Jokes To Go: A Guide to Mobile Comedy
Between the rise of Twitter, Tumblr, podcasts, and web videos, it’s no secret that mobile comedy is quickly becoming the next big thing. While the accuracy and relevance of TV ratings continue to dwindle, online view counts, retweets, and comedian/fan interconnection have flourished and changed the way we discover and share our favorite performers, and in turn how they choose to release and promote their work. Few forms of entertainment are better designed for on-the-go enjoyment than comedy, and a bevy of websites, production companies, and comedians have taken advantage of the age of constant mobile connectivity to redefine comedy as we know it. Here’s a list of some of these phone-friendly humor outlets.
Comedy Central has taken the lead on the emerging second-screen phenom — apps like Comedy Central: On Air, Tosh.0, The Daily Show Headlines, and Colbert’s The Word all use it, and TV events like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s The Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear and the Roseanne roast were made more accessible and interactive with apps like the Roast Dashboard, which includes tweets, live video feed, GIFs, and a roastee reaction cam. In January, Comedy Central also launched the CC Stand-Up app, which let fans watch, vote, and help program their Friday night stand-up lineup for the month. Just imagine if NBC did the same for their Tuesday and Thursday night comedies.
In addition to the launch of Thing X — Adult Swim‘s collaborative website with a group of former Onion writers — the network has also melded their programming with the Adult Swim app, in which you can stream clips and full episodes of shows like Delocated, Tim and Eric Show Great Job!, Family Guy, Venture Bros, and more and check their full TV schedule to see when your favorite shows air new episodes. You’ll never realize how much your life was lacking until you’re able to watch full episodes of Children’s Hospital while waiting for your urologist appointment.
Funny Or Die
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die has been pumping out celebrity-filled web videos since its viral hit “The Landlord” in 2007. Since then it’s expanded to include sections for writing, pictures, politics, and podcasts and is also available in Apple/Android app form. Because sometimes you’re on a boring train ride and nothing hits the spot like a few episodes of “Drunk History.”
Much like Funny Or Die, CollegeHumor also has an app version and offers a range of funny nerd-centric videos to writing to content created by both CH’s in-house editorial staff as well as user submissions. “Hardly Working” never seemed so meta.
Above Average Productions
Lorne Michaels’ Above Average Productions was launched in June 2012, and their YouTube channel already boasts over 80 videos and counting (including Mike O’Brien’s “7 Minutes in Heaven” and “The Cool Kids Table,” created by three Onion writers). Most shorts run under four minutes long, which makes it a good channel to bookmark for your next boring waiting room moment. When SNL is on summer hiatus, you can still catch plenty of cast members here like Bill Hader, Kenan Thompson, and Fred Armisen, 30 Rock’s John Lutz, YouTube notables Mikey Day, Michael Naughton, and Andrew Friedman, as well as video sketch teams like BriTANicK, Harvard Sailing Team, and The Lonely Island.
Jash/Video Podcast Network
Last week, we announced the upcoming launch of two new YouTube channels Jash and Video Podcast Network, both founded by Man Show co-creator Daniel Kellison and featuring talent like Sarah Silverman, Adam Carolla, Michael Cera, Tim & Eric, and Reggie Watts. While Jash will serve as a web series “comedy collective,” Video Podcast Network will allow podcast fans to experience their favorite participating shows in video form, or what Carolla calls “the next step in the traditional network model’s march to irrelevance.” Both channels are set to premiere in January 2013.
No mobile medium has redefined comedy quite like Twitter. Sure, at first it seemed like it would just be an extension of boringly mundane Facebook status updates, but the 140-character joke has since become nothing short of an art form as well as a launching pad for both huge stars (Steve Martin, Jimmy Fallon, Patton Oswalt) as well as relative unknowns (Megan Amram, Rob Delaney, Kelly Oxford) to gain more fans, not to mention book deals and network shows. Because let’s be honest, Twitter’s only good for two things — breaking news updates and learning that Louis C.K.’s favorite ice cream flavor is “dicks.”
Witstream AKA the “24-hour live comedy ticker” is the quickest and easiest way to access comedian-approved tweets and separates the funny from the boringly mundane tweeters so you don’t have to. It’s also a more concentrated way for comedians to promote albums and appearances, and you can scroll through a constantly updated list of upcoming stand-up shows. Witstream features writers from Saturday Night Live, The Onion, The Daily Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and more, and is run by television producer Lisa Cohen alongside comedian Michael Ian Black.
If you’re looking to read funny stuff without a 140-character limit, Tumblr is not only the best place for GIFs, but it’s become a legitimate avenue for some of the most thoughtful and provocative comedy-related discussions and debates where the audience has just as much input as performers, which can result in some heated arguments (see Toshgate) as well as emotional revelations (see Chris Gethard’s moving response to a suicidal fan). If you’re not into the controversy though, you can always just go there for the GIFs.
Sometimes you don’t have time to watch a video, read a blog post, or scroll through Twitter, but if you have Instagram on your phone it’s easy to find and add comedians to get extra behind-the-scenes peeks into their daily lives. To get started, check out our list of “10 Comedians on Instagram You Really Should Be Following.” Because where else can you see Joe Mande’s Parks and Rec lunch orders, screen shots of Chelsea Peretti’s personal emails, and John Hodgman’s Scrabble progress?
If you’re more of the blog readin’ type, several several popular comedy news and humor writing websites have their own Apple/Android-friendly apps you can download like The AV Club’s TV Club (for recaps and reviews), The Onion News Network (for faux headlines you can trick your grandparents with), Cracked (for the best useless knowledge), and The New Yorker and McSweeney’s (for the more serious humorist fans). But if you’d rather have all of your internet reading in one place, you can also download and customize your blog reading via apps like Flipboard, which consolidates as many websites as you want into one magazine-like page.
Whether you’re looking for interviews with comedians, hilarious improvisers at work, or just funny people having funny conversations, you can start with our own Splitsider Podcast Network, which features shows like You Had to Be There, Left Handed Radio, and A Funny Thing. You can also download apps from the biggest podcast networks (Earwolf, Nerdist, ACE, and SModcast all have Apple/Android compatible apps), podcast-specific apps (like Marc Maron and Joe Rogan), or you can keep everything in one place with a podcast manager like Doggcatcher. Pandora’s app also has a comedy channel that gives you personalized recommendations in case you’re looking to stumble upon a new discovery.
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