Pass the green screen, granny! The comics pushing homemade videos to new heights

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.”

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