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Codeblack Has Lowdown on Stand-Up

23 Mar, 2009 By: Kyra Kudick


People love to laugh. That doesn’t seem like an industry secret, and Jeff Clanagan, CEO of Codeblack Entertainment, knows that because he chuckled as he said it.

“It isn’t a scientific explanation,” he said. “It is just the best laymen terms to describe the appeal [of stand-up comedy]. People love to laugh, and a good stand-up DVD is a good value purchase in these economic times.”

And Clanagan would know — Codeblack has been producing and distributing stand-up comedy for the past 10 years.
“Stand-up is the most consistent performing category in the DVD space,” he said. But he cautioned newcomers to the category, “You need to have the right comedians with the right marketing campaign.”

He added that there is a direct correlation between touring and sales. If the comedian performs on tour throughout the year, sales of his product are better. Visibility is essential for the titles to perform well.

Clanagan cited comedian Steve Harvey as a good example. Harvey has a morning talk show, tours throughout the year and his relationship book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is currently the No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He recently appeared on “Oprah” to promote his book, and sales of his DVDs spiked.

“A new audience is getting exposed to his comedy,” Clanagan said. “The DVDs are drafting off the success of the book.” And that’s to the tune of 1,000 units a week — on a title that is more than 2 years old, he added.

Upcoming titles from Codeblack (distributed by Vivendi Entertainment) include Shaq and Cedric Present All Star Comedy Jam and the Sundance Film Festival selection Why We Laugh.

All Star Comedy Jam (DVD $19.98) is due Aug. 4 (prebook July 2) and features performances by Cedric the Entertainer, Tommy Davidson, Kevin Hart, De Ray Davis and Aries Spears.

Why We Laugh (DVD $19.98) is due Dec. 29 (prebook Nov. 27). The full-length documentary follows the history and cultural influence of black comedy in America. It includes rare footage and interviews with comedians Bill Cosby, Chris Rock and Keenen Ivory Wayans, among others.

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