50 funniest Web series
The best and funniest Web series, from Burning Love to Planet Unicorn, show us the future of a young medium perfect for the Internet.
10. Yacht Rock
A mockumentary version of E! True Hollywood Story, Yacht Rock charted the mythological songsploits of Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan and company in ten Channel 101 episodes over five years. Not only did the exaggerated effects and over-the-top dramatics of the mellow-oldies soap opera usher the titular genre into the pop-culture lexicon, but a bewigged Jason Lee, Drew Carey, Dan Harmon, Wyatt Cenac, Steve Agee, James Adomian and Matt Braunger appeared throughout to, as always, keep it smoooooth.—JS
9. Auto-Tune The News
If anyone has tapped the true power of Auto-Tune, it’s the Gregory Brothers. This quartet began by finding news items both noteworthy and ridiculous, and using the musical tool to robotically harmonize the voices of newscasters and politicians into amazingly catchy songs they created. In 2010, the local-news-oriented “Bed Intruder Song” became the flash point that led to spinoff series Songify This, which creates melodies based on viral videos by stars such as Charlie Sheen and random uploaders like the guy who saw a double rainbow all the way across the sky. Still, they continue to make politics fun: Theyfound success in condensing and framing the 2012 presidential debates in song.—ML
8. Billy On The Street
In the mid-aughts, Billy Eichner was doing his “On the Street” videos—in which he accosted New Yorkers to ask them about politics and pop culture—to fill a segment at his live Creation Nation show. After moving to Funny or Die (and then to Fuse), his gonzo tactics only ramped up as he mowed down old ladies for not knowing who was nominated in the Oscars and cursed just about anyone for not liking Meryl Streep enough. The combo of Eichner’s frenetic, undaunted blasphemy and New Yorkers just being themselves makes every video, at some point, cackle-inducing.—ML
7. Burning Love
While its sister series, Childrens Hospital, made the jump to television, Burning Love is perfectly situated as a semiweekly Yahoo Web series. It’s a grand spoof of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, after all, a show known to pad its running time with plenty of unnecessary background information about its contestants (like the woman from last season’s Bachelor who unironically wore vampire teeth) and shots of its protagonist wistfully staring out a beachside window. Burning Love turns its contestants—comedy royalty like Ken Jeong, Colin Hanks and Kristen Bell—into heightened caricatures such as Jeong’s Ballerina, a very poorly hidden transvestite. And the stars of the series, first Ken Marino and then June Diane Raphael, masterfully play the lothario while simultaneously commenting on the whole phenomenon.—SH
Before there were Web series, there were short films. Stella, the ex-State trio of Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain, made more than two dozen, which were projected during their 1997–2004 live shows. The shorts later found another, larger audience online, and are now housed in CollegeHumor’s library. Before Stella landed a show on Comedy Central, these shorts highlighted Black, Showalter and Wain’s talent for playing exaggerated, infantile versions of themselves. Forever dressed in suits, they hung out with pre-fame Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Rockwell and Julie Bowen, and mock-humped everything in sight. They also threw in random dildos… lots and lots of random dildos.—JS
5. Very Mary-Kate
Elaine Carroll’s fleet, goofy series proves that the narrowest focus often yields the most results. Carroll plays Mary-Kate Olsen, who, over the course of a handful of seasons, refuses to see that her spoiled, silver-spoon upbringing isn’t doing her any favors. The minutiae of her obnoxious behavior gets put under the microscope, giving Carroll plenty of opportunities to show off her attention to detail, heightening real-life personality quirks and mixing them with those of her own invention. (Even the character’s voice is an odd, slurred combination of reality and fantasy.) Very Mary-Kate is distinctly compelling because it doesn’t try to leave the world of Mary-Kate Olsen—only find new and exciting toys to play with—and is tightly written, running about two minutes an episode.—SH
4. Strong Bad Emails
Before the term Web series was synonymous with YouTube, the team behind Homestar Runner was making animated shorts in Flash that starred a bevvy of odd characters—the strangest being a grizzly-voiced luchador easily half the size of everyone else. This was Strong Bad, and his bitterness plus his propensity for verbal sparring made his e-mail–response videos—acting out the answers to real questions—a prime example of spinning the mundane into something surreal. Typos turned into inspiration triggers, challenges were always accepted, and the series became the clearest distillation of the Homestar try-anything spirit. Strong Bad also became a kind of mascot for episodic Web content, proof positive that if you put the time and effort into your craft, people will check back every week.—SH
You are missing "Rack & Ruin"... I think it just launched and it's brilliant. Hilarious take on the high-end fashion world... set in a NYC SoHo boutique with Markie Post ("Night Court", as the manic store manager. She kills it! http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/wysktv/
Why didn't DATING IN THE MIDDLE AGES make the list. Hysterical…http://datinginthemiddleages.com
Thanks for the list! I just finished up Burning Love and now I'll have plenty of pickings for how to waste more hours of my life. :)
How come red vs blue by roosterteeth here they were making the best of content befor the term web series was been used and were the first to actualy do a web series.
I enjoyed the list. A new series that we just released is "Street Academy"; a brand-new original sitcom about recent college graduates who fall for the sexy world of Social Media. "The Office" meets "Mad Men". Let us know what you think. #StreetAcademyTV http://www.glassshackfilms.com/street-academy-sitcom
Great list. Also excited about #SexPoseMan. Its about an inspired male gigolo trying something wonderful out every night. Watch The Trailer here. http://bit.ly/136V14j
Good list. you can also see more web series @ http://www.shortz.tv
Very happy to see Strong Bad E-mails at #4. Today's YouTube fans are missing out. Nothing on YouTube right now even comes close to being as good as the Strong Bad E-mails are, or homestarrunner.com is.
Yo- where's East Willyb on here? WWW.EASTWILLYB.COM. One of the BEST shows online RIGHT NOW! Get with it Time Out!
Really surprised that East WillyB is not on here since it was named by the NY Times as one of the best webseries to watch. What happened Time Out NY?
Epic Rab Battles are AMAZING! There was a time they weren't so funny, but the new ones are very good.
web sitcom "The Diner" is must-see computer tv... the pilot "Somebody's Somebody" rocks... as do the other 9 episodes www.youtube.com/dinerseries
how come THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSA1H3tk6H8 is nowhere mentioned?
You are missing a fantastic, comedic series "EastWillyB" -- First Latino, Comedic series that takes place in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Featuring Flaco Navaja, Johnny Rivera, Rick Gonzalez, Joe Budden and others! Check it out: http://www.eastwillyb.com
OH GOD. how is this not number one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTs5eKZ0i1E
By the way, sweet-heart Penny didn't think the show was all that Funny neither, bless her. siggy2... Penny - "It's OK. Captain Hammer will save us."
Actually, no, the glorious DrH Musical's sequel continues to be indefinitely delayed. As Joss has repeated elsewhere, he's gonna be busy for the next few years doing his Avengers sequel. --------- Siggy: "With my Freeze Ray I will STOP the world."
@Katrina M YESSSS!!!! This is the best... for people in the know (a-hem Time Out!)!
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