For one week in May YouTube is going to (try to) be the funniest website on the planet. The Google-owned property already boasts a multitude of funny clips, but YouTube Comedy Week is something altogether more ambitious. This represents the changing face of YouTube; from a site where anything goes to one which brings together the best people in a particular genre, whether they’re famous or not.
YouTube is fighting hard to change its reputation from being an online destination full of short clips of random people (and pets) doing funny things, to something more professional, more serious, more like network television.
It’s a tough sell, but it has already managed to shake off its reputation as a place where piracy reigns supreme. And now it’s trying to straddle the line between longform and short-form, professional and user-generated.
YouTube Comedy Week
YouTube Comedy Week is the first in what is likely to be a long line of concerted efforts to change the nature of YouTube. Or at least change the perception most people have of YouTube.
Overseen by former Jimmy Kimmel Live! producer Daniel Kellison, YouTube Comedy Week will kick off with a live stream from Culver Studios in Los Angeles on May 19. In the seven days that follow YouTube will play host to a mix of famous comedians and comedy actors, as well as YouTube stars known for their comedy.
Known names appearing include Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, and Andy Samberg’s Lonely Island. Popular comedy channels on YouTube taking part include Funny Or Die, College Humor, The Onion, and Nerdist.
The appeal for YouTube is to bring in audiences who wither wouldn’t normally visit youTube or who wouldn’t normally stick around after watching the latest viral video phenomenon. The appeal for the performers is the freedom to do whatever they want and to gain exposure on a growing global platform.
Google has clearly put a lot of work into the inaugural YouTube Comedy Week, and it has already laid plans for future themed efforts grouped around particular genres. Which is great news for viewers, particularly those who have cut the cord.