Rhys James: ‘Being funny on social media is a comedian’s duty’

Now you see meme: Rhys James.

When the Guardian approached me and asked me to write an article on what it’s like to be a comedian on social media, I ignored it. The email they had sent was well over 140 characters and I found it too difficult to digest. In order to even get through it I had to record myself reading it aloud in a series of Snapchats and watch them back. Some of it was difficult to decipher, as the sound effect of a dog’s tongue every time I opened my mouth muffled some of the words but, from what I remember, they wanted to know if being funny online was part of a comedian’s job, and if there’s a pressure to live up to the expectations of everyone with an internet connection.

The answer is simple. Being funny on social media is not a comedian’s job, it’s their duty. We’re not artists any more. We’re meme conduits. Gif deliverers. There is no longer any value in laughter. Retweets are our only currency.

It is with great sadness, then, that I fire up my iMacintosh G3 every day to see some comedians tweeting opinions instead of fail videos. To see some comedians telling the followings they built from being funny what their political views are. To see some selfishly spreading information about issues of social significance, instead of sharing the kind of pithy content audiences are used to forking out £30 a night for, completely free of charge, constantly, every day.

Rhys James: in the pink.
Rhys James: in the pink. Photograph: PR

Before any comedian tries to argue, I must stress I will not change my mind on this. Changing your mind on the internet is unforgivable and something no one is allowed to do. You tweeted you like Frubes in 2009? You better not get caught slagging off lunchbox yoghurt tubes in 2016, you hypocrite. On the internet, your views are your views for ever, regardless of societal change.

The best way to not offend anyone on Twitter is to delete your account. Even then you run the risk of offending Milo Yiannopoulos, who recently had his account deleted. The fact you even have that choice is an honour. Check your privilege. Even if you’re being ironic and you explain that critics might’ve had a sense of humour bypass, should you really be joking about bypasses? Or senses? Some people are blind. Some can’t smell. Others have no sense of taste. (Those ones are on GooglePlus.)

If you delve deep enough into the internet superhighway you might stumble on a movie-talkie website called YouTubes. This is where spoken word artists will become the human manifestation of think-pieces and faux-passionately tell you we all need to ‘log off’ so we can reconnect as people, in person, face to face, in the real world. They’ll then demand you like their video, subscribe to their channel and share it on Pinterest or something. They’re wrong. The real world is too dangerous. You can’t get punched in an @reply. Unless the person has tweeted a reply to your joke which explains your joke back to you, in which case you will be forced to smack yourself in the face until you draw blood.

It’s not just about tweeting. Retweeting is also vital. Play the game! You retweet my back, I’ll quote tweet yours. In summary, if you want to be a successful Twitter comedian, which wasn’t even the question posed by the Guardian, you’ve got to log out of your feelings and log into your meme-catalogue. And don’t, under any circumstances, post anything on the internet containing a spelling mistak.

[Source:- The Guardian]