulo joked about his rationale for putting the special on YouTube. He said Netflix did not reply to any of his emails. Suppose Netflix showed even the slightest interest. “I would have made everyone pay to see this special,” Tomasulo added.

On a more serious note, Tomasulo said he was just following the trend. It paid his fellow comedians handsomely. At the same time, it gave comedy audiences easy and free access to the comedian’s content. It’s a win-win situation.

Pat Tomasulo says it is where business is heading right now. Big and up-and-coming comedians alike are uploading their specials to YouTube. Tomasulo believes that’s what comedy fans expect now. And it’s not a bad thing. He says it paid off since many people discovered his comedy thanks to the videos he uploaded on social media.

Hearing Feedback

Tomasulo said YouTubing has a big advantage over relying on TV networks or streaming services. With the latter two, you don’t know how people feel about your work. You may need to search your name on Twitter or Facebook to see that. And it’s not guaranteed you’ll find someone commenting about your work.

On the other hand, there’s a comment section on YouTube. And it’s attached to the video itself. That makes it easier for people to say something about it. Furthermore, it allows content creators to assess their works more easily.

Mark Normand

As repeatedly said above, Pat Tomasulo was not the only comedian to post his special on YouTube. Stand-up comedian Mark Norman is one of them. Months into the pandemic, he posted his special “Out to Lunch.” 

Mark Normand said he’s been “trying to sell this hour.” He’s been doing it all over the road for years. But that’s the problem. It was getting too repetitive; think of the Barden Bellas in the first Pitch Perfect movie.

So, Normand said the people who see him say, “We saw this exact same hour basically a year ago.” Then they leave. That embarrassed him.

Reasons Why Comedians Prefer YouTube Over TV Networks

Normand thought of a solution. He’ll sell the hour to Netflix, Amazon, or HBO. That way, many people would hear those jokes without him repeating the hour every year. Sadly, it did not work out. “I’m not famous; I’ve got no juice, so no one’s buying it, and rightfully so,” said Normand.

Mark Normand did not lose hope. He thought if he recorded it and produced a high-quality video, streaming services would be more likely to buy it. They don’t need to do anything aside from putting the special on air. Sadly, they still did not buy it.

The video was not bad – it’s actually very good. Normand thought it would be a waste if no one would see it. Since no one was buying it, he decided to upload it to YouTube. Normand was bummed, mainly because he underestimated YouTube. The video went very well. Guess how many views it has now. It’s over 10 million!

Mission Failed Successfully

Mark Normand said it was a failure, but he was glad he failed. The comedian says he is so glad Netflix did not buy the hour. Because of that, he owns the video he made.

Normand says an artist could make hundreds of thousands on Netflix. That would have been exciting. But he is still happy even if he’s not making as much. Why? Because full ownership of the video allows him to chop it and share it easily.

Additionally, Normand’s fans think they discovered him. That brings him closer to his fans. “So it kind of worked out in the end,” Normand said.

Now, Mark Normand has booked more shows and sold more tickets. He also played bigger venues. And he also got more social media followers, all thanks to the release of his special on YouTube.

What’s Happening

The trend started taking off during the pandemic. Comedy bars are closed because of lockdowns. So, stand-up comedians need a new way to make money. YouTube allowed them to continue their work without leaving their homes. Also, it provided them with a wider reach.

People’s moods were also down because of the global health crisis. Everything is stressing them out. They need something to make them laugh. 

Reasons Why Comedians Prefer YouTube Over TV Networks

Put two and two together to know why the trend was born. 

Now, comedians have discovered how wonderful of a tool YouTube is for them. And as Pat Tomasulo said, the audience now expects them to upload videos on YouTube.

That said, you can expect comedians’ specials to be uploaded to YouTube even after the pandemic ends.


Comedians prefer YouTube over TV networks because it makes things easier. They have full ownership of the video, so they can do whatever they want to do with it. YouTube also allows them to connect with their fans, speeding up feedback collection. 

Date: March 14, 2023 / Categories: YouTube, / Author: michb


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