10 Stand-Up Comedy Routines That Went Viral Overnight

Stand-up comedy has been around for centuries, but with the rise of social media platforms and the internet, comedians now have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. In the past, it would take years for a comedian to gain recognition and build a following. However, with just one viral video, a comedian can become an overnight sensation.

The power of the internet has allowed for stand-up comedy routines to spread like wildfire, gaining millions of views and shares in a matter of hours. In this article, we will dive into 10 stand-up comedy routines that went viral overnight and explore how these comedians used the internet to catapult their careers.

The Power of Viral Content

In today’s digital age, the term “viral” has become synonymous with success. When a piece of content goes viral, it means that it has gained an immense amount of attention and shares in a short period of time. This can be especially beneficial for comedians, who rely on exposure and audience engagement to grow their careers.

A viral stand-up comedy routine not only brings recognition to the comedian but also increases their chances of booking gigs and selling out shows. With the help of social media and various online platforms, comedians can now reach a global audience and connect with fans from all over the world.

The Rise of Social Media in Comedy

10 Stand-Up Comedy Routines That Went Viral Overnight

Social media has become a vital tool for comedians to promote their work and connect with their audiences. While traditional forms of media, such as television and radio, are still important for comedians, social media allows them to share their content instantly and directly with their fans.

Platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram have become breeding grounds for viral comedy content. With their quick and easy sharing features, it has never been easier for a comedian to showcase their skills and gain a following. Let’s take a look at 10 stand-up comedy routines that utilized the power of social media and went viral overnight.

1. “Nanette” by Hannah Gadsby

10 Stand-Up Comedy Routines That Went Viral Overnight

Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, “Nanette,” took the world by storm when it was released in 2018. The Australian comedian’s powerful and thought-provoking routine tackled topics such as gender, sexuality, and mental health. With its raw emotion and comedic storytelling, “Nanette” became an instant hit and gained millions of views on social media.

The Impact of “Nanette”

One of the reasons why “Nanette” became so popular is because it sparked important conversations about societal issues. Gadsby’s vulnerability and honesty resonated with many viewers and her message spread like wildfire across social media platforms. The routine also received critical acclaim, winning numerous awards and solidifying Gadsby’s place in the comedy world.

How to Use “Nanette”

Aspiring comedians can learn a lot from Gadsby’s approach to comedy. By incorporating personal experiences and social commentary into her routine, she was able to create a powerful and impactful performance. As a result, “Nanette” not only entertained audiences but also left a lasting impression on them.

Gadsby’s Advice for Viral Success

In an interview with The Guardian, Gadsby shared her advice for aspiring comedians: “Don’t underestimate the power of truth. Be honest in what you’re saying and make sure your work has purpose.” By staying true to herself and using her platform to shed light on important issues, Gadsby was able to create a viral routine that made a difference.

2. “It’s Not About the Nail” by Jason Headley

Sometimes, a viral comedy routine doesn’t need to be long or complex to gain attention. That’s exactly what happened with Jason Headley’s “It’s Not About the Nail,” a short sketch that went viral on YouTube. The routine, which has over 18 million views, pokes fun at the age-old issue of men trying to fix their partner’s problems instead of just listening.

The Simplicity of “It’s Not About the Nail”

One of the reasons why this routine was so successful is because it resonated with audiences in a relatable and humorous way. The simple concept of a man trying to fix his partner’s problem, without realizing that she just wants someone to listen, struck a chord with many viewers. This universal theme, combined with Headley’s comedic timing, made the routine a viral hit.

How to Use “It’s Not About the Nail”

Comedians can learn from Headley’s approach to creating shareable content. By tapping into common experiences and making them funny, he was able to create a routine that was instantly relatable to a large audience. This is a great strategy for comedians looking to make an impact on social media.

Headley’s Advice for Viral Success

When asked about the success of “It’s Not About the Nail,” Headley stated, “It’s just a two-minute video that I shot in my living room with a little point-and-shoot camera.” He emphasizes the importance of not taking yourself too seriously and just having fun with your content. Sometimes, the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact.

3. “Laughing Without an Accent” by Maz Jobrani

Maz Jobrani, an Iranian-American comedian, gained international recognition with his special “Laughing Without an Accent.” The routine, which was filmed in Dubai, showcased Jobrani’s unique perspective on cultural differences and stereotypes. It quickly became a viral sensation, with millions of views on YouTube.

Breaking Cultural Barriers with Comedy

“Laughing Without an Accent” is a prime example of how comedy can bring people from different backgrounds and cultures together. Jobrani’s humor transcended language barriers and showcased the similarities between people from all over the world. By using his platform to spread joy and laughter, Jobrani was able to create a viral routine with a positive message.

How to Use “Laughing Without an Accent”

In today’s globalized society, it’s important for comedians to appeal to a diverse audience. Jobrani’s routine is a great example of how to use comedy to connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds. By highlighting common experiences and poking fun at stereotypes, comedians can break down barriers and reach a wider audience.

Jobrani’s Advice for Viral Success

In an interview with Arab News, Jobrani shared his advice for aspiring comedians: “Write what you know. The more personal your stories are, the more relatable they are.” By drawing from his own experiences and cultural background, Jobrani was able to create a routine that resonated with audiences around the world.

4. “The Machine” by Bert Kreischer

Bert Kreischer’s stand-up comedy routine, “The Machine,” first went viral in 2006 when it was featured on Comedy Central. However, it gained newfound popularity in 2016 when a clip of the routine was shared on YouTube. In the bit, Kreischer recounts the hilarious story of his experience with the Russian mafia while studying abroad in college.

The Power of Storytelling

Kreischer’s routine is a perfect example of how storytelling can make a routine go viral. By sharing a unique and humorous experience, he captivated audiences and kept them laughing throughout the entire performance. The routine has now become one of Kreischer’s most well-known bits and has even inspired him to write a book with the same title.

How to Use “The Machine”

Comedians can take note from Kreischer’s approach to storytelling in comedy. By keeping the audience engaged and invested in his story, he was able to create a routine that has stood the test of time. This is a great strategy for creating shareable content that will keep audiences coming back for more.

Kreischer’s Advice for Viral Success

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kreischer stated, “You don’t have to have an angle or be unique. You just have to tell a funny story.” By staying true to himself and sharing a personal experience, Kreischer was able to create a viral routine that resonated with audiences all over the world.

5. “Aging Gracefully” by Judson Laipply

Judson Laipply’s “Evolution of Dance” routine was one of the earliest viral videos on YouTube, gaining over 300 million views since its upload in 2006. However, it was his follow-up routine, “Aging Gracefully,” that took the internet by storm in 2014. In this routine, Laipply hilariously depicts the stages of aging through various dance styles.

Relatability in Humor

Laipply’s routine became an instant hit because it tapped into a universal experience – getting older. By using different dance styles to represent the different stages of life, he created a routine that anyone could relate to, regardless of age. This relatability factor is what made “Aging Gracefully” such a viral success.

How to Use “Aging Gracefully”

Comedians can learn from Laipply’s ability to turn everyday experiences into comedic gold. By finding humor in life’s milestones and changes, comedians can connect with audiences on a deeper level. This is a great strategy for creating relatable and shareable content.

Laipply’s Advice for Viral Success

When asked about the success of “Aging Gracefully,” Laipply stated, “It’s not about trying to please everybody. It’s about knowing your audience and knowing what makes them happy.” By understanding his audience and creating content that would resonate with them, Laipply was able to create a viral routine that has stood the test of time.

6. “I’m Not Racist” by Joyner Lucas

Joyner Lucas’ powerful music video, “I’m Not Racist,” sparked important discussions about race and discrimination when it went viral in 2017. The intense and thought-provoking video depicts a conversation between a white man and a black man, highlighting the deep-rooted issues in society. The video gained millions of views and even caught the attention of celebrities such as LeBron James and Eminem.

Using Music as a Platform

For comedians who also write and perform music, like Lucas, viral success can come in many forms. His thought-provoking and impactful music video not only showcased his talents as a rapper but also shed light on important societal issues. By using his platform to spread a meaningful message, Lucas was able to create a viral hit.

How to Use “I’m Not Racist”

While not a traditional stand-up comedy routine, “I’m Not Racist” shows how comedians can use their talents to address important topics and spark conversations. By tapping into current issues and using humor to bring attention to them, comedians can create viral content that has a lasting impact.

Lucas’ Advice for Viral Success

In an interview with XXL Magazine, Lucas shared his advice for aspiring artists: “Be yourself and don’t try to fit in with the trend.” By staying true to himself and using his platform to speak out about issues that matter, Lucas was able to create a viral hit that resonated with audiences around the world.


1. How do I make my stand-up comedy routine go viral?

There is no guaranteed formula for creating a viral stand-up comedy routine, but here are some tips to increase your chances:

  • Be original and authentic in your material.
  • Use social media and online platforms to promote your work.
  • Incorporate current events and societal issues into your routine.
  • Utilize storytelling to keep the audience engaged.
  • Connect with your audience through relatable experiences.

2. Do I need to be a famous comedian to go viral?

No, anyone has the potential to create a viral stand-up comedy routine. With the help of social media and online platforms, comedians can reach a global audience, regardless of their level of fame. As long as your content is engaging and shareable, you have the chance to go viral.

3. Can I use other forms of media, like music videos, to showcase my comedic talents?

Yes, there are no rules when it comes to using different forms of media to showcase your talents as a comedian. In fact, incorporating music or visuals into your routine can add an extra layer of entertainment and appeal to a wider audience.

4. Is it important to address societal issues in my routine?

It’s not necessary to address societal issues in your routine, but it can be a powerful tool for creating meaningful and impactful content. If you choose to incorporate social commentary into your routine, make sure to stay true to yourself and voice your own opinions.

5. Can I create a viral routine without being controversial or offensive?

Absolutely. While controversial and offensive content may gain attention, it’s important to stay true to your own comedic style and not force shock value for the sake of going viral. Authenticity and originality are key factors in creating a viral routine that will resonate with audiences.


The internet and social media have changed the game for comedians, allowing them to reach a wider audience and potentially go viral overnight. By incorporating techniques such as storytelling, relatability, and social commentary into their routines, these 10 comedians were able to create viral content that resonated with audiences around the world.

While there is no guaranteed formula for creating a viral stand-up comedy routine, it’s clear that authenticity and originality are key factors in gaining recognition and success in today’s digital age. Aspiring comedians can learn from these examples and use the power of the internet to catapult their careers and share their talents with the world.

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