Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Finally, Original Online Video Done Right: Andy Samberg's Lonely Island and "The Guild"

This week, “Saturday Night Live” comic and spoof video impresario Andy Samberg got some ink, because another one of his groin-focused rappish music videos–this one called “J**z in My Pants”–was racking up 6.7 million views on YouTube.

This, despite the fact that his work is supposed to mostly be on GE (GE) entertainment unit NBC Universal’s site (it owns SNL) and also the NBC-owned Hulu video site. But it is garnering fewer views in those spots, which is why Samberg’s production company–The Lonely Island–loaded it and more right up onto powerhouse YouTube.

But while “My Pants” is very funny in that overgrown teenaged boy sort of way that a lot of Samberg’s videos are, BoomTown is much more intrigued by the short episodic online comedy videos he is making with his longtime partners Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (the trio is pictured here).

Their efforts are one of the few times that I have seen professional entertainment folks truly understand the Internet medium and create new and interesting pieces of content for it.

While their work seems to be done cheaply and is definitely raw, there is no skimping on true talent and creativity here or its perfect online pacing.

There is a growing number of these kinds of examples out there, such as “The Guild,” sponsored by Microsoft (MSFT), which follows a group of dysfunctional gamers.

“The Guild” appears on Xbox Live, as well as on the Web. And it is headed for its second season–after getting nine million Web views for its first season.

So, it is indeed heartening to see that there can be a new format for original programming for the Web, well beyond short one-offs and badly repurposed television-like fare.

Here’s the first episode of Lonely Island’s delicious spoof of a TV soap like “Melrose Place,” which is called “The ‘Bu.”

It is described on the site as about: “Young, sexy people that live in Malibu call it The ‘Bu, because when you say the entire word, it takes time, and then you wouldn’t be young anymore.”

And below it is a holiday song from “The Guild,” which should give you a good idea of its infectiousness and involving intimacy with the quirky characters. (The quick shot of the dog in a Santa hat at the end is genius.)

The ‘Bu:

The Guild:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work