In 2011 Dr Sharon Lockyer and her colleague Lynn Myers at Brunel University, undertook research into understanding live stand-up comedy from an audience perspective. The project consisted of both an online survey and a series of semi-structured qualitative interviews with stand-up comedy audiences. In this article Dr Lockyer reports on the five main themes that were identified in the semi-structured interview responses. This article was first published in JAM (Journal of Arts Marketing) in January 2014.
The interviews specifically examined how stand-up comedy audiences make sense of their stand-up comedy attendance, the motivations for attending live stand-up comedy and the appeal of attending live stand-up comedy. Findings suggest that live stand-up comedy entices audiences and encourages them to attend for a number of particular aesthetic, practical and social reasons that operate on two different levels. These are the public/social level (as an audience member) and the private level (as an individual).