This article was published on April 21, 2013

Comedy Central holding a comedy festival on Twitter and Vine featuring Mel Brooks and Steve Agee

Comedy Central holding a comedy festival on Twitter and Vine featuring Mel Brooks and Steve Agee

Twitter’s a pretty funny place, but it’s about to get downright hilarious. Comedy Central is gearing up to host a comedy festival on the service, centered around the hashtag #ComedyFest, according to The New York Times.

Comedians will use Vine, Twitter’s six-second video service, tweets and longer videos to amuse the Twitterverse. We’ve reached out to Twitter and Comedy Central to learn more about the festival, which is said to take place next week.

Update: Comedy Central has officially announced the festival, which will run from April 29-May 3 and include participation from over 50 performers.

Steve Agee is reportedly set to hold a “Vine Dining” party that will broadcast short videos. Only one #ComedyFest event will take place with a live audience. The Times reports that Twitter will live-stream a panel including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Judd Apatow, wherein Brooks and Apatow will attempt to convince Reiner to join Twitter. Brooks and Reiner collaborated on the hit “2000 Year Old Man” comedy skit in the 1960s.

As part of a move toward its growing online audience, Comedy Central is prepping a CC:Standup app that will offer free videos of standup routines.

“One of these days we will be ambivalent about where people watch Comedy Central,” Steve Grimes, the company’s senior vice president for digital media, told the Times.

Twitter’s head of TV, Fred Graver, told the newspaper that partnering with networks can be mutually beneficial. The company’s interest in the endeavor is ostensibly for the main purpose of gaining more users, rather than making a full jump to becoming a full video distribution platform.

#ComedyFest is being run as somewhat of an experiment. Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless told the Times that the festival is a similar marketing effort to how it would have used a billboard in the past.

From the looks of it, the comedy industry is in the midst of serious upheaval. Louis C.K. has largely been credited with disrupting the traditional business model after he began offering content and tickets directly from his website. The decision proved profitable for him and reduced the number of scalped tickets at his shows.

After other comedians followed suit, C.K.’s efforts also ended up providing inspiration for the site LOLFlix, which replicated his model of selling $5 DRM-free comedy specials.

Times certainly have changed over the past 50 years, and comedy hasn’t proved impervious to the shift toward new online distribution methods. Comedians back in the day might not have imagined that they’d be composing jokes in 140 characters or less, or holding virtual comedy festivals with hashtags and lulz.

#ComedyFest will be an interesting experiment at coopting Twitter into a powerful new media platform, and an entertaining one, at that.

Related: Why comedian Louis C.K. hates Twitter and doesn’t follow anyone. [Video]