Anyone on twitter has seen comedians play hashtag games. Many come from @Midnight, others come from promotional companies, and some are spontaneous. But all of them can help you as a comedian.
Hashtag games help you sharpen your skills and get exposure, and I recommend you play them at least once a week, if not more often. Here’s why:
They serve as writing exercises. Given a premise, how funny can you be, and how quickly? These games get you in the habit of challenging yourself to write something foreign to you, with speed. More importantly, the games train you to dig deeper than the first punchline that comes to mind. The difference between a good comic and a great comic is how deep they dig. So get in the habit of thinking of a punchline, and then thinking of a better one, and then a better one – even for something as silly as a hashtag.
They help you be more original. A successful hashtag game gives thousands of people the same limited premise. How original are your responses? Did you jump to the same joke everyone else did? Viewing other responses during game play will drive you to make your own ideas more original, and give you a better general understanding of the definition of low-hanging fruit.
They help you increase your reach. If you’re good at them, these games can help you reach new fans that enjoy your voice. People are checking the hashtag often and retweeting their favorites. If you’re consistently one of those favorites, you will get new followers. Followers equal fans and fans equal freedom. A comic with a big following doesn’t need to be anointed by the industry.
You can play hashtag games as they come up on your timeline or as they trend. But if you want to get a jump on the games (and get in early to the retweets) comedian Jeff Dwoskin developed an app that alerts you to new games. (Hashtagroundup.com if you want to play with him and other comedians)
However you play, I recommend you do. I’ll see you there.