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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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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This Week In Web Videos: B1G Ten Trash Talk


There's like one month a year when I don't feel like a total misfit: late July/early August. Hockey fans have forgotten all about the Cup, we're weeks and weeks past the NBA Finals, and Sunday afternoon football is a distant fleck. Sure, baseball's happening but, as long as you don't live across the street from Yankees Stadium or the Green Giant, few people seem to give a fly ball fuck and, if they do, they're comparatively quiet about it. This is my time. It's when I feel good about humanity, about our collective ability to discuss things other than balls being thrown for money. But bliss is fleeting and — come September — all my faith is bulldozed by chatter of fantasy leagues and who's team sucks and "Fuck you, dude, no fucking chance in hell this year!" and so on and so forth. Again, I'm reminded how little I fit in with a society that worships, WORSHIPS the physical achievements of people they'll never meet. Am I a downer? Maybe, but that realization doesn't make me any more attuned to our national obsession with sports. It doesn't make me feel any less out of place. What it does do is make me appreciate comedy from folks who seem to feel similarly perplexed.

I absolutely love Rita Chin's B1G Ten Trash Talk, not just because it appeals to my personal sense of otherness, but because it executes a simple premise in a properly reflective way, a way that makes me realize the intellectually elitist things I choose to care about — like school rankings and graduate programs — are as arbitrary as having a terrible day because a 22-year-old missed a slap shot. In a world of so many meaningless divisions, it sometimes takes pieces like Chin's to remind us that our most fervent opinions are all equally useless.

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

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This Week In Web Videos: The Comedy of Jay Weingarten

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Jay Weingarten is a weirdo and weirdos can’t work normal jobs. Instead, they’ve got two choices: get hugely famous or end up on the very fringes of society, forever banished to parents’ basements and midday video store liquidation sales. Jay has chosen the former and, lucky for him, he’s got star chops.

How’d you get your start in comedy?

I started about three years ago. I was a huge fan of comedy and was feeling kind of like I wasn’t really doing anything at the moment. I was a fan and then eventually went into doing my first open mic. At the time, I had a pretty awful job as a consultant.

Consultant? Was that the job you got after graduating?

Yeah it felt like I was living in a David Lynch movie because I was living in this beautiful area, the Oakland hills, living in this cabin, and it was beautiful but I just really hated this job. Everyone working there just seemed like all they cared about was money. Finally, I decided to move to LA because everyone I really liked and looked up to in comedy was in LA. I was listening to a lot of Comedy Death Ray, before it became Comedy Bang! Bang!, and they were all out in LA. So I decided to finally move out and do some open mics. Then I got into hosting some open mics at this place called Echo’s Under Sunset and then doing this show called Holy Fuck that was really popular, but the people running it quit and then passed the show onto me and my friend. That was a really big step for me to have a show pretty regularly and have triple digit crowds in these electric rooms, it was so much fun. I’m doing my first tour in a couple of months; I’m really excited about that. Driving from LA to Chicago with some of my good friends, stopping in 10-12 cities in the middle of the country, it’s going to be really cool. READ MORE

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This Week In Web Videos: A Model Young Republican


People who go to Harvard are very funny. Always. 100 percent of the time. Whether they mean to be (Lampoon) or not (pastels most of the Western world struggles to classify). Tyler Hall means to be, but he has a great appreciation for those who don't, folks who put together GOP propaganda pieces like this. And like any good Harvard comedy man, he knows how to do two things: 1. recognize the delightfully absurd bits of everyday life and 2. turn those into a really incisive piece that checks both the entertainment and social commentary boxes. He also probably knows how to make a group of people aware that he went to Harvard in super casual ways like: "The weather's much better here than it is in Cambridge, Mass" and "I never liked the color crimson until college, at Harvard" and "Just so ya'll idiots know, I went to Harvard. Cool?" Our editorial team is still investigating the last one. All Harvard jokes aside, this is one of the funniest things I've seen on the Internet in a while. Just goes to show you that, when it comes to producing quality comedy, there really is no substitute for a smarty pants.

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

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This Week In Web Videos: Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong


Since yesterday afternoon, the Internet has been alight with Paul Gale. Every viral video round up you can find features the YouTube impresario's newest joint: "Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong," and, TBH, all the hype kind of made me want to ignore it. Not because it's not good, but because I like the idea that this column is largely a mouthpiece for comedy underdogs and Gale — still a bootstrapper in the broad, Hollywood sense — is no stranger to million+ view videos or subscriber counts in the tens of thousands. Then I remembered the Paul Gale of (fairly recent) days gone by, the Paul Gale fresh out of Brandeis and eager to help on any comedy set that would have him (including some of mine). He never stopped asking questions. He never stopped working. He never stopped wanting to get better. His video is the latest fruit of that tenacity and an inspiration to anyone brave enough to make plans and follow them.

This column is still for the strivers, and Gale is no exception. He's just one step closer to becoming king of the underdogs.

 

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