Over the past year or so, a very popular subreddit has given nearly unknown comedians a venue to showcase their material to countless new people. On Reddit, the popular community of niche-communities, anyone with a clever idea, picture, or video can rise to the Front Page and be seen by millions of users. The default subreddits such as r/pics, r/videos, r/funny, gets the most views. If your post rises on one of those subreddits, it’s likely that everyone on Reddit will know your name (or at least your meme).
A not-so-little subreddit called r/standupshots, where comedians post a picture of themselves onstage with their joke superimposed over the photo, took off to gain over 10,000 subscribers in its first week, causing readers to share the “self-memes” with even more readers on the monster subreddit r/funny. However, the moderators at r/funny specifically wouldn’t allow these posts to rise on their page no matter how funny they were. “It’s kinda like cable TV,” New York comedian Nathan Anderson told Laughspin after he very publicly retired as moderator of r/standupshots and quit Reddit altogether. “It’s like Comedy Central saying they will only air stand-up specials from 2-3 am, so very few people can see it. Then, despite the shitty time-slot, some of these comics get extremely popular. But when they push for a primetime special, the network says “Fuck You. Primetime is reserved for shitty reruns.”
Before you think this is just about nerds crying over nerds bullying nerds, know that it is very difficult for an up-and-coming comedian with no TV credits (heck, even if you have a Conan spot under your belt, you may still only have ~2,000 followers on Twitter) to gain some traction and fans in this industry. This community supported established comics, new comics and the fans of all things funny. Part of the reason this subreddit can become worthwhile for good comedians to post is because other users found them so funny that they would share their material with a larger audience on r/funny (which has over 50 times the amount of subscribers of r/standupshots).
His very public retirement from Reddit, made in a standupshot format (naturally), reached front pages across Reddit, including a high position on r/all. It drew in over 1,200 comments from loyal fans, submitters and non-readers who just dislike the tyranny of biased moderating. I’ll let you read the heartbreaking farewell (click to enlarge), which although is just from one unknown comedian, it represents the struggle for a creative mind to get recognition for his or her original material.