About two years ago I hopped on the viral video boom and started filming sketch comedy shorts. YouTube had already become a haven for what’s essentially America’s Funniest Home Videos, so I focused on the new Funny or Die website. Kicked off by Will Ferrell’s famous The Landlord, FoD seemed to be the perfect place for aspiring sketch comedians to showcase their stuff and hope for the best. At first, this seemed to be true, but two problems quickly arose.
1.) You suck unless you’re Will Ferrell, Adam McKay or one of their friends
This isn’t to say I don’t think they’re hilarious. They are! I just seemed to notice that a video of Will Ferrell taking a dump would probably be more successful than a well thought out video of a satirical nature. Satire, as far as I know, gets absolutely HAMMERED on FoD. For instance, I saw a hilarious video (by some average Joes with no big names) that poked fun at religion and featured (I believe) a pastor who frequently became inhabited by a demon. It had a sub-50 rating. Why? Because people had to think. However, a video by Will Ferrel & co. called “Green Team” does well, because it’s just them running around, being ridiculous. Again – no problem with the video. I personally thought it was hilarious and even frequently quoted it for a period of time. I just simply worry that these quick, dumb laugh videos (that I’ve also made) belittle smart ones (which I try to make). Our attention span has already become worse than a brain damaged puppy, so it’d be a damn shame if smart videos vanish. All that said, I would be okay with becoming friends with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
2.) Everyone sucks, so let’s make “funny” comments to put people down
I’ve thought this to be true for quite some time, but after a conversation with my writing partner, Eric, for a sketch show we’re writing, I’ve decided that it’s scientific fact. While I feel confident in saying that MOST of the comments I’ve received for videos on FoD and Youtube were positive, I’ve definitely received my fair share of anonymous commenters telling me I’m “retarded.” (I assure you, I’m not retarded… I think). But some of the negative comments aren’t even constructive feedback. They’re just straight up creatively mean. What I mean by that is that people go on long rants insulting the video, whilst trying to be funny. Then others comment, insulting the video, while trying to be even funnier. This isn’t really a new phenomenon. You see it all the time on forums for sports, celebrities and all things entertainment. In fact, I think Tina Fey was a victim of this, because I recall her calling out some screen names upon accepting an award.
I probably sound like a baby, bitter over the success of others. I’m really not. I love making my videos and will continue to do so, no matter how many people tell me they have to rub bleach in their eyes in order to get the video out of their head. I guess what it comes down to is that I think commenters shouldn’t be anonymous. Others have said it before and I agree. I bet you’d see fewer negative comments if people had to put their own picture up, along with their name.
Then again… I come from a house/background of “If you don’t’ have anything nice/helpful to say, then don’t say anything at all,” which has been ingrained into my brain so deeply that I can’t even bring myself to vote “die” on any FoD videos. Pathetic.