With live venues closed for the foreseeable future, many comedians are turning to online platforms instead - and the results are remarkably varied, so far, from streamed singalongs to language schools, kitchen stand-up to virtual chat shows.
For those performers who are still planning an online show, we've gathered words of wisdom from performers making a diverse array of online content, and who've learned their own lessons along the way. Sometimes one simple change can be incredibly effective.
Part 3: The Language Lecturer and Stand-Up Streamer, Yuriko Kotani and Chris Purchase
A busy comic and promoter, Chris Purchase quickly adapted to the live shutdown by creating a successful weekly stand-up show, the Sunday-night Live from his Dining Room, which gets a sizeable audience every Sunday evening.
Here are Purchase's suggestions:
1. I'd say that if you're live-streaming comedy you need to be stood up in front of a camera that's not a webcam built into your computer. We've all got phones that have amazing cameras and you can easily stream direct from them to multiple platforms using a combination of apps and hosting services (Streamlabs, Castr.io, Restream etc). That way it feels like a gig. Sat in front of a computer talking to a low-quality webcam makes it feel like the audience is watching a video from an iCloud leak.
2. Lighting is also important. I've got a couple of cheap LED floodlights, you can get them online for £6 and you only need one. Put it to the side of the camera about six feet from you so you're well lit. Makes all the difference.
3. Also enjoy it for what it is, it's not going to be the same as a live gig but you're performing to an audience who are excited to watch you. You've already won them over so enjoy performing to them.
Yuriko Kotani made an excellent Edinburgh Fringe debut last year with Somosomo, and launched a unique show during lockdown. In Learning at Lunchtime she teaches Japanese to viewers and comedy guests: it's home education and home entertainment, combined.
Here are Kotani's live-streaming lessons:
1. I make sure the background is simple and plain. I sit right in front of the wall (radiator is in the shot, because I love radiator), and I put the things on the wall or desk only necessary for the show.
2. And I make sure to let the household know you're doing live streaming, as once I was being a guest on a podcast when the kitchen started being used, and I could hear nonstop carrots chopping sound. It made me very distracted. And hungry.
3. I am now trying to see the live chats and comment on them while streaming because it's a part of the fun. It was really difficult at the beginning, because I thought I shouldn't look anywhere else but at the camera. Now I'm learning. Hopefully I will become good at it.
4. It's a new thing, trial-and-error. I'll try to be adaptable and change things as it goes. So next week, I might be doing the Japanese lesson show in the room with lots of random stuff around - and cucumber chopping noises in the background.