Comedy Trendsetter Walter Latham Brings His Midas Touch to YouTube

YouTube is dead serious about invading the TV world, and if you’re skeptical, the company’s deal with standup comedy concert producer Walter Latham should hammer the point.

Variety reported early on June 12, 2012 that Latham (producer of "Original Kings of Comedy", "Queens of Comedy", "Latin Kings of Comedy", etc.) has joined forces with YouTube to establish his own channel, Walter Latham Comedy, with a webseries already lined up to premiere in July showcasing rising comedy stars.

Entrepreneurship is in the Blood

If you’ve never heard of this guy before, here’s the relevant backstory. Brooklyn boy Latham started working for himself at 13 years old and worked concessions at Madison Square Garden during high school, according to Variety.

That’s when he caught the concert bug.

The “Original Kings of Comedy” hit it big in 2000, propelling his success and permanently cemented in our minds Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer’s irresistible talents. From there, he produced “Queens of Comedy” (further propelling Sommore and Mo’Nique’s success), and hooked up with comedian and producer Paul Rodriguez to produce “Latin Kings of Comedy” (featuring George Lopez and Rodriguez himself). 

The birth of Latham’s YouTube project was a natural progression of two important entertainment business tenets: first, always be aware of and flexible with the cultural changes that affect your business, especially the untamed titan that is social media. Secondly, form and establish lasting relationships

Walter Latham Comedy’s Birth and Layout

Variety reported that the channel was born out of Latham’s business relationship with Malik Ducard, Paramount’s former Digital executive, who recently moved to YouTube as its content partnership director. Ducard invited Latham last year to make the move to YouTube.

Thanks to Latham’s distribution deal with Paramount (which has distributed all of his comedy concert movies to date), he’s got a first-look footage deal with the giant, which helps provide fresh content for his channel.

That’s not to say Walter Latham Comedy is currently empty, mind you – the channel boasts exclusive footage from the Kings and Queens of Comedy series, P. Diddy’s "Bad Boys of Comedy", celebrity interviews with Latham himself, and even footage from Martin Lawrence’s “Runteldat”. So although his webseries showcasing rising comedy stars, “Comedy After Dark”, doesn’t premiere until July 7, 2012, you’ll still find more than enough on the channel to entertain yourself and want to subscribe.

By the way, if you’re concerned about the channel’s language intensity, relax – YouTube’s invested serious coin in Latham’s project, so he’s adhering to the TV-14 maximum (expect lots of bleeping).

But meeting his investor’s content requirements is only half the battle. Ultimately, it’s all about the green.

Walter Latham Comedy’s Money Plans

Latham has two revenue sources: the first is the most obvious – and the most annoying – ads. But second and more importantly, he plan to develop his webseries into a live concert series (comedy concerts are his first love, after all).

One way or another, he’s covered, and with the amazing comedy stars he’s already connected with (Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, etc.), there’s no limit to the potential greatness of this channel and the comedic talents he’ll highlight on his show.

If you’re hungry for more info, you can check out IndieWire Network blog Shadow and Light’s article, and Variety’s article as well.

Your Thoughts?

Do you think YouTube’s move to establish credible webseries is a promising trend? Do you see an entrepreneurial opportunity in this rising entertainment business model for what you do? Let me know your thoughts in a comment below.   

Image is a screenshot of the Walter Latham Comedy YouTube page.


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