A Laughable Progress Update: Looking Back on 2017 and Ahead to 2018


This post is adapted from an email update we sent to our users on 12.29.17. If you’re not already using Laughable yourself, you can download it for iOS at laughable.com/download or sign up to be notified when our Android app is ready at laughable.com/android.


Dear Laughable users and lovers,

I’m writing to give you a rundown of the progress Laughable has made in 2017 – and a sense of where we’re headed in 2018 and beyond.

Let’s get right to it.

2017 HIGHLIGHTS

Our app got WAY better. For example, we rolled out the ability to subscribe directly to artists, which has been a big hit. People love being able to stay current on all the episodes their favorite comics have been on as a host or guest— and discovering additional comics and podcasts to love in the process. In aggregate, our users have spent over 1.5 MILLION hours listening to podcasts through Laughable in 2017. Wowza.

Thousands of you have subscribed to Bert Kreischer, an ultramarathoner and Laughable Artist Collective member.

 

We hosted our first ever live standup showcases at the Comedy Cellar in NYC. Special thanks to Robert Kelly for coming up with the idea and vouching for us — just two of the many ways he’s helped move Laughable forward this year. (Now go subscribe to him!) Both our shows were a blast — and very meaningful to me personally, since the Cellar is where I really fell in love with standup and was inspired to start Laughable.

Robert Kelly — a Comedy Cellar mainstay and one of the best standups in the game today — holding court at our first showcase back in May.

 

Gary Gulman brought the house down at both of our 2017 Comedy Cellar shows. (Thanks, Professor Lewis!)

 

Our users continued to be an indispensable source of ideas, feedback, and support. You guys are awesome. You’ve been thoughtful, kind, and patient: here’s proof. We ❤ you all.

We found new ways to help comedians. One example: comics don’t have access to much good data about how people engage with their content. Our technology is helping remedy that.

We started generating revenue. Not much, for the record — but not zero, either! Increasingly, it’s from the tickets people buy through our app. This has helped us demonstrate that we’re serious about developing not just a great product offering, but also a sustainable business model that benefits fans, comedians, and Laughable. Here’s a grainy GIF of the ticket-buying UI that gets the point across but in no way does the real thing justice:

We got featured on the front page of the App Store (see below). Only 1 out of every 5,000 iPhone apps is chosen for this promotion each year. It got us an extra 15,000+ downloads in a 10-day period.

We worked closely with comedians to ensure Laughable continued to make life better for both fans AND creators of comedy. In particular, we relied on our Artist Collective members: Robert Kelly, Bert Kreischer, Ari Shaffir, Tony Hinchcliffe, Greg Fitzsimmons, Shane Mauss, Chemda, Keith Malley, Joe List, Mark Normand, and Jared Freid. Many thanks to these folks for their efforts — as well as to the myriad other artists who took the time to connect with us in 2017.

We garnered the best App Store reviews of ANY app focused on podcasts or comedy. 91% of our 1,700+ ratings are for 5 out of 5 stars; no other app in our space has as high a batting average.

We solidified our vision for the future and our plan for realizing it. Here’s the theory behind our aspirations to become a global marketplace for comedy, encompassing everything comedians are creating: digital content, merchandise, live performances, and more. And here are the principles guiding us on our trek.

 

PLANS FOR 2018 AND BEYOND

Product – Next Up… The next two features we expect to release are automatic downloads and CarPlay compatibility.

Product – In the Pipeline… Among our top priorities: bolstering our ticket-buying options, expanding our e-commerce offerings beyond tickets and into merchandise & digital content, and making the app simpler & more intuitive to use. And last but not least, building an Android app, which thousands of comedy-obsessed would-be users have already requested.

Beyond Product… We need to acquire more users, generate more revenue, raise more growth capital, and continue building bridges to comedians and industry people like agents, managers, and club owners. And we need to hire some people to help us do it all.

 

ZOOMING OUT REAL QUICK

My co-founder Stuart and I are really excited about the future, and we feel lucky to be working on something that we care deeply about — something that each day, thousands of people rely on to power them through their commute or workout or shift. To laugh, to be entertained, to learn, to escape.

No, not tryna turn this into an inspirational/#blessed Instagram post. We just want you to know that we don’t take any of this for granted, and we’re going to keep working hard to help you find funny.

 

Ned on the left, Stuart on the right, and LeVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame) between us, backstage at a pitch competition in November. Couldn’t have been a nicer dude.

 

Thank you for using our app and your continued support. Please keep telling others about us, leaving us good App Store reviews, and writing in with feature ideas and bug sightings. It all continues to make a big difference.

Hope your 2018 gets off to a great start. See you on the other side.

Ned Kenney
Co-Founder // CEO // Janitor, Laughable
n@laughable.com

 

P.S. MY VOTE FOR PODCAST EPISODE OF THE YEAR…

Ari Shaffir and Greg Fitzsimmons waterboarding each other on Fitzdog Radio back in August. It’s podcasting at its best: poignant and silly, real and absurd. And, of course, consistently hilarious. Enjoy!