May 20, 2013, 10:58 AM — Hey, have you heard about this Internet site called "YouTube"? It's a place on the Web where you can watch funny videos.
Despite being around for more than eight years, the folks at Google/YouTube have felt the need to create a branded week of "comedy" to try and encourage more people to hit their site to watch funny videos. Running now through May 26, "YouTube Comedy Week" is an organized effort from a bunch of known comedians (including Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogan) and YouTube personalities (including The Sklar Brothers, The Fine Brothers and other non-brother channels) to showcase funny videos. Here's one of the promotional videos welcoming the world to Comedy Week. Try not to hurt your sides laughing.
The big video that launched the whole thing last night was "The Big Live Comedy Show", a 3.5-hour video that featured "live performances and video debuts from some of the top names in comedy!" I'm really annoyed that I missed it, since I was watching "Game of Thrones" on HBO. But in case you missed it and have 3.5 hours to kill today, feel free to watch here:
Here's another video (courtesy of AboveAverageNetwork) that has gone along with the launch - a "What If" type video answering the question "What if YouTube existed in history?"
The goal of the branded week is to build "awareness for just how popular comedy is on YouTube," according to this USA Today article. While one-third of the platform's top 100 channels are comedy-based (the most-popular genre is music), YouTube still felt the need to promote comedy.
The biggest issue is that it's very difficult to tell someone that you're going to be funny - because 95% of the time, you aren't. At least with "Shark Week", you know you're going to get sharks. With "Comedy Week", you might get something that feels like comedy, but you're more likely going to get people trying too hard to be funny.
Good comedy or funny YouTube videos bubble up from the depths of the channel to the surface - especially now, in the world of social media and sharing. It's much more satisfying to find a funny video on your own, or seeing one that's shared by your friends, rather than having some corporate monstrosity announce that "YOU WATCH THIS - IT BE FUNNY." YouTube Comedy Week feels too much like lame comedy promos on network television. People already know they can find funny videos on YouTube - they don't need someone reminding them.
But maybe I'm wrong on this. If you watched last night's three-plus-hour event last night, were you satisfied? Did you laugh? Do you plan on watching any of the other events? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to be funny.
Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.