Nick Nuciforo, Head of Comedy Touring, UTA
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In January, standup comic and UTA client Sebastian Maniscalco sold out Madison Square Garden four times over, raking in a gaudy $8.3 million. But according to Nick Nuciforo, head of the agency’s comedy touring division, stand-up — or “monology,” to use industry parlance – is just the tip of the iceberg.
“There’s this whole world that’s broadened beyond monology, and that’s a real trend that we’re seeing that we’re excited about,” says Nuciforo, who sees a broadening comedy space that includes podcasting, sketch comedy, musical comedy and other multimedia ventures.
“The boom of podcasting’s been great for us,” he says, citing comical true crime pod “My Favorite Murder,” which sold out rooms across the country, including New York’s Beacon Theatre, Atlanta’s Fox Theatre and Seattle’s Paramount Theatre (twice), on a tour last fall.
Meanwhile, musical trio The Lonely Island, comprised of “Saturday Night Live” alums Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, embark on a sold-out tour this summer.
“There’s no doubt that technology is impacting the comedy touring business in a big way,” Nuciforo explains. “If you wanted to listen to comedy anywhere in the world right now, you can, on demand, and that’s changed everything.”
That goes for content – “Everybody’s hot for specials,” says Nuciforo, mentioning that in January he inked a deal to bring Jim Gaffigan to Amazon as its first stand-up special – but it also goes for ticket sales themselves. “Comedians have the great ability to speak directly to their fans,” he says, citing passionate podcast fans and social media’s marketing power as ticketing boons.
These factors have lead UTA to look at the comedy business globally. In fact, two of the agency’s most exciting stand-ups – France’s Gad Elmaleh and Brazil’s Whindersson Nunes – hail from outside the U.S. “I understood early that the globalization of comedy through these platforms and mediums was going to be a big thing,” says Nuciforo, who has sought not only to “export our talent throughout the world, but to create opportunities for international talent to give them a platform.”