The Comedic Vloggers’ Manifesto

Introduction

 The video blog, or vlog, is an important avenue that is used by many to express their feelings, to share their knowledge, to advocate their worldviews, and to entertain their audience in a web-based medium.  The set of vloggers who seek primarily to entertain their audience are comedic vloggers.

Comedic vloggers are a raucous bunch of web-based comedians who speak their minds in a public forum.  They share hilarious rants about the world around them, give uncouth advice to their viewers on subjects that range from the serious to the seriously silly, and do all sorts of absurd activities to get a laugh.  Most take on online personas that are spins on their true identities, going by names like Jenna Marbles, Ze Frank, iJustine, and Nigahiga.  Their videos are informal, sometimes made with nothing more than a computer’s built-in camera, however some (especially those who are very popular) use professional equiptment and even have production teams with employees and interns.

The goals of comedic vloggers are to:

  1. make people laugh;
  2. garner a huge following;
  3. develop an online persona; and
  4. provide new material on a regular basis.

In order to attain these goals, comedic vloggers must have an initial fanbase to make their videos popular enough to be easily seen by the masses.  They must share a constant stream of fresh material to supplement their most popular all-time favorite videos, keeping viewer coming back for more on a regular and reliable basis.

 Principles

  1. To speak as one’s own self, possibly using an embellished online persona.
  2. To avoid playing roles to frequently, engaging in skit-like behavior or creating excessive amounts of spoofs.
  3. To speak about modern trends with leading edge knowledge of the most up-to-date information.
  4. To push the limits of social acceptability and politcal correctness in an uncensored environment.

 Advancing the Manifesto of Comedic Vloggers

In order to preserve the genre and help it to grow, comedic vloggers need support from viewers.  Seek out the funniest vloggers you can find, and tell others about them with social media like Facebook and Twitter.

We invite potential comedic vloggers to create the best material possible in good faith that there is a large audience out there that wants to hear from them.  We encourage established comedic vloggers to continue to provide fresh material in innovative ways, and not to be afraid to push the envelope on social norms.  May the genre of the comedic vlog prosper and grow.

 

 

Comedic Vlogging: Into the Future

The genre of comedic vlogging evolved a lot from its parent genre of original vlogging.  It became a meta-genre when people took it in the direction of comedy, leaving behind the traditional way of vlogging.  In the new form, comedic vloggers talk less about their own lives, and more about funny generalities and observations of the world around them.  They take their genre in a wide range of directions- spoofing, dancing, doing fake tutorials, ect., but they all retain the feature of speaking directly to the camera/to the viewer, keeping a thread of constancy through the genre.

Comedic vlogging has definitely blended into other genres, especially into the genre of spoofing.  Many “comedic vloggers” have taken so full-heartedly to spoofing that it is questionable to classify them as vloggers anymore, even though they technically are.  Personally, I am not a big fan of spoofs, so these comedic vloggers get on my nerves.  I wish they would do more with their own personal vlogging, and less with straight spoofing.  In my opinion, spoofing does not count as comedic vlogging because it is a form of true acting.  Comedic vloggers like Jenna Marbles who aren’t doing spoofs may also “act” for the camera, but they are not playing a role other than the one they have devised for their online persona.

I think the genre of comedic vlogging has a big future, and a lot of unfulfilled potential.  There are too many “comedic vloggers” out there who take too many liberties with the genre and stray too far from the most desirable form (in my opinion), which happens when somebody shares their hilarious personality with the camera from their true self, rather than playing a character and pretending to be someone else.  There are so many people out there who could make hilarious vlogs, but relatively few of them are actually making them.  Most vloggers have a more serious approach, explaining how to do things to a particular audience or sharing their views to a particular audience.

I think it is difficult for unknown comedic vloggers to rise to success.  It is hard to generate enough views to make your videos popular if you are not catering to a particular community.  If you are making videos for a particular community (like bikers or raw foodists), you will have a base of people who will be interested in watching your videos, and they will likely come up in a search.  But if your audience is the general public, you may have a harder time getting your videos out there because there is no platform to stand on.  More comedic vloggers need to make their vlogs, circulate them as well as they can, and hope that they take off.  If people like NigaHiga and Shane Dawson can make it big as comedic vloggers, many others could be even more successful if they broke through the barrier to popularity.  There is certainly an audience for comedic vlogging, and I think many people want more than they are getting.

History of Comedic Vlogging

Vlogging, which is short for “video blogging,” is a form of web video that developed out of the blogosphere.  People have been keeping written internet diares, called blogs, for decades.  As videos became easier to create and share on the internet, a new form of blog evolved, and the “vlog” was born.

The first true vlog was created by Adam Kontras in 2000 when he posted a video of himself to his blog, talking about his move to California to pursue show business.  From then on, he continued to post video diaries that recorded his progress, and now has the longest-running vlog in history.  In 2004, Steve Garfield (another founding vlog father) declared it “the year of the video blog.”  With the founding of YouTube in 2005, vlogging saw a sharp increase in popularity.  Now vlogging is so widespread that many companies it as a form of marketing.

Comedic vlogging is a form of vlogging that focuses on the humorous side of life.  Many consider a man called Ze Frank to be father of the comedic vlog.  The videos on his personal website became wildly popular in the early 2000s, and he now has a huge following on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.  He makes frequent vlog posts in which he looks directly at the camera and talks about things like envy and dealing with rejection, speaking from his humorous outlook on life.

I would consider stand-up comedians to be precursors to the modern vlogger.  Their live comedy routines are often quite similar in content to a comedic vlogger’s online “routine,” however the method and performance of delivery are very different in nature.  Many online vloggers would do very well as stand-up comedians.   Vloggers are the stand-up comedians of the internet.

A Look into Comedic Vlogging

Comedic vlogs comprise a genre of web videos that are extremely popular among public audiences, especially the younger generations.  Vloggers flourish on YouTube, because this is the most visited public video site, and it is very easy to upload your content.  Several comedic vloggers have been extremely successful, garnering upwards of a million views.  Some have even attained celebrity status, simply by uploading their homemade video rants to YouTube.  Prime examples of the champions of this genre include Jenna Marbles, NigaHiga, Smosh, Shane Dawson, and iJustine.

Each of these vloggers has a unique style and unique interests, making for a very diverse collection of videos within the genre of comedic vlogging.  Jenna Marbles, my personal favorite, exemplifies the genre.  In her short videos, Jenna Marbles speaks directly to her viewers as herself.  She goes on funny rants about topics such as sports bras and how to avoid talking to people, makes hilarious tutorials about things like how to make yourself look hot (not spoofs), and shares funny things that happened recently in her life.  She is very much like a stand-up comedian, only her material is designed for YouTube, not for stand-up routines.  iJustine is similar to Jenna Marbles, because she also speaks as herself, giving her viewers a look into her “funny” personal life.  She especially likes to make videos of herself dancing in public, and urges her viewers to make their own and paste them in the comments section, as part of her interactive Vlog University series.

The majority of comedic vloggers, including NigaHiga, Smosh, and Shane Dawson, take a different approach to the genre.  They focus on spoofs and parodies, taking on character roles and generally just acting silly.  NigaHiga, the most successful of the aforementioned vloggers, is a Japanese American boy does an interesting combination of character role-play and personal musings.  He will make videos like “Epic Meal Time” (about microwaving a hot pocket) where he is clearly playing a character, but in a general sense- he is being funny and ridiculous, with the aim to entertain.  He also has a series of rants called “Off the Pill,” in which he gives his fast-paced, stream-of-consciousness thoughts about subjects like Justin Beiber and noisy people when he hasn’t taken his ADD medicine.  Others vloggers like Smosh and Shane Dawson make parodies and funny skits with topics like “If Video Games Were Real” or “Taylor Swift Spoof- We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together!”  Shane Dawson even made a parody of Jenna Marbles, his fellow comedic vlogger.

Comedic vloggers often use informal means of filming, such as the built-in cameras on their computers or cheap digital cameras.  This gives their videos a homemade quality that makes them casual, relatable, and spontaneous.  The success of vloggers like Jenna Marbles and NigaHiga lies in their ability and willingness to share their unadulterated, often “offensive,” opinions and musings.  The flexibility of their means of communication (YouTube) allows them to truly speak their minds, no matter how outlandish it may be, and their followers appreciate their uncut honesty and freedom of speech.