November 9, 2023

Veeps Launches Comedy Vertical

Veeps, the streaming platform founded by Joel and Benji Madden, is expanding its reach to include a comedy vertical featuring new specials from superstars like David Cross, Brad Williams, Katherine Ryan and Reggie Watts.

The Live Nation Entertainment-affiliated company will also be the exclusive streaming home for select sets from SF Sketchfest’s 21st edition in early 2024.

Since 2018, Veeps has streamed performances to millions of viewers worldwide for artists including Billie Eilish, Bob Dylan, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and thousands more, with the content available on and via apps on Apple TV, Roku, iOS and Android. In October, the company announced the launch of Veeps All Access, a subscription model affording unlimited access to livestream and on-demand content, which also incudes Madden’s music interview podcast-turned-talk series “Artist Friendly” and the upcoming “Cribs”-esque show “Sidehustles.” The comedy vertical will be available via Veeps All Access, or audiences can purchases tickets to individual specials.

Industry veteran Bart Coleman will oversee the vertical as the head of comedy.

“People around the world love to laugh, even if they’re not able to attend their favorite shows in-person as much as they’d like to and I’m honored to be playing a role in bringing the comedic performances we all love direct to fans in their homes,” said Coleman in a statement. “Veeps is unique in that it offers a premium viewing experience, a lot of artistic flexibility and we’re high touch in helping artists bring their unfiltered creative vision to life and connecting them with a community of viewers globally — in my opinion it’s a much-needed, fresh approach when it comes to broadcasting comedy content.”

Coleman joins the company from Moment, where he ran stand-up specials and podcast events, including the platform’s highest-performing special, Andrew Schulz’s “Infamous.” Prior to that, he served as Spotify Studios’ comedy lead, overseeing podcasts like “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith,” “The Sketch Factor with Fred Armisen” and “An Oral History of The Office” and worked for Comedy Central as director of talent and an independent producer, with credits including “The Burn With Jeff Ross,” “The Jeselnik Offensive,” “John Oliver’s New York Stand-up,” “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser” and 600 episodes of “@midnight.”

At Veeps, Coleman will work closely with Geof Wills, Live Nation’s president of comedy, who said, “It’s exciting to see Veeps’ investment in comedy and the hiring of Bart. This expansion will help comics reach audiences in entirely new and different ways than what has traditionally been done before.”

As a press release notes, the partnership between Veeps and LiveNation serves as a value add for the comedians Wills’ team is already booking, and also opens up distribution opportunities through Ticketmaster partners like Meta, Spotify and TikTok.

The current lineup of comedy specials that will be exclusively available on Veeps (free to All Access subscribers or via a paid ticket to individual shows) includes: “David Cross: Worst Daddy in the World,” airing Nov. 27; “Brad Williams: Starfish,” airing Dec. 21; “Katherine Ryan: Missus,” airing Nov. 17; Reggie Watts’ latest special, due in early 2024; “Mo Welch: Dad Jokes” docuspecial, release TBD; “Blair Socci: Live from the Big Dog,” airing Dec. 1; multiple sets from SF Sketchfest, airing January through February, 2024; “Pod Meets World: The Kids Wanna Jump!” event and Jessi Cruickshank’s upcoming special, coming in early 2024.

Full information on featured comedians and upcoming specials, as well as ticketing details, is available on

“The team has been very artist friendly and given me the freedom to present the show in the exact way it was intended,” said Williams, whose special was announced last week. “Anyone can join an already successful platform, but it’s extra inspiring to know that I’m a part of something that many people are saying will be an industry game-changer.”

Crafting an “artist-friendly” experience has been the M.O. for the Maddens since they first began developing the idea for Veeps more than a decade ago.

The vision was simple, Joel Madden tells Variety: “We really felt like live streaming — especially around music, concerts, comedy and live events like that, that are happening every day around the globe — was the future of live entertainment. Being there live is a magical experience that only a few of us get to witness, but the access is going to be something that fans come to expect.”

With Veeps, their job is to support the artists’ vision and execute it on a large scale, because in Madden’s estimation, “the artists have all the power.” So they took notes from the rise of streamers like Netflix and ESPN+ to create an affordable, premium experience for fans across the globe to experience their favorite acts live, then developed the subscription-based model with All Access. “It’s always been the vision that live-streaming is going to continue to evolve and become a part of our entertainment diet and what we consume,” he adds.

Live art is inspiring, he explains, because it helps people realize that success is possible despite your circumstances — whether that’s a lack of financial resources or any other obstacles one might face. “Discovering that someone else did it and they were just like you, it’s so important for anyone with a dream, whether it’s music or art or sports or building a business,” Madden says.

Madden knows that power first-hand. He and his twin brother Benji were just a couple of teens from Maryland when they first saw the Beastie Boys perform in 1995.

“We had never experienced that magic before,” Madden recalls. “We certainly had been devouring records, and were obsessed with this idea, but we didn’t know that you could just start a band, as weird as that sounds. When we saw the show, we were just struck by it, and I think it was the next day we started the band.”

Now, nearly 30 years and seven hit records later, Good Charlotte is still making that magic. Last month, they performed a secret set to celebrate the launch of Veeps All-Access and then took the stage at the When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas for their first major performance in five years.

Madden still gets a rush when they play hits like “The Anthem” and “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous” (now-ironic because Benji and Joel are famous, successful businesspeople, married to Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie, respectively). Lil Wayne joined them on stage for the track at the elder-emo nostalgia fest in Vegas.

“It’s not lost on me the irony of my life,” Madden laughs. “That I’d write a song like that as a poor kid trying to make it and then I would go on to be able to live this dream of a life in a lot of aspects. But it definitely keeps me honest and and keeps me not taking myself too seriously.” (And for the record, all this performing does have the band contemplating new music. “We’re in the early stages of trying to imagine what that sounds like. We’re tinkering,” Madden teases.)

But their dream has broadened beyond the band, with the Maddens focused on bringing the visions of other artists — and fans who could become artists — to fruition via Veeps and their artist management company MDDN, which represents the likes of Chase Atlantic and Bad Omens.

“We’re passionate about helping artists develop and build careers,” Madden says. “We by no means are geniuses or experts. We work hard and we love music, and we believe that there’s a place for everyone. If you have a dream and you have an idea, you should go after it. The work is worth it, the efforts worth it.”

Originally posted at: Variety