I’ve been fascinated by the comedy show Kill Tony as of late.
First, the show’s host, Tony Hincliffe, comes from my neck of the woods in Ohio.
But there are several other reasons this show fascinates me.
For some background, if you’ve never watched Kill Tony, it’s a weekly live comedy show hosted in Joe Rogan’s comedy club in Austin, Texas. Joe recently told Tony on an episode of JRE that Kill Tony is not only the hub of the comedy scene in Austin, but also in America, which also means the world.
What would make Joe Rogan say something like that (besides the fact that it’s a backhanded plug for his comedy club)?
Well, here’s the gist of Kill Tony:
They shoot full two hour-ish episodes once a week. Throughout the course of the night, Tony invites some well-known comedians to co-host the show with him. Tony also enlists the help of “The Regulars” who are not as famous of comedians, but they’ve created fame for themselves within the Kill Tony fanbase and show. And then, here’s the kicker:
Every willing audience member enters their name into a hat. If your name gets picked, then you get to come up on stage and give your best 60 seconds of stand-up, while the hosts critique and roast you.
Maybe you’re starting to see why this show is so fascinating to me from a business perspective:
The show airs weekly on the Kill Tony website and on YouTube for free. YouTube has killed Comedy Central because the FTC makes Comedy Central corny as all hell. Not to mention, comedy is always better served in a decentralized style than, say, an Amy Schumer special where you don’t laugh the entire time.
Their marketing engine is powerful and something to study too:
They create YouTube Shorts out the wazoo. In fact, that’s how I first even discovered Kill Tony. (Lesson in there)
Every so often, they’ll have regulars battle it out on stage to see who’s funnier… and the funnier comedian gets eternal regularship on the show.
And they’ve even started taking the Kill Tony experience on the road—selling out arenas in a variety of cities to deliver this comedy experience to more people.
Long story short, they make a ton of moolah from my outsider’s perspective. And it’s only gonna grow: In the world of YouTube Shorts, TikToks, and an obsession over content creation, the comedian has the most to gain because they’re both funny and authentic.
(Another lesson in there)
But the most fascinating piece of this is Tony’s role in all of this.
Yes, he’s friends with a bunch of the funniest and most influential comedians.
Yes, his comeback game is one of the best you’ll ever see.
And yes, almost everyone makes a gay joke about Tony because he has a feminine sounding voice.
But Tony rarely does stand-up himself. I don’t know if Tony has ever had a special - I’m sure he has before, but I’ve never watched it and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tony wasn’t half as funny in a true stand-up situation as he is as the host on Kill Tony.
Despite Tony’s lack of stand-up prowess, he’s built the hub of stand-up comedy in America.
Because it ain’t what you know, it’s who you know.
He knows Joe, which gives him a venue to host this show (and YouTube makes it possible to be as funny and offensive as possible, something he wouldn’t have been able to get away with even 10 years ago).
He knows all the most famous comedians.
And he also uses Kill Tony as a way to discover the next up-and-coming comedian.
All of this creates content for Kill Tony… and Tony himself isn’t even involved in much of the content creation.
Several lessons you can gather from watching the show and studying comedians.
They’re the best at creating content for a reason.
If you need help sending profitable and entertaining emails—we’re down deep in the entertainment age after all—hit reply, and let’s chat.