Category: Funny 2.0

iTunes Adds More Stand-Up

Filed Under Funny 2.0, Stand-Up Comedy

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.

Download Comedy Central Stand-Up on iTunes

Posted by Todd Jackson at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

Comedy Genre Comes to iTunes

Filed Under Funny 2.0, Records

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

Posted by Todd Jackson at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

Ricky Gervais Show Podcasting now

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.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 07:12 AM | Comments (0) It’s possible.

Filed Under Funny 2.0

Remerging for the first time since 2001, 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, 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, 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 team will make more original content for the web. Interested? You can sign up here.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

Almost as Hilarious as Myers-Briggs

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.

Posted by Todd Jackson at 11:24 PM | Comments (3)

Sorry, Your HMO Doesn’t Cover The Pacifier

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.)

Posted by Todd Jackson at 03:48 AM | Comments (0)

Funny Video Games: No Such Animal?

Filed Under Funny 2.0

A recent article in Slate bemoans the lack of funny videogames. It’s rather cursory in the limits in the medium to create funny content, but still interesting as a jumping off point. As Variety’s EEG blog points out the usual suspect of lack of quality writing certainly doesn’t help. But it might just a fundamental problem of the medium.

I do think videogames can be funny, but I don’t think intentionally funny is a possibility. Recently I played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with a friend. In the game, we climbed to the top of a mountain and began to take great delight in driving vehicles off the top, bailing out midair and activating a parachute so we could float down safely watching the car hit bottom in a satisfying explosion from a safe distance. The third time we did this, we realized that we had failed to acquire a parachute at the exact moment we bailed out of the car mid air. There was only one thing to do as we watched our avatar plunge to his death.

We laughed. Hard.

Video games, like comic books, are mostly adolescent power fantasies. You attempt fantastic feats against overwhelming obstacles, mimicking an action movie. Being competent and skilled are not qualities you put into a comedic protagonist. Comedy protagonists may struggle against overwhelming obstacles, but usually those obstacles are their own stupidity, greed or other character flaw. Not exactly qualities that makes for the visceral escapism of a video game. The best you can hope for is a comedic action character… an Axel Foley covered in Fur.

The great thing about the parachute mishap was that the game was built for me to make my own fun, also allowing me the freedom to let my human failings to create a moment of slapstick. It’s not intrinsically funny, but if you create a funny action (like a gun that shoots, oh, cows), after a while the humor of the items gets superceded by the function of the item (a gun destroys enemies, even if it shoots mooing cows). Humor is based on surprise. Shoot a cow gun 1,000 times, the surprise is gone.

However, I think satire is actually possible in videogames, which is one of the reasons I like the GTA series. Grand Theft Auto paints an exaggerated version of the world that you can dive inside… highlighting how crazy our own is. Though it aspires to realism in many details, including violence, these thing only serve to ground the series enough so that the satirical details of thug life and the early 90s come through even sharper. It’s pretty impressive experience design and makes me wonder how other games set in a satirical world would work. An adventure game in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil anyone?

Posted by Todd Jackson at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)
Page 6 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 4 5 6 7 >