This Week in Web Videos: 5 Absurd One-Offs You Need to See

fivevideosIt's no secret that I'm a lover of the absurd. Or maybe it is. Maybe it was, I should say. It shouldn't be anymore since I just told you. Anyway, here are 5 ridiculous one-off videos that I've been meaning to post for a while. I think it's quite important that you all take a few moments to watch them all. I promise you'll feel better after. READ MORE


This Week in Web Videos: 'Business Time'

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 9.54.22 PMAs creatives, we're encouraged to think outside the box, prompted with loosey goosey questions like "If you could make anything in the world, what would you make?" and "What happens when you take away all the barriers?" These are great thought exercises, usually propagated by drama teachers with flowing scarves and extreme halitosis, but the hard truth of the matter is: real world creativity has a limit…and it's always green. Yet, stunning creative feats can still be accomplished if the artist is talented enough to work within the confines of limited resources. In fact, it is often under these circumstances that the simplest and most laudable ideas are born. Anyone can make something cool with all the money in the world. Few can no it with next to none. Just ask Alex Herrald, creator and star of Business Time and a most strategic creative mind. READ MORE


This Week in Web Videos: 'The Return of Saturn'

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 9.34.09 PMHappy 2015, everybody! Are you feeling reborn? Are you feeling resolute? Are you feeling insatiably horny? Good, me neither. Well, I'm kind of horny but that comes and goes. I'm also inspired after speaking with Abby Holland, writer and creator of The Return of Saturn (mightily directed and edited by Geoffrey Stevens). Motivated by a hard time in her life, Abby turned to creating as a therapeutic outlet…as many artists do. In the process, she achieved what many artists cannot, an honest picture of a life in the throes of crisis. She took a risk in putting her whole self out for the world to see and ended up with a brave series that's as funny as it is crushing. Most of all, her efforts teach an important lesson: No matter what happens this year — good or bad — every single experience can be turned into a comedic positive if you're willing to go balls (or vaginas) out. READ MORE


The Definitive 'Best Web Series of 2014' List

bestwebvideos2014You're going to see a lot of lists over the next 2 weeks. "Best of This" and "Best of That." Everything you've consumed or thought about consuming this year will be put into a sort of arbitrary context by some oaf who doesn't much like spending time with family and does like listing the 10 or 20 or 100 things he or she thinks are "super legit." It's pathetic, presumptuous, and totally subjective. This is not one of those lists for one reason and one reason only: it's definitive, objective, and 100% right in every way. You could argue with the selections, but you'd be wrong. So don't embarrass yourself. Read below and get in the know (#rhyme2014). These are the five best web series of the year.

(Listen: if you disagree, that's totally cool. There's a ton of really great stuff that came out this year. These are just straight up gut calls. I actually had a list of like 75 at first. Then I chopped it down because Adam Frucci yelled. He wasn't mad, he just…Anyway, everyone this column covered this year is great and should feel really proud. Don't let lists like this define you.)

Do not test me on this. These are the 5 and I'm VERY sure of that. Get it? READ MORE


This Week in Web Videos: 'Neighbors'

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.16.40 PMDo what you want all the time and, even when you're not funny, chances are you'll learn something about how to be funnier. That's the gist of the advice Jackie Jennings gives and after watching her great series Neighbors, it's pretty clear that this strategy works. So, learn about the science of comedy by taking some classes and reading some stuff (ummmm, this column much?!) and then, once you've got an idea that you believe in, don't listen to the haters and the blowhards and just make what you want. If you've got talent, seeds of your ability will be present in your earliest attempts at originality. If you don't, well…you can still read this column. READ MORE


This Week in Web Videos: 'SingleDumb'

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.32.02 PMI'm self-centered, terrified of insects, and–I think–not the best kisser in the world. Those are three deeply personal things about me that I wrote on a blog read by THOUSANDS. Why? Because that's what writers do. We share very intimate details about ourselves and our innermost thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts are inarguably personal, like mine just were, and sometimes they're presented under the cloak of characters in our work. Either way, strong creative requires a suspension of an innate fear all of us have: to be seen as "other." Alexandra Kern has successfully suspended that fear. She lets her true self out, and that's why SingleDumb is not only worth watching, but also brave. Also, I'm not like a TERRIBLE kisser. I just don't love kissing and think I do other stuff better. Cool? READ MORE


This Week In Web Videos: 'Yellow Brick Hell'

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.23.02 PMI love UCB. Oh man, do I love it. Training there has created so many opportunities for me and introduced me to so many wonderful people. Nothing will ever take that away. But really talented writer/performers do come from other places. In this era when being a UCB'er seems to be synonymous with holding a golden comedy ticket (or at least having one on layaway), it's easy to forget that many folks not in the core group of 200 or so Brigade talents are still really fucking good. Rob Asaro, though he trained at UCB for a time, is by all accounts an outlier and his Yellow Brick Hell (co-written by Matt Cohen and directed by Justyn T. Davis) proves once and for all that talent comes from anywhere and everywhere…as long as it's New York, Chicago, or LA. Kidding! The suburbs of all those cities often breed very funny people. READ MORE


This Week In Web Videos: 'The Ferrero Rochers Camping Trip'

Sorry Werther's Original, you're no longer the go-to joke candy and it's all thanks to Paul Briganti and his big camping tent full of Ferrero Rochers. In the latest from CollegeHumor's newish alt comedy vertical CH2, we're reacquainted with the power of the intensely obscure as we watch Briganti put on a clinic in executing the number one rule of digital comedy: BE SPECIFIC.

Though set in a relatable frame (couple's getaway, yada yada), the genius of this piece is Briganti's laser focus on a chocolate everyone recognizes and pretty much no one has ever thought about. For 3:27, he canvasses every square inch of this tiny absurd world he's created while we guffaw at his originality.

Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.


This Week In Web Videos: 'Gary Saves the Graveyard'

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.19.07 AM
The first time I spoke with UCB Creative Director Todd Bieber was three and a half years ago and I had no idea what I was talking about. I was thinking of leaving my post-college job at Morgan Stanley and accepting a position at a small production company in New York. After completing UCB's Sketch 101 program, I figured I knew enough about digital comedy to call Todd and ask if he'd be interested in doing some web series collaborations. He was polite and he didn't want to. Flash forward to now. Years of working with UCB and its talent — including Todd — have passed and I get to speak to Mr. Bieber again about a fantastic series he created with the help of so many others I know and love. This time I felt like I knew what I was talking about, and a lot of that is due to the UCB community's tutelage, their acute understanding of comedy not just as a craft but as a commitment that takes a lot more than a phone call. READ MORE


This Week In Web Videos: 'BedHead'

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.07.28 AMLooking for immediate satisfaction? Don’t fucking make comedy.

Sorry. That was a lot.

What I really mean to say is: with very few exceptions, special comedy takes a long time to develop. Whether we’re talking about cultivating a writing style, honing a stand up routine or, in the case of BedHead, readying a really funny series for digital air, the stuff we comedy fans love the most is the stuff into which blood, sweat, and tears have been dumped by the bucket load. Those creators looking for an easy road to success or even a smooth ride to project realization need to re-evaluate why they’re embarking on a quest that promises to be totally maddening—creatively, logistically, financially, and emotionally. They need to realize that comedy worth making is often the kind that almost doesn’t get made at all.

And now we present to you a web series two long years in the making, the immensely impressive BedHead. READ MORE


This Week In Web Videos: '10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Jew'

Scott Rogowsky is no stranger to the e-pages of our fine site. Just look here and here if you don't believe me. And today, this column features Scott an unprecedented third time…but why? One cynical answer may be because Scott and I have the same alma mater. (That's not the reason, though any humorous person from Johns Hopkins is a rarity who should be celebrated repeatedly.) No, the real fact of the matter is: Scott is one of the best I've seen at capitalizing on current events to create low-budget videos that get press. What impresses me most about Scott is not just that he's funny, it's his ability to find a unique take on issues he knows are top of mind for media outlets. That vision, paired with his DIY prowess and tenacity on the old QWERTY, has made him a repeated "viral" talking point and a role model for all those newbies wondering how they should splash onto the comedy scene. Well done, Scott. Well done yet again.

Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.


This Week In Web Videos: 'Todd Halloween'

Originality is as crucial as it is difficult to achieve. That's true of any pursuit, not just comedy. The thing is: if you're unoriginal in heart surgery or tax preparation or landscaping, it's not a bad thing. "This person gets it," your clients might say about you and, while you're not breaking new ground, you're…stalwart. But in the arts, innovation is key. Derivativeness is only tolerable in the smallest of doses, as a stepping stone for the non-creatives in your audience, a relatable touchpoint that level sets them before descending into maddening newness. Ben Seeder's short Todd Halloween, directed by Andy DeYoung, is decidedly in the "fuck touchpoints" camp. Many people will not understand why this is brilliant. For those who do, it's an inspiration to reach beyond the temptation to put a "twist" on what's familiar. It's a reminder that, in an industry full of strivers, the best way to be remembered is to blow the doors off "comfortable."

How did you get your start in comedy?

Ben Seeder: I’m originally from Chicago and I started performing at iO years ago when I was 19. I did a bunch of shows at iO and Annoyance and did the whole Second City conservatory program. I did a whole bunch of shows all over town. I moved to LA with a sketch partner of mine based off a show that we did. I’ve been here for about six years now. I went to DePaul University so I was lucky because I got to get a start at doing improv early because I was already there as opposed to having to wait until after college. I was in the thick of it.

And you were in We Bought a Zoo.

Yeah, that was great. I had shot a bunch of commercials while I was here and had been on hold for a couple of shows that didn’t really go anywhere so that was kind of a great boost of confidence to be picked by Cameron. He’s a great guy and I just learned so much from him being on set. He’s someone where I really lucked out on because he’s in that select group of directors like Apatow, Lorne Michaels, and Christopher Guest who get to call the shots a little bit more than a regular director would. READ MORE


This Week In Web Videos: 'The Middle Ages'

I made my first comedy video just over three years ago. Watching it again just now, a few things are apparent. Thing one: The script holds up. I wrote it in a UCB sketch 101 class and it still makes me laugh. Thing two (shitty sound) and three (my bad acting) make me cringe but I'm still really glad I did it and I'm really glad it's forever online. It started me down a path that's led to doing something I love: making more, gradually better videos, and watching it every once in a while reminds me of the transformative power of filming something you created.

This week's selection is an ode to that power and a celebration of new, talented filmmakers like Chelsea Catalanotto and Jesse Brenneman. In three years, they'll likely look back on Middle Ages, viewed just 172 times, and think "The sound's a little shoddy" and "The color's kind of blown out." Then they'll watch it again for the great idea, for the writing, for how fun it was to just do something they really wanted to do and they'll think "That was one of the ones that started it" and they'll be as proud as they should be.

Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.


This Week In Web Videos: 'Roomsies'

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 5.48.17 PMWriting lines down in Final Draft does not a screenwriter make. That kind of writing requires training, an understanding of story structure, an ability to re-write until you want to curl up in a ball and go to law school like the rest of your friends (JK, Steve — I love you, dawg!) and then re-write some more. Jenny Donheiser and Meagan Kensil have respect for the process and have decided to devote their lives to it. Their goal isn’t just to “become writers,” it’s to become better and with this as a starting point, it’s safe to say they’ve got some very green, LSAT-free pastures ahead. READ MORE