Really funny people doing really funny things.
That's what we're all about here at Splitsider. And this column's about really funny people doing really funny things…online. SO. When I caught "First Look: Ultimate Teaser Trailer", FunnyorDie's promo for IFC's new podcast-inspired show, Comedy Bang Bang, my heart fluttered a special kind of flutter.
As loyal This Week In Web Videos readers know, I'm a sucker for a good tongue-in-cheek trailer (aren't we all?), and this celeb-ridden gem took me over the top of the LOL precipice more times than I'd care to admit. But aside from being really entertaining, it's one of the most textbook examples of how to structure a funny web video and a solidification of a UCB training model based upon choosing a clear "game" or comedic purpose (in this case, a dramatic movie trailer parody) and heightening quickly within that established framework.
Take note all ye producers of web video: what we have here is a rubric for online comedy success, and it applies to any sketch, faux trailer or not. Though there are, of course, exceptions to these rules (exceptions that, as we've seen on our journey together, have resulted in some really good stuff), no one will ever fault you for abiding by the tenets championed in this video. Instead of giving you three reasons to check out a sub 2-minute hilarious piece that, frankly, you should just watch, I'll sum up FIVE thoughts on why this puppy barks so loud.
1. Clear, familiar game
Unlike scenes in movies or TV shows which can be more broadly, situationally funny, sketches of any type need to be oriented around a single joke. The more specific the better, and the more relatable the better. Remember, you want audience members to have that "I couldn't have said it better myself!" reaction.
2. Perfect mapping
Especially true in parody, sketch beats need to be sillier versions of real beats in the thing you're parodying. Every joke in the Ultimate Teaser Trailer was an instantly recognizable jab at something we've seen in about 1,000 movies and that’s why it works so well.
3. Quick heightening
Mapping has to be spot on, but it should also be funny. The quicker you go from introductory jokes to out-of-the-box stuff (like the referee’s "I used to be the best" beat or Andy Richter’s "The calls are coming from inside the baby" beat) the better.
4. Short length
I can think of plenty of exceptions to this, but it's always better to keep sketches (and web videos) on the shorter side, even if you're really famous. Less chance of audiences getting bored and clicking away.
5. Celeb cameos
Not necessary by any means, but very nice to have.