With yesterday's launch of Thundershorts, a new platform for comedy web series, it's a good time to compare the internet's top laughter hubs. The age of YouTube has left many of us with a short attention span for comedy, and internet content has adapted around that. But there are still way too many videos out there to ever watch in your lifetime. Instead of watching yet another Vine of a woman dropping her cell phone on her face, a boy getting hit in the balls with a nerf cannon, or (shudder) Improv Everywhere, direct your attention to one of these sites.
Thundershorts is already positioned as a scrappy underdog set to rise in the comedy world. Based on their initial offerings, they spotlight emerging talents alongside more established ones in highly original series. With shows about a family seeking YouTube fame, best friends in couples counseling, a man refusing to jaywalk, and a bizarro teachers lounge, Thundershorts is worth adopting early. [Editor's note: SnagFilms is Indiewire's parent company.]
In "Gabe & Max Need Help," Gabe Delahaye and Max Silvestri play themselves as best friends who can't stop bickering who end up at a couples counselor (Kumail Nanjiani). The first episode finds Max using the app TaskRabbit to ignore Gabe.
Funny or Die
Funny or Die has long been one of the biggest players in the internet comedy game for two reasons. Their videos are extremely topical AND they feature big celebrities. Their longest-running series, "Between Two Ferns," had a guest appearance from the PRESIDENT earlier this year. No other website can claim that… other than WhiteHouse.gov.
Shortly after the release of season two of "Orange is the New Black," this video of Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes on the show) playing every character premiered. Not only is she hilarious in it, but there are some pretty nice wigs too.
With the backing of comedy kingmaker Lorne Michaels, Above Average recently celebrated two years in the web comedy business. With deceptively simple premises and stellar cameos from "SNL" and "30 Rock" alums, as well as up-and-comers from the UCB community and elsewhere, Above Average's series are worth checking out.
The first episode of "Charles, Your Hangover" features the delightful Lauren Lapkus as a harried and hungover teacher who just wants her students to shut up.
Series that vary widely in tone, but are all driven by weird misfits in one way or another. Including a show called "Teacher's Lounge," which is totally different from the Thundershorts show "Teachers Lounge."
"Fast Food Heights" is the gem of MTV(other), with a bunch of oddballs at a fast food restaurant who argue and unite to survive their jobs. "Freak Shift" sees Nicole Byer getting stuck working the night shift, and solving all of her coworkers Friday night problems in the process.
Onion Digital Studios
Onion Digital Studios was The Onion's YouTube channel of shows that weren't fake news. It specialized in TV parody with a dark edge like "Sex House," the "Real World"-style reality show that turned into a Sartre-esque nightmare for its residents.
"Lake Dredge Appraisal," a seemingly straightforward Antiques Roadshow parody that spins out into a battle of wills between an honorable man who’s appraises things that are pulled out of lakes and his craven, ostentatious brother.
What they're good at:
Providing you more of five of your favorite people: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, and Reggie Watts. This quintet aligned in April 2013 to populate this channel with the funny weirdness you'd expect from them.
In "Teach,"Reggie Watts teaches a different subject in each episode of a '70s style sitcom set at a high school. In "Literature," he explains the meanings of To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men to his students.