Hesley...the Bestley?

It's hard to say...
Thu Oct 25

I like the cut of Ben Joseph’s jib.



One of my favorite Funny or Die videos ever. Stick with it.

This short has been passed around by pretty much everybody I know. It’s funny and well made, and clearly hits close to home for people who create web videos. I’ve even heard some Internet folks say it makes them “sad,” and, while I understand that reaction, I don’t think it should. 

The first video I ever wrote for CollegeHumor back in 2008 was a sketch about Superman and Batman hanging out. I can’t speak for co-writer Kevin, but I didn’t write it in an attempt to be topical or to attract views; I wrote it because I was 23 and deconstructionist Batman jokes were the funniest thing in the world to me. 

About eight months ago, I left CollegeHumor - at least temporarily - to go write cartoons in Los Angeles. I left my friends, my creative partners, and my favorite city and, strangely enough, it started off as an easy decision. I felt free, I felt liberated, then, about two months later, I freaked out. What was I doing? Why I had I bolted across the country? Why was I suddenly wearing so many V-necks? 

I finally realized I had experienced creative burnout. After four years of earnestly and sincerely producing jokes about Ninja Turtles and Harry Potter, I had begun feeling trapped by the demand to make “successful Internet videos.” I had bemoaned the fact that I wasn’t growing as a writer, that the most successful videos I was writing were fake trailers that were kind of like the fake trailers I had helped write two years earlier. 

I also realized what a load of angsty horseshit that was.

The limitations I felt were completely self-imposed. Now that I’m on the “outside,” every day I see something that reminds me the Internet is an amazingly flexible medium of infinite possibility. I’ll take 1,000 sub-par Gotye parodies if it means I get to keep Tiny Fuppets, After Hours, and Sex House. (Or Rejected Pitches. Or Jake and Amir. Or BriTANick. Or SO MUCH MORE!) More personally, CollegeHumor allowed me to write some amazingly sincere shorts and, with some of my closest friends, create a series that remains the purest expression of our weird, nerdy sensibility. And we did it without free of network notes, agents, or TV development deals. 

Is this an over-written, somewhat pretentious response to an Internet comedy video? Absolutely. But, honestly, that’s kind of the point. All creative endeavors are, at some level, probably a little crass. Anybody who feels trapped by what they “have” to make for the Internet is going to feel just as trapped by what they “have” to make for television, “have” to write into a screenplay, or even “have” to work into their abstract interpretive lantern dance. 

This is a really funny short, but I hope the message that people come away with isn’t, “Yeah! Fuck Internet comedy!” or “Fuck our jobs are depressing.” For me it’s reminder that what you make is completely up to you, and only means as much as you put into it. Go out there and make some cool shit.