Live comedy is often called stand up. What would you call a comedy video not performed to an audience? This could be characters performing a story, someone talking to a camera, or someone more abstract.

  • Comedy without the stand up? – skymningen Sep 26 '13 at 13:52
  • A sketch can be recorded and then broadcast to viewers. But a stand up comedy routine without a live audience, comedians thrive on audiences responses and reactions. – Mari-Lou A Sep 26 '13 at 13:53
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    "In stand-up comedy, feedback of the audience is instant and crucial for the comedian's act." (WP) However, it's still stand-up comedy: "Many of the earliest vaudeville-era stand-ups gained their greater recognition on radio. ... most modern stand-up comedians use television or motion pictures to reach a level of success and recognition unattainable in the comedy club circuit alone." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-up_comedy#Other_media – Kris Sep 26 '13 at 13:53
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    @Kris That should be an answer: it is still stand-up. (We agree on something! Wow.) – Andrew Leach Sep 26 '13 at 14:09
  • Practice or practising – bamboo Sep 26 '13 at 16:49

The critical aspect of stand-up comedy is that it is a direct communication between the comedian and the audience. The performer breaks the fourth wall in stand-up. It is often in the form of a monologue, but can involve a byplay between the comic and the crowd.

While stand-up is often (perhaps usually) performed in front of a live audience, there is no reason it cannot be performed to a broadcast only audience or even filmed or taped and replayed later. Many comedians relish the feedback of a live audience, but audio recordings of stand-up routines were a staple in the 1960s (Bob Newhart, The First Family, etc.)

Stand-up is distinct from a comedic skit in which the players interact with each other but not with the audience, such as situation comedies. Skits that act out humorous scenes and ignore the audience are not truly stand-up. Some vaudeville routines that involve a dialog between two or more comics are borderline stand-up in that they may or may not treat the audience as being present.

Stand-up also can be distinguished from slapstick comedy in which the performer often falls down.

  • Definitely! Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Richard Pryor. All great stand-up comedians with studio albums. – Kristina Lopez Sep 26 '13 at 18:41
  • While I can see how this answers the original questioner's inquiry (that it is still called stand-up, even if it's not in front of a live audience), there is a good point to be made in that they also need a distinction between the two (live performances and recorded performances), which I think is the only thing missing from this otherwise very good answer. – Zibbobz Sep 27 '13 at 13:12
  • @JackRyan Basically, I am disagreeing with the OP that standup is defined as performing to a live audience, and suggesting instead that standup means performing to an acknowledged audience. If you are talking to the audience, it's standup, if not, it may be sketch, sitcom, slapstick, but not standup. As Bob would say, "Un-buttondown your mind!" – bib Sep 30 '13 at 22:33


monologue noun a : soliloquy 2 b : a dramatic sketch performed by one actor c : the routine of a stand-up comic

The comedian is famous for his monologue about winning the lottery.

from m-w.com


I would still call it "Stand-Up Comedy", since it would still be a solo standing comedy performance, just without a 'live' audience. Though the audience is not present, the existence of an audience can be inferred by the style of performance, so long as they are still 'addressing an audience' in some way as a solo performer.

It may be a bit unusual, since the reaction of the audience is usually seen as a key part in the performance, but it can still be done and still be considered stand-up.

To differentiate between the two, you could call it a "stand-up recording" or a "recorded act" to indicate that it was not performed live, or just call it a 'non-live stand-up performance'.

  • Would you care to cite any such examples of "stand-up" performances with no audience present? – Jack Ryan Sep 26 '13 at 14:20
  • Unfortunately I really can't. Though I can imagine such a scenario, and definitely feel like a 'recorded comedy routine spoken to the viewer' would qualify as a stand-up recording, I don't know of any specific instance of one to cite as a reference. – Zibbobz Sep 26 '13 at 14:49
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    I can. "[T]hey based Dr. Katz's patients on stand-up comics for the first several episodes, simply having them recite their stand-up acts." So the question at hand is: were the sessions from Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist stand-up comedy? – Jack Ryan Sep 26 '13 at 15:42
  • Just that if it's not done before a live audience, the comedian could as well have been sitting, how would one know? (t-i-c). – Kris Sep 27 '13 at 5:56
  • By looking. ;o But I see what you mean. Despite the name, actually 'standing up' is not required in 'stand-up' comedy. The actual aspect that is required is direction at an audience, as explained in bib's answer. – Zibbobz Sep 27 '13 at 13:11

It would be called a shoot, [studio] shot, or [studio] taping. If you are in marketing you might call it a live taping or just use the term live. Everything is "live" but we tend to take that as people can't do retakes.

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