Of all the dark and lurid corners of the internet, Twitter is widely believed to be the comedian’s platform. There’s something about the snappiness of the character limit that lends itself to one-liners and book deals that involve putting all those one-liners in a book (?). But over the past year or two, I’ve caught whiff of a sea change, by which I mean my own experience has changed and therefore, in the spirit of the internet, I’m ascribing it to the culture at large: Instagram is getting funnier.
For all its firey passion, Twitter has become synonymous with exhaustion. The takes are on fire and at a constant surplus, and the jokes come so fast you barely have time to let out a puff of breath through the nose, also known as an internet laugh, before moving on. But on Instagram, in what was once the vapid land of thirst traps and flat tummy tea, and possibly still is, there is a burgeoning community of comedians making my scrolling experience one of both void-courting and existentially fulfilling laughter.
Twitter will probably always be the popular kids table for internet jokes (I cannot/will not deny the genius of this tweet or Eva Victor or @dril), but I think Instagram is becoming a veritable Janis Ian: weird in a good way and not opposed to wearing wigs made of your mom’s chest hair. On a practical level, there are more entry points for varying content types (photo, video, carousel, story, live), meaning there’s more flexibility and space to be funny (love a franchise). And on an emotional level, Instagram, in all its narcissism, feels more concerned with celebration of the individual and cults of personality, whereas Twitter feels more like a collective stream of conscious.
Now that I’ve over-explained it, five comedians to follow on Instagram immediately:
Lauren Servideo’s Instagram is batshit and extremely good. Her bits range from working at Brandy Mellville to being just a regular vampire to whatever this is, and her engagement-to-follower ratios are intimidatingly high for a reason.
Sasha Merci is an actor and comedian who does a lot of advocacy for Latinx voices in art. Her Instagram is highly binge-able and includes spontaneous poetry, impressions of trash dudes, and thoughts vis-a-vis Mercury being in reggaeton.
(Highly suggest watching this video^ to completion.)
Genevieve Aniello is a comedian who works in TV and I regularly pull up her Instagram in social situations. Several of her bits have lodged into my long-term memory to return to me at random times, such as: her restaurant order requests, her celebrity imitations, and this video of her pretending to be a server at a dine-in theater. She’s perfect.
Cole Escola is a comedian and actor with some credits you might recognize. His Instagram is absurd and should not be consumed unless you’re prepared to lose your composure (“Thank you chef.”). Some good places to start: this practice round for Christmas, this alternate ending to Titanic that he describes as “one of the worst things I’ve ever made,” and this fake Vanity Fair interview.
Chloe Fineman is a comedian with a pension for wigs and her imitations are insane. See: Elizabeth Holmes, Timothée Chalamet, and a bad actor in a breakup scene. I’m also a big fan of her in Bieber drag.
Please drop some of your own recs below. I’m parched for more.
Feature Photo by Landon Speers.