Launched to the masses at the start of the year, Facebook Live has quickly transformed into a global live-streaming phenomenon. The social network’s strategy has been to pour millions of dollars into partnerships with media companies and celebs to create a rich variety of content that can rival web giants such as YouTube.
Unlike Google’s video platform, however, Facebook Live is all about real-time interactions. And nobody is pushing the comic boundaries of fan engagement on the platform quite like comedians. From Hollywood a-listers to Internet celebrities, Facebook Live is a hub of humorous activity. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that comics are fearlessly taking to the live-streaming feature. After all, their careers are built around live performances, onstage, in front of large crowds.
Whether or not Facebook is using financial incentives to encourage comedians to utilize its platform remains unclear (the company told us that it does not comment on its specific paid partners). Whatever the reason, it’s a great move for Facebook and comedians.
Thanks to Facebook’s constant updates, Live video offers an immersive viewing experience in its own right. All you have to do in order to start watching is like a Facebook page, and you’ll be notified every time it goes live. But not every comedian has a Facebook Live presence, which is why we’ve compiled this list of the most frequent (and funniest) live-streamers.
As Facebook continues to invest its resources into video content on its platform — which it believes could one day be purely visual — now is the ideal time to tune in.
Hollywood’s most bankable comedy star, Hart is reportedly a Facebook Live paid partner, and was an early adopter of the medium. The comedian recently utilized Facebook’s live-streaming tool to flip the camera on reporters during a press interview alongside his Central Intelligence co-star Dwayne Johnson. The result turned an otherwise by-the-numbers junket into a spontaneous, profanity-laden laugh riot. Viewers were consequently treated to footage that would never have made it on to television. Hart is also not afraid to switch on the live-stream at home, even in the bedroom. “We all can be cool in a picture, but I think you come off very interesting when you’re not afraid to be yourself in that live moment,” Hart told Yahoo earlier this year.
What to expect: Behind the scenes clips from his promo tours, and films, hilariously intimate live-streams, send-ups of his co-stars and fellow celebs on the red carpet.
The Emmy-winning writer and actress has achieved a critical and commercial acclaim that her counterparts would kill for. During her recent show at Madison Square Garden, Schumer took to Facebook Live to announce that she would be hitting the road on a world tour. Despite keeping relatively quiet on the service until now, you can be sure she’ll air plenty of behind-the-scenes action, and onstage footage, from her globe-spanning trip.
What to expect: Backstage antics from her arena tour, a tongue-in-cheek take on her celeb lifestyle, and maybe some cameos from her a-list friends along the way.
Dope Queens (Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson)
Daily Show alumni Jessica Williams and fellow comedian Phoebe Robinson broke the glass ceiling of comedy podcasts with their show 2 Dope Queens. The two women bring that same brand of pop-culture infused, anecdotal humor to their stand-up routines, which have been given the live-streaming treatment on a few occasions. Earlier this month, they went live on Facebook with surprise guest Ilana Glazer (writer and star of Broad City). The connection with Comedy Central’s hit show goes beyond Glazer, (who also produces Robinson’s other podcast Sooo Many White Guys), with Williams soon to pair up with Broad City writer Naomi Ekperigin on her own original TV series.
What to expect: Extensive live-streams from their stand-up shows, live-streams of their podcast, plenty of Ilana Glazer.
Life off-stage is a recurring theme in stand-up comic Jo Koy’s Facebook Live streams. His broadcasts have included clips from his road trip to Canada, and several episodes of his podcast The Koy Pond, including special guests such as rapper and presenter Chanel West Coast, and singer Cassie. Fatherhood plays a big part in Koy’s comedy, and his Facebook Live videos often include his teenage son. He even live-streamed a family reunion earlier this month from Las Vegas.
What to expect: Guest stars including family and famous friends, live-streams of Koy’s podcast, a lot of love for his Tesla Model X.
Vine sensation Logan Paul was nabbed by Facebook (sorry, hired to produce “experimental content”) with a six-figure deal as part of its media blitz to promote Facebook Live. Unless you’re a millennial, you may not have heard of Paul, but he actually has a bigger Facebook following than most of the people on this list — including the a-listers. A prolific streamer, he uses live-streams to keep fans updated on his globe-trotting adventures, bringing the same energy to his broadcasts that made him a breakout internet star. He can be seen streaming from the Great Wall of China one moment, and prankingPokémon Go enthusiasts in Central Park the next.
What to expect: YouTube-style stunts, constant updates, hyperactive comedy.
A YouTube star who made the transition to television, Rachel Bloom is on the run of her life. The Golden Globe winning actress, who plays the lead in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (which she also writes), has a freewheeling approach to live-streaming. A recent live broadcast from the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland started with Bloom joking about how she gets ready for a show (disclaimer: it involves spending a fair amount of time on the toilet) and continued well into her onstage performance. Fans of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won’t be surprised to hear that Bloom is prone to bursting into song during her videos, with hilarious consequences.
What to expect: A frank, behind-the-scenes look at the life of a stand-up, live-streams of shows, a penchant for Broadway-style singing and dancing.
Creator and star of The Jim Gaffigan Show, Gaffigan brings his comic take on domestic life to Facebook Live, often with the aid of his wife. The comedian also has a genuine rapport with fans, and encourages live chats on his Facebook page. His latest live-streaming masterstroke involved broadcasting a domestic disagreement with his wife Jeannie — or “chargergate” as she amusingly termed it. In the clip, the comedian tries to convince his wife to plug in the charger to his laptop, in front of a live audience of thousands of viewers. It all makes for an unexpectedly funny scenario that shows just how much Gaffigan’s comedy is inspired by his real life.
What to expect: Insightful, fan-led discussions of The Jim Gaffigan Show, hilarious squabbles with his wife, food, family, and fatherhood.
Feimster co-stars in Hulu’s The Mindy Project, before which she served as a writer and performer on Chelsea Handler’s talk show Chelsea Lately. The stand-up has broadcasted live from the Georgia leg of her tour, and (unlike her contemporaries) she takes a more hands-on approach to live-streaming during performances. In May, she switched on the broadcast during her performance at Mount Saint Mary College, and even integrated the crowd into her subsequent live chat.
What to expect: post-show streams from the stage, cameos from her mother, humorous tales from her time on the road.
Mary Lynn Rajskub
Arguably better known for her dramatic roles, you may recognize Rajskub as Chloe from 24 or maybe you caught her on the critically acclaimed series The Girlfriend Experience. The comedian shows her lighter side on Facebook Live, often broadcasting from backstage (with friends and audience members) after a performance, or between shows. In her own words, “I was on 24 but I’ve been doing stand-up for awhile and 24 wasn’t that funny so it’s confusing, I get it.” With reports that her one-woman show 24 Hours With Mary Lynn Rajskub is being adapted for television, that may not be the case for much longer.
What to expect: Updates on her upcoming performances, cameos from friends and fans, plenty of behind-the-scenes footage.
Winner of season six of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Shlesinger uses Facebook Live to host chats that often turn out to be as revealing as her live shows. A particularly funny live-stream started with the comic putting her own, chipmunk-voiced, spin on Drake’s Hotline Bling. She then proceeded to remove her makeup in the bathroom, with her viewers offering up pre-bedtime beauty tips. Users even commented on the strange allure of tuning into a live broadcast only to see their favorite comedian abruptly start flossing. The same live-stream saw her announce her own ABC digital show Forever 31. Shlesinger also streamed an episode of her podcast on Facebook Live for the first time ever at the Just for Laughs festival.
What to expect: A reliable stream of updates, off-the-cuff interactions, candid videos streamed between shows.
- The best stand-up comedy on Netflix right now
- The best Amazon Original movies
- The Mandalorian season 2: Everything we know about the Disney+ series’ return
- Facebook’s ongoing updates, robot dog doctors, and more | Digital Trends Live
- The best podcasts of 2020