You read this column every week to get your web series and sketch video news (just let me think that even if it’s not true), I know. And I appreciate it. Not only do I enjoy writing for you, but I also hold my responsibility to disseminate Internet funnies near and dear to my heart — This Week In Web Videos is more than a pastime, it’s a labor of love, a goddamn act of valor (again, let me go with this) and that’s why I can’t lie to you…
I had a bit of a scheduling mix up this week and had to hold off running an interview piece we’d planned to publish today. The upshot is, this week’s feature will not contain the interview element you’ve come to know and, we hope, love. What it will feature is an ode to the venerable Harvard Sailing Team, one of the most hilarious collectives in modern short form video comedy and a group that can teach us much about creating successful web content. Nearly 40,000 YouTube channel subscribers and a collective 13.5 million views prove it.
If you’ve been on any social media platform in the past two weeks, you’ve probably seen a link to the Team’s Hipster Thanksgiving sketch and it probably had a ton of likes and shares and retweets attached to it. If you clicked it, you almost certainly loved it. If you didn’t, you’re clinging too tight to your “making fun of hipsters is passé” shtick, and you need to loosen up. Hipsters are still funny, and will be as long as people like the Harvard Sailing Team can come up with innovative ways to mock them. Hipsterdom has been covered before, sure. But the fact that Hipster Thanksgiving is as funny as it is, and feels as fresh as it does when it’s based on a pretty worn comedic thread is exactly what makes it so noteworthy.
Hipster Thanksgiving is more comedic short film than sketch. In fact, it flouts sketch norm: It’s not super short, it doesn’t heighten as methodically as is usual, and it doesn’t really end with a strong button or reversal. So how did it gain such incredible traction on the Internet? Immediately strong visuals complimented by pitch perfect jokes, all wrapped up in a blanket of cultural relevance and timeliness.
Unoriginality is the reason some comedians and writers are shying away from the hipster meme. They feel everything’s sorta been covered. This video’s biting and fresh social commentary shows us two things: 1. Every hipster joke hadn’t been made before. 2. Now every joke has been made.
Provided they’re well executed, timely sketches are popular sketches. Almost always.