Though there’s been a rush of iPhone apps in the past year, the limitations of developers’ imagination for apps that are funny has pretty much ended at fart noises. A new release this week is trying to break beyond novelty and become something reliably funny, that you’ll open more than just two or three times to annoy your friends.
The iPhone app is called This Just In and features anywhere from 10 to 15 new jokes a day about current events—politics, pop culture, sports… anything in the news. It’s a joke style that you see right at the beginning of every late night talk show - the monologue. But it’s getting to you before Letterman or O’Brien or even Leno, at his 10 PM time spot, have a crack at it. The faster, the funnier - jokes from This Just In have the first shot at surprising you.
And better, comedy writers who have written for many of those shows, along with writers from The Onion and College Humor, are writing jokes for the app. There’s actual talented comedy writers behind each joke and it’s all being curated by someone who has fantastic comedy chops, who I’ll talk about a little later.
Monologue jokes are, by nature, a little hit or miss. You may not be up on the target or just heard the take on that target before — I think we could all manage a serviceable “Bill Clinton is Horny” gag. But the idea should always be, you don’t like the last one, maybe you’ll like the next.
This Just In does only an OK job with “Can’t eat just one” navigation. It’s always a two step operation after you read a joke to get to another. You’re either hitting “Back” to return to today’s jokes or your diving deeper by topic or the joke writer. Either way you’re on a category page rather than a page with something else funny. Your mileage may vary, but I’d rather go through the app “joke, joke, joke” rather than “joke, options, joke, options, joke…” That said, it’s great to dive deeper into either a comedy writer you find particularly funny - and particularly good for the writer who can grow an audience for their other efforts. Anything you find particularly funny can be sent to your Twitter or your Facebook page.
The company behind This Just In is iLarous, which was born from last year’s writer strike as comedy writers began to look directly to cut out the network middle man and reach audiences directly through the web. iLarious comes from the mind of Fred Graver, creator of “Best Week Ever” and one of the first writers for “Late Night with David Letterman.” Graver has been producing good stuff for over 25 years starting with the National Lampoon. He knows the funny.
This Just In is one of many ideas forth coming from iLarious, including another app that will semi-adapt another segment of the talk show - the celebrity interview. It’s called WITTR, and will feature talk between pro comics like some familiar BWE faves like Paul F. Tompkins, Paul Scheer, Christian Finnegan and Doug Benson.
Full disclosure: I talked with Fred Graver as this was being developed and very well may write a joke or two myself for it. Fred offered me a review copy of “This Just In”, but I paid for mine in the app store. If you’re interested where funny could go next, you should too.
It’s only $1.99 with subsequent month-long subscriptions to current jokes are 99 cents (a 3 month-long sub is available for $2.99 - which is a couple cents more than month to month. I’m sure that’s a bump that’ll get evened out somehow.)
Filed Under Funny 2.0
Tosh.0 premieres tonight on Comedy Central, which is sort of nets first attempt at doing a series about viral video. They’ve become a little cookie-cutter, get funny guy with an over the shoulder shot of the mock web video, make snarky comments. Repeat for a half hour.
Daniel Tosh looks for Tosh.0 be a little different, perhaps realizing that the viral video folks are more than just targets. There’s more and better jokes to be gained by actually talking with them. Here’s a teaser clip from Tosh.0 that I enjoyed, simply because it treats the target like a human being a little. It features the man nicknamed “Afro Ninja”, who fell flat on his face when he attempted a back flip. Daniel goes over what went wrong and then gives a chance for a “Web Redemption”, which looks to be a regular feature for the show.
I actually didn’t expect this of Daniel Tosh, who’s very funny but has one of the most caustic acts I’ve seen - one that doesn’t really give you an ideal of anything he actually likes. The over-the-shoulder thing is something he could do in his sleep. Hopefully the show will be much more “Web Redemption” than TV commenting on the web.
Tosh.0 premieres tonight on Comedy Central at 10 PM.
After the jump, Tosh recorded a little greet for Dead-Frog readers. If being encouraged to watch the show semi-personally might help you watch Tosh.0, click “more”
This short vid from Casey Wilson makes a point about modern criticism in the internet age better than that entire two-hour movie “Heckler’” from that no-talent ass clown mind Jamie K… oh, crap.
Part of me wishes they’d used the actual stupid comments from people, but really, why do you want to give them any satisfaction? Even when you’re making fun of ‘em. Let them stay as anonymous as their screen names.
Tonight in most areas, PBS will air Make ’Em Laugh, a history of American comedy that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I’ve already picked up the companion book for the series and the amount of depth of material and history that they use to draw lines between past and (relatively) contemporary comedians is impressive. Plus, it’s damn gorgeous. If this is the resource material they used to build the documentary, your comedy nerd appetite will probably just be wetted. I don’t see how they’ll get it all in.
Tonight’s two episodes are “Would Ya Hit a Guy with Glasses?”, which focuses on the comedian as outsider, and “Honey, I’m Home!”, which focuses on sitcoms and the comedian as the center of a family. It’s an interesting, and somewhat diametrically opposed paring that keeps comedy from being in a simple box. Also a little interesting - they are Chapters Four and Five of the companion book. The first chapter in print focuses on physical comedy, and while it’ll probably be entertaining, it doesn’t necessarily seem like the best tone setter for a TV series about comedians. Physical comedy can be polarizing. Good choice there.
There’s six episodes in all that will air on PBS, but there’s also a seventh, which focuses on web comedy entitled “Teh Internets”, and appropriately has been released only there. You’re not necessarily going to learn a lot from the video - if you’ve visited this site, you know this shit. It’s more of a Best Week Ever look at the subject. But it’s fun to see that those talking heads are a lot of favorite web comedians (the ones who are intentionally funny) and also Amy Sedaris doing some single person sketches that have a bit of fun with some web memes. Here it is:
If Sedaris ever has a cocktail party with all those web-themed treats, let me know. Yum.
Since PBS is decentralized, the airtime (and date for that matter) might be different for Make ’Em Laugh. You should check the schedule at the Make ‘Em Laugh site to find out when it’s on in your area.
Just yesterday Adult Swim officially shut down Super Deluxe. And not everything got moved over to its new home on AdultSwim.
Making the cut were some naturals… Bob Odenkirk and Brad Neely and a surprise but personal favorite, Y’all So Stupid. Tim & Eric’s work will also be up there, although it’s not yet. But lots of creators have apparently been left in the lurch and isurprise by this.
Among them, Bill Doty of Fark TV. As he states that he knew this was coming, but:
I wasn’t clear how’d they organize our shows or display the current info and stats.
...I replied to Turner asking if they’d eventually show our episodes again and they said… nothing. No response. Who loves ya baby!
P.S. VP Paul Condolora, Suck it!
Paul’s the Cartoon Network New Media guy. Just to make that clear, that it’s not a random “Suck it!”
According to a post by Peter Atencio, who co-wrote and shot Jonah Ray’s “Freeloaders Guide to Easy Living”, dropping the content went against early promises by the company.
Fortunately, for Peter, he’s got the videos he made at hand. So he posted his “Freeloader Guide” up on Vimeo, which I imagine will be the fate of quite a few things. (Other videos by creators have made it to Funny or Die.) Paul’s not doing so bad either - Fark TV lives to some degree on Comedy.com now.
Still this has to be disheartening as SuperDeluxe was, despite its failure, a great treasure trove of funny stuff. If you where any SuperDeluxe original is living now, please post it in the comments and I’ll update this post accordingly. (particularly curious about things such as “PriceMeanwhile, here’s that first episode of “Freeloaders Guide to Easy Living.”
Another group taken by surprise: Olde English, which as group member Adam Conover states, renders “two years of Olde English videos inaccessible.”
Monty Python just created an original YouTube channel. Here’s the announcement, pointing out how regularly their classic sketches made it to the video site, and then concludes with a funny but not unsubtle appeal to people’s better natures to buy the stuff if they like it so much.
The sketch group was an early adopter the web, so I’m a little surprised that they didn’t do this sooner. But naturally, when they do it, it’s done right: putting up the definitive versions of their sketches at the best quality possible. And the commercial inducement is actually restrained, not mentioning the recently released Flying Circus Megaset, which happens to coincide with the launch of the YouTube channel. (Note: I am not so shameless.)
So far there’s about 20 sketches, plus clips of what look to be new interviews (probably for said megaset) and some home movie stuff. Included in that 20 are pretty much all the usually suspects including Argument Clinic, Ministry of Silly Walks and the Black Knight. They’re definitely aiming for the stuff with mass appeal (and, as suggested, the oft-uploaded).
Of course, if you didn’t know the exhaustive amount of material produced by the Pythons, this short clip featuring Eric Idle talking about the difficulties in the writing process with three of the Pythons, you might wonder if the channel had anything at all.
Filed Under Funny 2.0
This showed up in my Facebook friend feed the other day.
It’s a side effect of Facebook only allowing you to have 5,000 friends. I think this should be considered a web 2.0 mark of popularity: when you’re forced to join your own fan group to reach your fans (rather than starting it yourself - not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
If only I had taken a screenshot of my friend feed when I saw that Michael Ian Black had just joined the I want to be tag team fucked by Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter group.