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SACRAMENTO, CA - As comedy star Conan O'Brien prepares for his live show at Memorial Auditorium Thursday night, a local website wants to make Sacramento "center stage" for all things funny. The web master for SacramentoComedy.Com, Steve Bloom, has introduced comedy fans in Sacramento to new talent and veteran artists. The numbers Facebook and Twitter show his online community is growing.
Bloom explains how he's building his online community in this e-mail interview.
News10: First, congrats on reaching 1,500 fans on Facebook! So, when did you decide to make SacramentoComedy.Com "Sacramento's official source for all things comedy in Sacramento"? Why?
Bloom: Thank you! Hitting 1,500 fans in less than 6 months is the ultimate validation that people love to laugh and we are we are a primary source of information on the Sacramento comedy scene. We also just recently hit over 1,600 followers on Twitter as well.
I retired from my management position in telecom in June 2009 and was looking for a way to work online so I could spend more time with my wife and my children who live in Oregon. While I was looking, I started a "Meetup" group for people who wanted to go to comedy shows as a group. I have always loved stand up comedy and for over 8 years, I ran a 'once a week' comedy show in Modesto, Tracy and Stockton. Today, the SacramentoComedy Lovers group has over 200 members and we have attended over 32 events over the last 9 months. Because it was my responsibility to schedule shows for us to attend, I got to know many of the local venues and local comedians.
I was having coffee on day with a very bright, local marketing consultant named Alejandro Reyes, and he asked me the golden question: "What is your passion?" When I told him I loved stand up comedy and my history, he grabbed my computer, did a search on the web address SacramentoComedy.Com and found that it had just became available. "Dude, this is what you have to do," was all he had to say.
The rest is history. I launched SacramentoComedy.Com in it's current format (it was a blog for the first 3 weeks) on September 1, 2009 and now, as a full featured comedy based online magazine, we report on every comedy venue in town. Sacramento is truly a comedy 'Mecca' and you can see live stand up comedy in Sacramento with an average of 6 - 12 different headliners each week, 7 days a week.
News10: Why is Sacramento an ideal venue for comedians, both upcoming talent and veteran stage performers?
Bloom: The first thing that you notice is the ample venues and clubs that embrace comedy either on a full-time or part-time basis. There are 3 full time comedy clubs, 2 improv focused clubs and a growing number of "one nighter" clubs that do stand up comedy on a set night of the week. Then add to that the larger venues like Arco Arena, The Crest Theater, Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and Sacramento State that attract the superstar talent and you have a stage for every level. So, no matter what the level (or style) of talent, there is a venue just the right size available.
Sacramento is an ideal venue for upcoming talent for many reasons. There is a large community of local comedians that perform often and support each other here. There are open mics for those just starting off, showcases where the good comedians are invited to perform and comedy competitions that allow enough friendly competition to force those that are serious about the craft to stretch their limits. And the chance to be noticed by the full time clubs and be brought through the ranks if you are a strong performer. Finally, being so close to San Francisco has it's advantages in that there is a lively comedy scene there that they can participate in as well.
News10: What other social media tools (blogging, Foursquare, Facebook, etc.) do you use to keep up with comedy/show business trends, Twitter followers and blog fans? Why?
Bloom: We use social media to entertain, but primarily to let people know what local comedy events and news is going on. At SacramentoComedy.Com, we work very hard to provide killer interviews of famous comedians, provide local and national comedy news but we also maintain a complete and comprehensive calendar of events and comedian profiles. Additionally, we also do a small amount of blogging. Because we understand how busy people are, we use social media, Facebook & Twitter mostly, to let comedy fans know when and what is going on so they don't have to do the research. So far we have avoided the need to let people know our exact GPS location!
Does having an iPhone App qualify as social media? We just released the SacComedy iPhone App to feed our fans the content of our site directly to their iPhone, iTouch or iPad.
News10: How has social media changed show business in Sacramento and beyond? Who are your favorite comedian tweeters?
Bloom: The success of social media has allowed performers to directly communicate with those people who are fans, potential fans and supporters. It has taken the conversation down to an 'approachable' level where the fan now has a conduit to talk directly to the performer as well as letting their friends know. Word of mouth at the speed of the internet. It also has become an inexpensive way for the performers to promote their shows and merchandise.
Wow, my favorite tweeters? It is hard to say because each takes a different approach to their tweets. I do like Paula Poundstone's tweets. Local comedians Ngaio Bealum (@ngaio420) and Keith Lowell Jensen (@keithlowell) are very funny. These comics are all observational and smart. But my very favorite that makes me laugh most all of the time is Darren Carter. He uploads pictures he takes while traveling of some very absurd things, funny signs and funny people. I would suggest you follow him at Twitter.Com/DarrenCarter. Tell him I sent you!
Blog by Kris Vera-Phillips, email@example.com