The old adage/joke tells us that the most important thing in comedy is…wait for it…wait for it…timing. Well, that’s what they told us then. Talk to just about anyone in the funny business these days and they’ll all eventually say how much you need to promote yourself to get ahead (and yes, they often cite Dane Cook and his 2 million MySpace friends as the prime example). We’re barely a week into 2008 and already we can see a few examples of comedians pulling out the stops — including one who also pulled back the curtain — so we can all see just how screwed up show bidness can get.

Example #1: Mark Malkoff "moves" into a New Jersey IKEA while his two-bedroom Queens apartment is getting fumigated. I’d like a two-bedroom apartment. Instead, I get to see Malkoff get free nationwide press and a link to his site documenting his IKEA living. Malkoff works as the audience coordinator for The Colbert Report and previously got publicity for a film documenting his visits to all of the Manhattan Starbucks in a day, 171 Starbucks.

Example #2: Amy Barkowsky vows to go without her cell phone for 60 whole days!!! I mean, really, has 10 years changed our society that much? Back then, I’d gone without my cell phone for my entire life. Anyhowserhoosiers. She not only has a site about her harrowing experience, but also ongoing coverage in the New York Daily News, which has garnered her even more exposure in print and TV. Egads.

Example #3: Saved the best for last here. Dan Bialek not only ranted about the industry on Whip It Out Comedy yesterday, he also exposed what Internet obsessives already knew, that anything — any contest, any ranking — that’s based on hit counts can be manipulated and misled. Here is the video he put on YouTube today about how anyone can be the #1 comedian on MySpace, since he did it himself, until yesterday when MySpace deleted his account.