Kyle Kinane Is Still Impersonating Elon Musk on Twitter, and He Has A Message from the President
After the disastrous launch of Twitter Blue led to the creation and subsequent banning of countless parody accounts, it’s nice to see that one comedian is keeping the spirit of Kathy Griffin alive by continuing to post comedic disinformation under the handle “Elon Musk (for serious im totally him).” Illinois’ own Kyle Kinane remains unbowed and unbanned as he dons the Twitter CEO’s name, Jeff Bezos’ profile picture and a blue checkmark on his page.
Yesterday night, Musk, and definitely not Kinane, shared some shocking news straight from the president’s mouth that will surely upend the online comedy ecosystem — Twitter’s new owner revealed that crowd work will no longer be permitted among New York comedians. We’re still waiting to hear an opinion from a certain bearded Comedy Central mainstay, as only Musk seems to be talking about this so far.
This tweet is a not-so-subtle dig at an entire genre of comics who have been exponentially growing their online presence by constantly posting clips of crowd work from their shows. It’s sadly become the standard for online comedians to find a content formula that breaks the algorithm and spam Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Reddit with countless repetitions of the same format.
In fairness, posting short, digestible, portrait-mode clips of crowd work is by far the most effective way for a comedian to dominate the digital landscape in 2022 — Andrew Schulz, whom Vulture called “your brother-in-law’s favorite comedian,” is the uncontested king of this trend, having built an online empire off of these viral videos. Schulz, a New York-based stand-up, boasts millions of followers across multiple YouTube channels, podcasts and social media accounts, and he recently self-produced a special that grossed more than $1 million in sales independent of any streaming service.
The popularity of these bite-sized bits of off-the-cuff comedy has fundamentally changed the medium of stand-up as more and more veterans start to recognize the value of staying relevant in the fight to control the market for 15-to-45-second-long video content. Established names like Jessica Kirson and Sam Morril have changed the construction of their sets to include more time for audience participation, with the former even adding a Q&A session at the end of her shows to guarantee clippable footage for her videographer.
But Kinane — er, Musk — has refused to budge. The prolific comic has adapted to the digital age before, as he’s released numerous specials for free viewing on the Comedy Central Stand-Up YouTube account, but cowing to the crowd work craze is too far for him. As he tweeted back in September, “Be sure to catch me on my ‘No Crowdwork Whatsoever’ tour this fall. Sit in the front, introverts. I will leave you the f— alone.”
Carefully crafted and battle-tested sets will always be superior to pandering, repetitive and low-effort audience participation posts that demand just a few seconds of our time and none of our brain power. Musk might be torn about President Biden’s surprise decision to return the art form of stand-up comedy to its true artists, but our friend Kinane will be thrilled to hear about the new legislation whenever he joins Twitter.