WASHINGTON, June 11, 2012 — Laughs are needed. Badly. Politics has become so grim and the Presidential campaign has spiraled into a nasty vortex, so we need laughs, lots of them.
Here’s where I go to keep my sanity: Be Funny or Die. Lots of silly, farcical, hysterical, satirical, wacky, droll, and even questionable humor. Yep, something for everyone.
Funny or Die is the brainchild of that zany son of Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell and his partner in comedic crime, Adam McKay. It all began in April of 2007 when they made their first video for the site, “The Landlord,” featuring Ferrell as a tenant behind in his rent, browbeaten by the tough, no-nonsense two-year-old landlady, Pearl (the daughter of McKay), who demands the rent or else. That video alone has now been viewed nearly 80 million times.
After five years, Be Funny or Die has a wealth of original videos, some created by the likes of James Franco and Judd Apatow, some by the Funny or Die team, and some submitted by aspiring or up and coming comedians. Many of the videos are not political but riffs on our society’s foibles. But they all share one common thread: they have to pass the laugh test.
Those videos judged to be funny by viewers, stay. Those that aren’t “die” and are doomed to the “crypt.” So you can vote for your favorites or send them packing, making the site very democratic, although not to everyone’s taste. After all this is the Internet.
Probably the funniest from my point of view are the political satires, which leave no one unscathed, such as “Bill Clinton Sure Knows How to Make an Entrance,” complete with an actual photo, capturing perfectly what poor President Obama has to put up with when sharing the limelight with the former president.
A big favorite is the “Presidential Reunion,” directed by Ron Howard, about President Obama’s midnight visit by all the past presidents from Gerald Ford to the two Bushes, ready to give him advice on how to be president. Just look at the cast: Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Darrell Hammond, and Dana Carvey. No wonder more than 4 million people have viewed it.
But if your are celebrity-addicted, there are many more videos featuring the likes of Ben Stiller, Don Cheadle, Emma Stone, Eva Longoria, Jack Black, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Natalie Portman, Paris Hilton, Sarah Silverman, Will Arnett, Mark Wahlberg, and Zach Galifianakis.
There are also gems by little known people who post everything from videos to tweets to articles to lists to pictures. And everything is up for a vote, be funny or die.
The latest video to become a huge fave features New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is harassed by a store clerk because of his Boston accent (Brady doesn’t have one; he’s from California). It was put up in late May and in less than two weeks over a million people have viewed it.
The other big hit of Be Funny or Die is “The Wire, the Musical,” starring many of the original cast from the famous HBO series “The Wire,” including Omar, Bubbles and Snoop, and has been written up in the New York Times. Yes, Omar sings…and dances.
So when you need a little relief from what passes as political discussion, lighten up with a little humor that is definitely not PC. And if you don’t laugh, hit the Die button and register your displeasure, something you can’t do when you watch a political ad on TV.
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