Looking for Comedy Online? Join the Club
It’s a scene that the ranks of Star Wars faithful have committed to memory: Luke Skywalker, cornered by a menacing Darth Vader, clings to a thin railing, hanging on for dear life – and the future of the Rebellion – above a bottomless descent into the Cloud City. Vader delivers the familiar line, “No – I am your father,” and Luke offers his devastated response: “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” The exchange is a signature moment in movie history.
But in this version, the Sith Lord has more beans to spill. “And the Empire will be defeated by ewoks,” Vader tells his flabbergasted offspring. “And the force?” he continues: “Well, that’s just a microscopic bacteria in your bloodstream.” By now, the once-feuding pair is relaxing over a cup of coffee. This is all too much for Luke, this fraternizing with the enemy. “If you’re not going to take this seriously, I’m getting out of here,” he says to Vader, and stalks off in frustration.
So goes the famous scene in the world of “Robot Chicken,” a stop-motion animated TV series that airs on Comedy Central. Many of the series’ fans, though, know it through another source: the internet. Video-hosting Web sites like Google Video and Youtube have seen their popularity soar over the past year, and this popularity has started – in its own creeping way – to transform the way people seek out their entertainment. If Google’s recent one-billion-dollar purchase of Youtube wasn’t proof enough, then the internet itself offers plenty of evidence of the growing phenomenon. A growing number of blogs with names like “FunnyFunnyVideos.net” and “Best on Google Video” sift through the tens of millions of videos posted on the video-hosting sites to find the gems – brief clips like the segments from “Robot Chicken” – and are attracting a growing audience online.
The brief length, the accessibility, the sheer abundance of comic video clips on the internet all give the phenomenon a resemblance to an earlier entertainment revolution: the nickelodeon. Just as working people around the country flocked to see the latest slapstick comedies on hand-cranked, personal film-viewing devices at the dawn of cinema, so do millions of people scour the internet today for the edgiest, most outrageous humor. What they’re finding at sites like FunnyFunnyVideos.net and Best on Google Video represents just the tip of the internet’s vast iceberg of comedic videos – and that iceberg grows every day.
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About the Author: D.K. Schrute is a freelance writer dedicated to monitoring trends in the internet world.