Pass the green screen, granny! The comics pushing homemade videos to new heightsJuly 13, 2020
Comedians’ old YouTube skits are enjoying a revival in lockdown. And now standups are returning to online video – to push its possibilities even further
At a house party in the north-east of England, teenagers are congregating around a computer, reciting the words to a video made by Picnicface, a group of Canadian comics. It’s an absurd spoof of a tourism advert, with clip art and photos flying across the screen while a hawk screams in our faces. The year is 2008, a time when comedians all over the world began adapting their humour for the internet.
With easy access to quality cameras and microphones still a few years off, a lot of these videos are lo-fi, but no less funny for it. Picnicface have a honed but homemade style. Their videos, including an extreme advert for a drink called Powerthirst that gives you “menergy”, are now clocking up hundreds of thousands of views. Jon Lajoie’s 2007 rap spoof Everyday Normal Guy is also enjoying a renaissance: “I can’t afford a car, I use public transportation / I don’t mind, I read till I reach my destination.”