Eleven comedy web shows that should be television shows

By | July 26, 2011 at 11:11 pm | 6 comments | Features, Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it comes to developing comedy show for television, with the exception of Louie, there is hardly any unilateral decision making that allows for something that is “just good” to be on the air. Demographics, built-in markets, censors, programming and more unfortunately factor into what usually makes it to the air.

On the Internet, however, the phenomenon of the web series, though often low budget, has allowed for creativity to dictate the process rather than those aforementioned business factors. Writing, producing, acting and editing are responsibilities of the creators rather than a group of suits. Thus, the show has room to breath. In short, many comedy web series are made because they’re just funny. We’re not talking about viral vlogs where people flip out about celebrities or cats. There’s plenty of regular recurring series online that consistently hit a high note on the funny. Which begs the question: Why can’t we see any of this type of comedic genius (Adult Swim’s bundle of 15-minute shows excluded) on television? Here are 11 web series that deserve to be on television.

MR. DEITY

One of the more popular, well-produced, and longest running series around (it’s been going since 2006), Mr. Deity, written and starring Brian Keith Dalton, shows the office and home life of someone whose both omniscient and omnipotent, which can be quite a hassle. With some of the sharpest writing on the YouTube screen, taking this perfectly executed religious satire to the small screen might sound like a risky move, but as Mr. Deity goes confidently into it’s fourth season, it’s sure to have a loyal and hardcore fan base on the boob tube.

PUDDIN’

Posted daily, Puddin‘ is promoted as a “live action comic strip,” which is true as it’s the same single locked-off shot featuring the hilarious Eddie Pepitone walking into a break room and always losing his shit where a co-worker is eating a cup of pudding. Though it would have to be expanded into some extremely dark version of The Office, the clear point from Puddin‘ is that Pepitone needs to be on TV way more often.

THE PARENT PROJECT

In one of the most meta comedy undertakings you’ll ever see, Brett Weiner records conversations with his parents, which are already pretty funny, then has them write stories, which they narrate as he produces them with real actors and actual locations, while they banter back and forth critiquing the story. As complicated as that might sound, it’s absolutely hilarious. Coming out of Channel 101, a monthly short screening series in New York and Los Angeles, where filmmakers compete for a chance to make another episode month to month, the Parent Project has already made five episodes and definitely could make some for network television.

KURT BRAUNHOLER’S WORLD WIDE OF ANIMALS

Comedian Kurt Braunholer talking about animals is one of the most hysterical things online right now. Just imagine if there were field pieces added to this. Though this totally makes fun of Animal Planet, Animal Planet needs to be taking notes.

KID FARM

This satirical take on all huge family reality shows can stand on its own. Already on Comedy Central-owned Atom.com, Kid Farm has made an amazing run through an entire season, it wouldn’t be hard to see this move up to Comedy Central’s main cable channel.

DRUNK HISTORY

The History Channel hardly covers actual history anyway. Why not have funny people like Will Ferrell re-enact it according to what a drunk funny person like comedian Jen Kirkman says?

SEX TEENAGERS

Degrassi is pretty ridiculous and unintentionally funny. Sex Teenagers, another Channel 101 program, that pokes quite expertly at programs like Degrassi, is even more ridiculous– but on purpose.

COMPATISH

This is probably the most lo-fi, DIY series on the list, but the concept — three Los Angeles-based comedians, Paul Danke, Cornell Reid and Adam Jacobs going head-to-head in the games of their youth — completely makes up for that. Comedians trash talking is usually entertaining enough, but add in making paper airplanes or playing “Operation” into the mix and it reaches a whole another level of funny.

TED & GRACIE

Parodying a series by the New York Times, newly hired Late Show with David Letterman writer Jena Friedman writes and directs herself and a hilariously bizarre Ben Kronberg as a couple trying to get married. The chemistry from Friedman and Kronberg and whoever else they run into is amazing and can be easily expanded into a real series.

THE MIDNIGHT SHOW

This isn’t technically a web series, but the cult sketch group the Midnight Show posts their sketches online regularly enough that they consistently draw viral attention. With a little work, this could turn into a traditional television series. Performing a live version of their show with all their fast paced, hard hitting hilarity monthly at UCB in Los Angeles, this is what Saturday Night Live should be more like these days.

BETWEEN TWO FERNS

Well, it’s quite clear from this cult series that anyone online instantly watches that VH1 made a huge mistake when they cancelled Late World with Zach Galifianakis. In this current round of a Galifianakis talk show, famous guests are (or sometimes not) surprised by out-of-left-field awkwardness, making for some of the most memorable moments on the Internet. Why not just simply put that on television?

About the Author

Jake Kroeger

Jake Kroeger has dedicated his life, for better or probably worse, to comedy. Starting and continually running the Comedy Bureau, a voice for LA comedy, by himself, he also writes and performs stand-up comedy in LA and watches more live comedy than is probably humanly tolerable. He's been a daily contributor to Punchline Magazine, now Laughspin.com because he loves and believes in comedy so much. Said of Kroeger, "...without his dangerously insane, unhealthy work ethic, certain comics would not have any press at all."

  • pearcy3

    Good list of new shows. A new series that we just released is “Street Academy”; A brand-new original sitcom about recent college graduates who fall for the sexy world of Social Media. “The Office” meets “Mad Men”. #streetacademytv
    trailer: http://www.glassshackfilms.com/street-academy-sitcom

  • Honeydip

    Truly hilarious, couldn’t stop laughing. I just came across another comedy webseries called “Not by CHOICE”, about a cable technician who resorts to installing illegal cable when his employer shuts the doors. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/notbychoiceseries.

  • cameron

    Wow these are hilarious and may i suggest Penelope Princess of Pets?

  • Anonymous

    No list is complete without the Key of Awesome: http://youtu.be/jy_t6jOiGZI

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  • http://twitter.com/Budfallbrook Bud Fallbrook

    Love me that ‘Puddin’ …but hey! No cartoons on your list ??
    Let’s make it an even dozen of shows….  I nominate “Bud Fallbrook”
    http://youtu.be/CJtLZATYYvg