This article is from the Stand-up Comedy FAQ, by Steven Rosenthal and Steve Silberberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
A. Alternative comedy is just another kind of outlet. The reason it exists
and the reason it survives is because some of it is incredible. People must
like alternative comedy to keep coming back every week or every other week.
A lot of the performers write new stuff for every show, and there is a
great deal of unpredictability. Alternative comedy should be a risk and is
based on surprise. A lot of people don't want to see a bunch of middle age
white men talk about how truly difficult it has become to find a date or
whether everyone has noticed how people blah blah blah.