I’m very familiar with all these people’s work from before, so this show was a real joy for me from very beginning, which featured changing images of viral images set to an “All Your Base” song. The show focused mostly on the real sites of the creators, but the first shown was the fake internationalfanmale.lb from Todd Levin & Bob Powers (not lovers), which celebrated the models and the clothing from International Male. even though its most popular page features a three-years-too-late 9/11 tribute with a photo of a kitten on a duck on a rabbit. Adorable.
Much of the rest of the show was a combo of education/entertainment as I imagine that a fair amount of the 4:30PM Bellyup crowd wasn’t really aware of the possibilities of humor on the web from Chelsea Peretti‘s “Black People Love Us” to a clip featuring thrown scissors from College Humor (which brought a huge gasp). Charlie Todd‘s account of the beginnings of Improv Everywhere including clips from both his pranks in NY and Aspen was a huge hit. Watching mountain residents eat the “free snowcones” made from much-trod-upon snow was a thing of joy. Hopefully those people are going to get tested for, well, everything.
CollegeHumor’s Ricky Van Veen and Jacob Lodwick pulled back the veil a bit on how they “serve up the world’s finest dick jokes” to a million monthly readers. The biggest surprise to me is that they now get paid by Big Media to put up videos from upcoming movies and shows to make them appear as if they were pirated. Their rules for successful viral videos:
Of course, then they show something that didn’t make it on the site, a somewhat homoerotic clip of guys slapping a plastic bag filled with wine. Oh well, at least it made it to Aspen.
The initial success of Comedy Central stand-up on iTunes is already being repeated with its latest additions to the online download service. All nine of the stand-up specials added have already made it into iTunes Top 100 downloads, including: Carlos Mencia (#8 in the top 100), Brian Regan (15), Dat Phan (28), Jim Gaffigan (29), Demetri Martin (32), Frank Caliendo (35), Darrell Hammond (57), Greg Giraldo (87) and Maria Bamford (98).
With four of the previous set of ten “Comedy Central Presents” still in the top 100, that means stand-up owns 13% of the top TV Show downloads from the service. Pretty impressive acheivement (though I still wonder how many have to be downloaded to get to top 100. 10? 100? 1000? ) No wonder “Last Comic Standing” is coming back and Dane Cook is getting a deal with HBO… TV executives beyond CC smell money in stand-up once again. Here we go again. Get your brick walls ready people.
iTunes has just added a Comedy genre page, I imagine partially in response to Comedy Central stand-up doing so well in the TV Shows area (though I’d love to think my posts about it recently and in the past had something to do with it.)
The fascinating thing about the page is how terribly undiverse sales can be in comic taste. “Weird Al” Yankovic eats up half of the top 10 songs area. The other three of the top ten are of Dane Cook, who also rules the albums area, including “Harmful if Swallowed” taking two slots on the top ten. (I can’t discern a difference between the two listings. So I imagine, if their sales are combined, they probably sell even more than Dane Cook’s “Retaliation.) You’re even hard pressed to find a cut from Chris Rock‘s recent Grammy winning “Never Scared” until number 20 on the top song list. I imagine this might change now that there’s a comedy genre page with pushes a broader range of releases.
Even with the occassionally undiverse top offerings and sometimes frustrating Chucklehut-style imagery (can’t humor ever be illustrated by something other than chickens?), it’s great to see the rebirth of the comedy record embraced by digital distribution.
Check out: iTunes Essential Comedy Mix
Filed Under Funny 2.0
The Guardian has releaed the first of Ricky Gervais’ podcasts featuring his frequent co-writer Stephen Merchant and his possibly backwards and crazy former producer Karl Pilkington (Ricky spends a lot of the broadcast yelling “Are you mental?” at him). The discussion quickly veers from Karl’s luddite dislike of iPods to his idea of controlling overpopulation by having woman become pregnant when they are in the 70s. Karl says this so deadpan you can’t imagine he’s anything but serious (even though there’s some question how real he is). Longtime fans will be happy to hear that a feature of xfm shows - Monkey News - is a part of the mix. For those who only know Gervais from the Office, it’s fun to see him be the normal one. The shows are going to run for twelve weeks. Boot up iTunes now.
Filed Under Funny 2.0
Remerging for the first time since 2001, comedy.com is attempting a revitalization with a vanity e-mail program. Many might already be happy with their gmail or yahoo mail, but I can see where many an aspiring stand-up, sketch group or a humorist might want an address that ends with comedy.com, if only to mark themselves as belonging to the industry before anyone reads a line of their e-mail. Another big selling point of the service is that its completely ad free. As an introduction, comedy.com has set the price of the service at $19.95 for a year for a limited time.
The site still hosts a large number of comedian profiles and a joke database. I’ve been told that if visitors respond to the e-mail service, the comedy.com team will make more original content for the web. Interested? You can sign up here.
Filed Under Funny 2.0
Don’t put too much stock into online personality tests, but one, a 3 Variable Funny Test, was impressive. Very well constructed by someone who gets what makes particular kinds of people laugh. The three axes it grades on are Clean/Vulgar, Light/Dark and Spontaneous/Complex - the later being why I was judged to be “The Wit” (more complex) and my fiancee “The Cutting Edge” (more spontaneous). There’s some smart distinctions in the test that are often quite hilarious themselves (well, depending on your type I suppose). One answer to a question on enjoyment of the Onion is labeled “I did, but I don’t.” Good stuff. Take it and post your results in the comments section.
Filed Under Funny 2.0
Scientists persist in their attempts to prove the title of Readers Digest joke section is accurate.
In a test, researchers at University of Maryland found volunteers’ blood vessels could expand more after viewing a comedy scene. Of course, in such research you need a control film. Theirs was the blood-soaked and limb-strewn storming the beaches scene that opens Saving Private Ryan, which actually reduced blood flow. The researchers are looking at how comedy can help your health, but I’ve decided that all they’ve proved is that Steven Spielberg is trying to kill us all.
Actually, what I’ve always wondered is if we get the same benefits from dark comedies? Do we need the escape from our pain or do we need a comedy that makes light of death and pain? Are all jokes equal healthwise? (Note: If I just gave you an idea for your doctoral dissertation, I expect something in return. A small lab animal on which I can clone spare parts perhaps.)