The history of the fail video is tricky territory to explore. Because there are so many of them, it is hard to search for what was the original one. This leaves the possibility of discovering the original fail video unknown. Fail Videos have been on YouTube for as long as I can remember, but that doesn’t mean much. There have been such a wide range of videos posted that have become so popular that users have put together compilations each year and title it the best fails of a particular year. This trend of combining the best fail videos over the span of a year into a single video started in 2005, this however does not mean there were not fail videos before that. There were many. Their increase in popularity not only drove people to make these annual compilations but as I mentioned in my previous post, an entirely separate website called Fail Blog was created for them.
While finding the exact first fail video is pretty much impossible, for people have been exposing the misfortunes of others on the web since it was possible to do so, one can explore what influenced these videos and similarities in the past. Ever since film and visual media were invented, people have gotten humor from watching unfortunate things happen to other people. An old example of this is Charlie Chaplain. Part of why he was so popular is because people found it hilarious to watch bad things happen to him. While these bad things were never so serious as to take the humor away from it, watching him fall or get hit by something was part of the appeal of his act. Continuing on, one can look at popular shows such as The Three Stooges. Basically their entire act was about getting hit, hitting each other, falling, and a number of other unfortunate things happening to them. The three stooges were tremendously popular and still remain amusing for people to watch today as getting entertainment from watching the misfortunes of others has been around for a long time and will not go away anytime soon.
While there are flaws with connecting Charlie Chaplain and the Three Stooges with fail videos, one being that we know when we watch the first two we are seeing actors and its not real as opposed to fail videos which painfully are, if you strip them down to the core there is a real similarity in the type of humor that people can get from watching all three of them. Part of me is ashamed to be comparing the greatness of Charlie Chaplain and The Three Stooges with the Fail Videos but I’m doing it to just look at a basic kind of humor that many people are drawn to.
Below are links to videos that people created showing what they believe to be the best of Charlie Chaplain and the best of the Three Stooges. I also added the best fails of 2013