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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

This Week in Web Videos: Baby Big Body


So, “This Week’s Web Series You Need To Watch” took a little break to rejigger its focus and maintain its freshness. Maybe you noticed and were sad and wondered what you did to make us go away. Maybe you were busy doing other stuff and are just too nice to tell us you didn’t care all that much. Either way, we’re back…sort of. Going forward, in an effort to showcase as much quality material as possible, we’re focusing on covering not only web series, but also really special standalone web videos, like this week’s selection: Baby Big Body. Let us know what you think of the new direction and, as always, thanks for reading!

Sketches are tricky for the same reason they’re attractive. Quick, high impact, (usually) low cost manifestations of one-off ideas, they seem like a nice alternative to more involved web series productions. They’re a way for writers and actors to show the world they’re funny in a flash, without many of the “gotta keep it up” pressures that come with making a full-blown series.

The flip side is: sketches leave no room for error. There’s no arc that makes episode #3 funnier after seeing episode #2, no points awarded for cinematographically adventurous intros. With sketches, it’s “Make me laugh. Hard. Now.” Creators have fifteen seconds to capture a viewer that will, creators hope, click some combination of “like”, “share” or “tweet”. For the most seasoned web video producers, the stakes are high, the competition is rife, and the view count payoff usually isn’t commensurate with the effort put in.

That’s why coming across a piece like Baby Big Body is so special. It’s a nod to the oft-underappreciated art of Internet sketch, an elegant testament to the importance of fighting the good viral vid fight. Written and directed by Kelly Hudson, and starring Dan Chamberlain (as the Baby Big Body) and Dan Klein (as narrator), Baby Big Body comes to us from veteran Upright Citizen’s Brigade Beta team, Diamonds Wow. Classic UCB in its slightly offbeat tenor, with excellent production quality, and smart jokes that steer clear of inaccessibility, Big Body’s an example of a piece that should have some staying power. It’s also under two minutes — a huge plus for a sketch begging to be spread like wild fire.

Here are two reasons to check it. (Not that you really need two reasons to watch a video that’s under two-minutes. I mean, seriously, you can’t wait a minute and twenty-seven seconds to mop your kitchen floor? I know you can.  It won’t even take that long to clean. It’s a small kitchen. I’m watching you.)

  1. Bizarre premise: To stand out, your product has to be smart, well produced, and a little weird. Superimposing video of an infant inside a hollowed-out male head certainly fits the bill.
  2. Infomercial tone: A good idea’s worth nothing if not placed in the right comedic vessel. For instance, this video wouldn’t have been as funny if it set “Baby Big Body” at the center of a character sketch, conversing with straight man party guests in one static scenario.