Internet comedy is a scary arena. There is more good comedy on the web than any one person could ever consume; there's also an over-whelming amount of garbage. In particular, good sketch videos are a tall order, as they require both funny, original ideas and solid production know-how to compete in the dark void that is YouTube. Producing one is hard enough, and the groups who can produce consistently will make up the the next generation of comedy writers, directors, and actors. To help you wade through the digital landscape, we've assembled a list (in no particular order) of 11 of our favorite video sketch groups.
NYU grads Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher have been putting out videos since 2008. They also perform regularly at UCB in New York, are the voices of the Cartoon Network, and appear in the new Joss Whedon film Much Ado About Nothing.
The guys aren't shy about stripping down in their videos, as in their most popular video featuring an excellent celebrity cameo, and this one above.
This video production group, made up of Andrew Ford, Daniel Spenser, Michael Antonucci, and Steven Levine, just completed a series for Above Average Productions. “We have a saying at Captain Hippo: ‘We’re the best, as far as you know.’”
Fans of dramatic, action movie parodies, the first episode of the Above Average Trilogy "I Expect You To Die" features cameos from Kate McKinnon and Alex Baze, above.
The New York based-sketch group, comprised of Geoff Haggerty, Stefan Lawrence, Chris Principe, Jeff Solomon, and Alexander Zalben, was founded in 2002 by former members of Cornell University's sketch comedy group, the Skits-O-Phrenics. The group performs at the PIT in New York.
The first in their recent Above Average series "The Lineup" features a delightful cameo from John Hodgman.
Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello have been creating video sketches as Paulilu since 2007. The LA-based duo is currently running their show, "Paul Downs: Full Blown Downs at the UCB Theatre. Their weekly series, "Paulilu Mixtape", appeared last year on Above Average Productions.
In the first in their "Diary of Zac Efron" series, our hero has a near death experience.
The four (male) members of this Los Angeles-based troupe — Jake Weisman, Dave Ross, Allen Strickland, and Pat Bishop — are standups as well, and they can be seen individually and as a group around LA.
The group favors short, absurd, and sometimes brutal videos.
This New York sketch group features writer/performers Lucas Klauss, Matt Moskovciak, and Ben Stadler, who can be seen at UCB and the PIT in New York. Their videos often star UCB favorites like Neil Casey and Will Hines.
One of their most popular is this trio of spoof local commercials for an unfortunately-named laundromat.
This New York-based sketch group, made up of Rob Lathan, Pete Schultz, Ryan Schultz, Christine Nangle, and Brandon Bassham, produces videos for UCB Comedy.
Here's the best animal-based fitness advice you're likely to get this week.
5 Second Films
This 16-person LA-based group produces a new 5-second film every weekday with the same basic structure: 2 seconds of beginning titles, 5 seconds of film, 1 second of end titles.
You can learn so much about a person in five seconds.
One of UCB's in-house video (aka Beta) teams, Scraps is a New York group consisting of Achilles Stamatelaky, Jennifer Treuting, Ed Mundy, Ryan Hunter, Angel Yau, Ben Warheit, Will Cleveland, Steve Theiss, and Trevor Williams.
The Midnight Show
This LA-sketch group also hosts a monthly show at UCB LA. The cast is made up of Heather Anne Campbell, Eric Moneypenny, Hal Rudnick, Nic Wegener, Jeff Sloniker, Joe Chandler, Curtis Rainsberry, and Jeff Kauffman, with producers Rosie Kaller, Joe Wagner, and Frank Howley.
The above video was nominated at 2012 Comedy Awards.
This sketch duo, made up of Los Angeles-based UCB performers Drew Tarver and Steve Szlaga, is relatively new but looks promising.
The above sketch is for anyone (all of us?) addicted to games on our phone.
Who did we miss? Anyone group you particularly love? Tell us in the comments!
Elise Czajkowski is a Contributing Editor at Splitsider. She's doing her best to keep up with the internet, and failing.