This Week In Web Videos: PHIL

Lauren Hill and Anna Breslaw are quickly becoming this column’s female empowerment champions. In April, we covered Beer Goggles, their refreshing take on a quintessentially male zeitgeist addition — talking about how much hotter girls seem when the pursuing males are drunk. Now, we’re bringing you PHIL, a sketch that stays true to Cook and Breslaw’s affinity for messing around with gender norms but in a more hardcore way. Like porn hardcore. Well, I mean there’s no nudity so it’s not really porn hardcore, but it’s definitely erotic novel hardcore.

Again Cook and Breslaw have surprised me with their sensibility, specifically their unusual knack for turning something kind of trite and gross — girls enamored with the taste of a man’s semen in this case — into work that seems almost arty in its daring and original presentation. They’re also strict adherents to many of the web video best practices This Week In Web Videos hits on a lot. Basically, they understand the strength of brief, well-structured pieces that feature strong actors and about-to-be-really-famous talent. Above it all, the thing I like most about them is they’re not afraid to reinvent well-worn comedic territory. In an industry where everything’s been done to death and over again, that’s a skill that’s as valuable as it is courageous.

I caught up with Lauren and asked her a bit about herself. Here’s what she had for me.

What inspired this idea?

Anna and I met in sixth grade. We immediately bonded over a shared burning desire to make fantasy sci-fi web videos about a man with magical cum. This is the end of a long journey for both of us.

What else are you up to these days?

I’m moving to LA to dance in the streets. Anna writes all over the place.

What’s the key to making successful online content?

I have no idea, what is the key? And what does success mean? I like when people challenge themselves to make TV-worthy content online, but keep things short (**SHORT!**) enough that I watch to the end and am left wanting more.

What advice do you have for other writers/creators looking to make friends with the Internet?

I’ve been trying to make friends with the Internet since 2008 and we’re still just meh…acquaintances at best. She never remembers my birthday.

Learn how to edit or, even better, get a talented editor on your team (i.e. someone willing to work hard without getting paid). And then, get Dave Hill to be in your sketch. Every sketch you make. He needs to be in all of them.

* * *

And, as implicitly promised by norms of the writer/loyal reader handbook, here are your three reasons to watch.

1. Simplicity 

Any time you’re exploring territory north of the 3-minute mark, you’re risking viewer tune out. Unless you’ve got truly golden content, it’s always better to be in the sub-3 space. There’s nothing more powerful than a simple idea given new life by incisive, economical writing.

2. Celeb cameo

Cook and Breslaw snagged Kurt Braunohler for Beer Goggles and Dave Hill for PHIL. Even better, these heavy hitters aren’t just making flash appearances, they’re integral parts of the sketch in both cases. When busy people are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to act (probably for free) in a passion project, it tells us two things. One, the comedy community (almost) always welcomes strong new talent and, two, Cook and Breslaw are strong talent.

3. Daring

I think we can all agree that writing a sketch about the flavor of a man’s cum and then releasing said sketch for public consumption (or cum-sumption, as it were) takes some real gusto.


This Week In Web Videos: PHIL