The Cheezburger Network, which never met a meme it wasn’t afraid to aggregate, has another experiment in store. Instead of captioning pictures of cats, though, the new channel tackles a genre left previously to hidden camera shows and MTV’s Jackass: reality comedy.
It may not be the most intellectually stimulating web content, but it’s hard to be immune to the joys of the I Can Has Cheezburger blogging empire, which includes the original LOL Cats archive, Graph Jam, and FAIL Blog. And when the ICHC network began incorporating videos via YouTube, the results were epic win for them and audiences alike. Last week, I spoke with “Chief Cheezburger” Ben Huh about catching up with the cat video frenzy, using the YouTube community as a focus group, and how you re-edit an adorable cat video to make it even cuter. An edited transcript follows. [show=failblog]
NewTeeVee: So how long have you been actively using the cheezburger YouTube account?
Ben Huh: Probably about two or three weeks? Since the beginning of the year.
NewTeeVee: Which you are now launching as a Partner account…
Huh: Yes, we are officially approved as a Partner. But our first priority is understanding what kind of product our users are looking for, because for this model it’s slightly different — the videos are user-sourced but they’re edited by us.
And you can see the progression of how we think on the channel, because sometimes we’ll do one edit and see how it plays with the YouTube crowd, and then we’ll do another edit that we think is better. Then, depending on response, we’ll use the better one on the blog.
It’s really hard to predict what users want, and YouTube has been a great place for us to get a sense of that. Read More about I Can Has Q&A With I Can Has Cheezburger’s Ben Huh!
In the ever-evolving lexicon of lolspeak (the first human language to evolve from captions given to funny pictures of cats and other animals), subtlety is often lacking — things are either epic or lame, WIN or FAIL. And the capacity for failure is immense online, a medium perfectly suited to sharing the disasters created, inadvertently, by others.
Enter FAIL Blog, a site entirely devoted to cataloging the epic fails that naturally occur in our chaotic world. The blog began initially as a repository for LOLcat-style photos of notable failures, but in June 2008 the site began adding videos of uncanny bits of disaster to both the blog and its own YouTube channel. While the photos on the blog are captioned for ultimate hilarity, the videos are free of any additional commentary — enabling the viewer to enjoy them in their most pure state. It’s essentially America’s Funniest Home Videos for the online video world, except without the cloying Bob Sagat voice-over and fewer hits to the groin. Instead, FAIL Blog celebrates more human moments of failure, enabling hilarious catharsis for viewers. Read More about FAIL Blog’s Found Footage Is Epic Win