This week’s pick isn’t a singular sketch or a web series. It’s also not a nonsensical plug for Someecards.com, so I’m sorry if the title’s thrown you off a bit. What is this edition of This Week In Web Videos, then? A celebration: of the resurgence of an erstwhile comedic format leader, of jokes that are funny, and of a company who’s got the gall to take a break from trying to promote their wares and has realized that the key to any web audience’s heart (and any web shopper’s wallet) is doing something that’s actually good, even if that means abandoning a “hilarious” bit about going over your monthly cell phone minutes because your girlfriend keeps drunk dialing you! Actually, that’s not that bad. Think about something less funny and that’s what I’m talking about.
While trolling the vast photo archives of my past one sad Facebook night, a newsfeed link caught my eye and I was drawn into a world of fresh man-on-the-street content, on a YouTube channel curated by Someecards.com — a producer of irreverent online greeting cards for all occasions. I was amused but confused.
The connection between e-cards and an affable bearded twenty-something putting Manhattan bystanders to the test seemed tenuous. None of the sketches even mentioned the Someecards.com name. “Was this even a corporate plug,” I wondered, “or a fortunate crossing of the wires between Someecards and an aspiring comic’s cache of audition tapes?” Not long after emailing Someecards for more deets, I found out both are kind of true.
Someecards.com is a subset of Someecards Media, host of newly-constructed comedic video sites, HappyPlace.com and Jockular.com. In an effort to garner Internet love and steer attention to its products in a subtle way, Someecards has retained the creative services of New York comedian, Scott Rogowsky to put together a series of bits, none of which have anything to do with online greeting cards. In doing so, it’s weakened a growing stigma that brand-dictated content is artistically limiting. Someecards has since been rewarded for its shrewd efforts by snagging features in venerable publications like Huffington Post, Gawker, Time.com, and now, Splitsider. In other words, Someecards’ ish is gettin’ some heat.
Check out this week’s selection because…
1. Man-on-the-street format
Tried and true, there hasn’t been nearly enough non-late night man-on-the-street lately. Maybe Tom Green turned us all off with his “poop on the mic” gag. But I say it’s time to give MOTS another chance. As much as it can fall flat, and as beholden to expert editing as it is, there’s nothing like unscripted reactions pitched to an improv-adept talent who can consistently hit them out of the park.
2. Smart, simple premises
Though Someecards premises are unusually heady for the format, every piece’s mission is clear from the get-go. Audiences don’t have to wait for anything to develop. We’re given instant, rapid-fire jokes, and we’re not asked to watch for too long. All are good things on the web.
3. Scott Rogowsky
Man-on-the-street is nothing without…the man on the street. No matter how obnoxious or odd or out-of-touch his targets consider him, the man must always keep viewers on his side, rooting for his twisted cause. With strong timing, a relatable yet aspirational “everyman +”sensibility, and a polite fearlessness, Rogowsky’s a natural we want to keep watching.