If comedy is your thing, the Web can be a funny place. Finding the laughs, however, is no laughing matter.
I thought it would be easy to put together a review of my top 5 or 10 comedy video podcasts. But narrowing down favorite comedy into 5 or 10 shows is like finding my 5 favorite grains of sand on a California beach.
So instead of 5 or 10 video podcast comedies, I’ve collected some of my favorite places to find video comedy on the Web. I’ll mostly leave it up to your funny bone to find something that makes you laugh, although I’ve snuck in a few for your viewing pleasure.
Comedy Central is one of the first places to look for comedy video on the Web, just like it is when you’re looking for laughs from the television. I like the fact it’s semi-organized, which YouTube is but isn’t, if you know what I mean. I can find comedy videos at YouTube, and user ratings help me find good clips, but it’s a lot of work and you never really know what you’re going to find.
The folks at Comedy Central have taken care of that for me on the Web. There’s the big-dog stuff from Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and South Park, but there’s also Web Shows (produced for Web consumption) like “All Access: Middle Ages,” “Balloon Heads.” “Good God.” “Guacamole,” and “Meet the Creeps.” You can download, or subscribe to, stand-up comedy segments from shows such as Motherload Web Shows, Stand-up, and Live at Gotham at the iTunes Music Store.
Another great source for comedy video on the Web is through Comedy Central’s Insider blog. Here I found comedians I’d never heard of, links to their sites, and occasional videos to watch or download.
Stepping away from Comedy Central, but not too far, is Cracked.com, another site that features comics, videos, articles, listings for comedy clubs, viral videos, original productions, and cartoons. You can spend a lot of time poking around in here. I did.
Louis C.K. is a fairly accomplished comedian and has an impressive web presence. His site includes “Best Of” video clips, as well as a link to purchase his HBO Comedy Special on DVD. He’s also on MySpace, with more show links, and some really funny and surprising stuff (the meaning of the Catholic church is one of them).
Louis C.K. represents a lot of comedians on the Web who are using a variety of strategies, tools, and networks to get their name and material to the masses.
Funny or Die
Funny or Die was launched earlier this year amid much fanfare and is an excellent source for quality “professional” to amateur comedy videos. Funny or Die is a site that has the financial backing of Sequoia Capital, the same Silicon Valley investment firm that socked money early into two startup companies called Google and YouTube.
Funny or Die also launched on the heels of a little video that took 45 minutes to shoot and cost nearly nothing to make — “The Landlord,” featuring comedian Will Farrell and a potty-mouthed, cute 2-year-old named Pearl. By the end of May it had been viewed more than 30 million times. The sequel — and Pearl’s final cinematic performance — was “Good Cop, Baby Cop” was equally as funny. As Pearl says so convincingly, “I break bones and laugh.”
Comedy365 launched in June 2005 as an online radio station and became a place for up-and-coming talent on the fringe of London. What I liked about the site is it collects YouTube comedy videos, through selections of the week, and allows me to cut through the crap — the laughing baby videos and skateboarding dogs that have been viewed 6,496,983 times but are known to kill brain cells.
I love the tag line for Secret Pants: Sketch Comedy for People Who Don’t Like People. Sketch Pants includes, obviously, sketches, but also bios of the sketchers, photos, tour information, and such. The latest is “The Franklin Pleaser”, which really made me laugh once I figured out what the pleaser was all about (wink wink).
All Day Breakfast
All Day Breakfast is “authentic video comedy” served up in a diner-like manner, complete with Today’s Comedy Specials. On tap, “The Wild Burger,” “The Jingle Man,” “Lucky Stalin.” and my favorite commercial, “Dumbass.”
iTunes Music Store
The iTMS, naturally, includes comedy video podcasts, but surprisingly they were not nearly as easy to find and I had hoped. Featured comedy video podcasts include the same old, same old: “French Maid TV” (yawn), “Tiki Bar TV” (funny a while ago, but yawn), “Joe Cartoon” (been there, done that), “Ask A Ninja” and “Ze Frank” (both favorites, as you know, but been there, done that, too), “Cute with Chris” (cute and cuddly animals mixed with not-so-funny satire), Mark Day’s “For Parody Purposes Only” (great accent and look, but no where near as insightful or funny as the Ninja or Ze Frank.).
One show I found refreshing, oddly enough, was “Happy Slip,” which appears to be written, produced, and acted by solely by a woman named Christine. I’m hooked on Soap Opera, a nice satire on those shows my wife watches all the time.
All of the sites listed provide browser-based viewers for their clips. Many allow downloads to your computer in the Quicktime format or iPod-compatible standards. Some, but not all, 0f the shows can be found at the iTunes Music Store, but search directly and do not rely on directories as the shows may be buried.
Note: This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please feel free to add your own favorite comedy video destinations in the comments.