Is “Conan” the only stand-up TV credit that matters most now?

There are so many places to see stand-up comedy on TV and online during this digital comedy boom, that it certainly has become difficult to know what credits even matter any longer.

As Grant Pardee notes in a piece today for Paste Magazine:

“It was funny to see Madonna perform stand-up on The Tonight Show last Thursday—not because of the set itself, but because you couldn’t ask for a clearer symbol of the status of stand-up in late night: The Tonight Show, once a breaking ground for emerging comedians, would rather have a celebrity goofing around than book a legitimate, if lesser-known, comic. Of course, one of those is far more likely to grab BuzzFeed headlines and YouTube clicks the next day.”

We’re no longer living in a world in which Johnny Carson’s thumbs up makes or breaks a stand-up comedian’s career.

Perhaps nobody has that kind of legitimacy in 2015, that ability to put a singular stamp of approval on you that sets you for a lifetime of joke-telling.

But at least Conan O’Brien still dedicates a consistent portion of his late-night TBS show to stand-up. In Pardee’s piece, “Conan O’Brien: Stand-up’s Best Friend in Late Night,” he speaks with Conan comedy booker J.P. Buck as well as past Conan performers Solomon Georgio, Adam Cayton-Holland, Cristela Alonzo, Aparna Nancherla, Rory Scovel, Jon Dore, Allen Strickland Williams, and Jackie Kashian. Also mentioned: Deon Cole, Marc Maron, Tig Notaro, Chris Fairbanks, Pete Holmes, Joe Zimmerman, Amy Schumer and Bill Burr.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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