[VIDEO] IT BETTER BE FUNNY: YouTube Comedy Week Premieres May 19th
Comedy stars unite with up-and-comers for seven-day, laugh-out-loud showcase on YouTube in May. From the 19th – 25th, YouTube will upload and unload a paramount of punch-lines, routines and, hopefully, laughter hosting its first ever Comedy Week. Kicking off Sunday with the Big Live Comedy Show at 6pm PT/8pm ET and pre-show an hour prior, the event streams live on YouTube’s user channel under direction of MTV Movie Awards veteran Joel Gallen. Audiences can also live chat via YouTube during the collaborative collection of humorous entertainment. A quick glance at the 150+ name roster (view below) and audiences know some hilariously funny yet ethically questionable bits are headed our way in a super-serving of stand-up mixed with sketches and musical performances. Throughout the week from Los Angeles’ Culver Studios, a series of live shows, new episodes from popular channels, and curated playlists will saturate domestic and international internet bandwidths. Giving audiences a sneak peak and teaser taste of the festivities, the Google Inc. owned site issued several short promotional videos: ‘Rap’, ‘Exquisite’, ‘Naked’ etc. Even “The Office” creator Ricky Gervais and California “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger make appearances. In the premiere promotion ‘The Shoot’, a bragging announcer, presenting a selection of acts, claims this event to be the funniest, most important thing ever; much to the confusion and skepticism of the featured artists: THE LONELY ISLAND A trio troupe comprised of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Making videos since September 2000, the ‘world-renowned fake rappers’ are famous for their musical digital shorts: ‘Great Day’, Threw It On The Ground, Like A Boss, I’m On A Boat etc. Samberg’s high-profile stints include SNL cast member and film actor. LATEST VIDEO / PROJECT: The Wack Album. DAILY GRACE | GRACE HELBIG Grace Helbig’s “DailyGrace” channel is a daily vlog series and part of the My Damn Channel Network. Helbig recently reached 1 million subscribers discussing her success and thoughts on collaboration in an interview. LATEST VIDEO / PROJECT: Sexy Swim Suits RYAN HIGA Creator and YouTube star of the Nigahiga channel and co-founder of the YOMYOMF Network, along with Fast Six director Justin Lin. LATEST VIDEO / PROJECT: Immature Guys JASH | SARAH SILVERMAN Comedian and writer from “The Sarah Silverman Program” and one of the founders of the JASH channel. Also founded by Michael Cera, Tim and Eric, and Reggie Watts. LATEST VIDEO/PROJECT: Michael Cera in Gregory Go Boom (Trailer) RAINN WILSON | SOULPANCAKE Actor from ‘The Office’ and founder of the SoulPancake channel where Wilson and his friends (Kid President!) invite you to open your heart without feeling like an idiot. Stuff THAT in your brain hole. LATEST VIDEO / PROJECT: SubCultures – Cosplay EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY (ERB) Maker Studios’ record-breaking series created by Peter Shukoff (aka Nice Peter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (aka EpicLLOYD), features comedic altercations between historical and pop culture figures in a rap music format. LATEST VIDEO / PROJECT: Rasputin vs Stalin. ERB Season 2 finale EPIC MEAL TIME Home of the “Sauce Boss.” They make your dreams come true with recipes like Whiskey Syrup Bacon Pancakes…and then they eat them. LATEST VIDEO / PROJECT: Bacon Arachnid … And MANY MORE While the above few have received top billing and mention, many individuals and entities are anticipated to appear and contribute. Such names include Vince Vaughn, Key & Peele, The Onion, CollegeHumor, Hannibal Buress, Smosh, Danisnotonfire, and Jenna Marbles who recently became the number-two most subscribed-to user of all time. Several contributors have used YouTube as a launch-pad from the amateur ranks of aspirant and wannabe becoming full-fledged Hollywood powerhouses in television, internet, and film. Danielle Tiedt, Vice President of Marketing, commented to the Associated Press and Wired.com: “We’re hoping to do this in a pretty regular rhythm… You’ll see several of these coming from us, for sure, as we highlight really big areas that we think are amazing areas of strength for YouTube.” For all, this event may represent and breed a paradigm shift in entertainment; given the internet’s uncensored nature and stagnant status of CISPA, SOPA and similar bills. For viewers, the immediacy and convergence of their favorite stars from various outlets will be an exciting feat. James McQuivey, Forrester principal analyst and Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation author, explained to Wire.com that this “is a fertile ‘middle ground’ that could take off once audiences have made it clear they will spend a lot of time watching and sharing these videos.” For entertainers, content producers, and networks, it’s a place without walls to explore their wildest comedic limbs and do things that could never be done on mainstream television. Specifically, for up-and-coming entertainers it’s an opportunity to make steps towards network opportunities and be seen with their television-worthy shows. TV network stars, some never having been on YouTube, can reach previously untapped audiences and experiment with taboo, risky concepts. Overall, that’s the beauty of the ‘cyber extravaganza’: its innate rawness. As Sarah Silverman told Wired.com: It’s just [boundless] … There’s no middle man. Nobody has to approve a script; nobody has to look at a script. There doesn’t even have to be a script…. [it’s] a home to do whatever the fuck we want.” Executive Producer Daniel Kellison further commented on the unpredictability and “tremendously daunting” task of Comedy Week “It’s a massive undertaking… If you try to organize it all and figure it all out, you’ll drown. It’s not possible. A few missteps are inevitable. But the plan isn’t to put on a slickly produced show, but something more lo-fi and relaxed.” Writer Angela Watercutter notes: Since the inception of web video, most of what’s gone viral has been funny in one way or another and that’s what most people are looking for when they fire up YouTube. During the week, which AP’s Jake Coyle proclaims will be ‘the biggest open mic on the planet’, Comedy Gives Back, an organization that uses laughter to better the world, will also be present and partnering with the JASH network on an international comedy show Monday May 20th. Tubefilter reports tickets are free as Comedy Gives Back will attempt to drum up support for its main project: a 24-hour live streamed comedy event on November 6th: “The event will work with the Malaria No More charity to help Africa fight the deadly disease, which kills thousands of the continent’s inhabitants every day. To help promote the show, Comedy No More has released a promo video featuring Dane Cook, Kevin Nealon, Adam Devine, and other comedians who are very interested in kicking malaria’s ass.” Being a juggernaut leader of online entertainment with 1 billion users, YouTube has created a platform and opportunity that gives shine to its most popular comedic content host/producers. Comedy is currently one third of the sites most popular channels and just behind music as one of the most popular genres. Read about YouTube’s The You Generation and their competition searching for the next big internet comedian (closes May 31st) or visit Wired.com to learn more about the event’s producer and his prior experience with Jimmy Kimmel Live!