Deplorable Comedy Insults Handicapped, Ice Cream People & Grease

Get ready for the Lawsuits. In a horrible satire at the expense of handicapped people and ice-cream men, the comedy channel “JustForLaughsTV” created this atrocity below. In addition to stigmatizing one-handed people with “claw hands,” it defaces all ice cream people everywhere. And rips off the soundtrack from “Summer Loving” (Grease).

Parenthetically, the lawsuit by the ice cream man that appeared in my “Creepy Ice Cream Man” video was dismissed earlier this month from federal district court (see court opinion pdf). While the case was dropped because the court has no rulings on most of the plaintiff’s claims, that doesn’t rule out his successive lawsuits in other state courts, federal court, neighborhood court, the Ice Cream court, and the Supreme Court.

Fortunately my defense (based on parody/satire/free speech and the fact that “hurting someone’s feelings” is not grounds for a lawsuit) will require a simple copy/paste and is solid.

Unfortunately no lawsuit will likely help the poor ice cream man (who happened to be selling ice cream when I was inspired to satire my own fear of ice cream people) will reclaim whatever he claims the video did to him. I make that assumption that because my attempts to remedy it more gentleman-like (non-legal) methods have had no apparent effect — apologizing via phone, removing it, filing DCMA claim on unauthorized posts, apologizing in writing, apologizing in person to him and his family, offering a retraction, offering a donation to charity, offering a nuisance settlement, and apologizing again.

The ice cream man even contacted local Pa. media disparaging me, in what could be considered a calculated act of defamation. But I’m not terribly excited about filing a counter suit because, well, ice cream is too delicious to sue.

My Best Video of 2010: Epic Kid Song Mix

I was excited to be in last week’s BarelyPolitical “Man Bat & Catwoman video” with Obama Girl, and post Mark’s obscenely-funny faux “behind the scenes.” It was great to be in Gay Leprechaun by Mediocrefilms. Fantastic to play the knife on Annoying Orange too.

But as far as my own videos go, this “Shnibl” remix video is the peak of my 2010. I can’t stop watching it. The backstory: My 6-year-old son, Charlie, grabbed an old camera yesterday, and did a little song and vlog called “Shnibl Show.” It made no sense, and that was its charm. After showing it to my wife and older kids last night (Katie and Patrick), we all roared with cathartic laughter we needed. Then I tweeted the following… and then there was this surprising response:

Last night's tweets led to this spontaneous collaboration of an ear worm.

So who is this masked man we call “songadaymann,” who sent me this lovely remix of Charlie’s song? He’s Jonathan Mann, also known for SongaTron and via his YouTube channel Rock Cookie Bottom. He’s been writing since he was 12 (just 6 years after my little Charlie), as he shares in his own fascinating bio video.

Most recently you may know Jonathan from his daily songs — the Paul Krugman tune as seen on TV, and the iPhone 4 Antenna Song played by Steve Jobs before his Antennagate press conference in July (2010) and wildly covered during the media hysteria that was iPhone4G’s launch.

Sure I knew about Jonathan, but I never imagined he new me — much less that he followed me on Twitter. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he’d a) see my Tweet, b) turn Charlie’s little jingle into a killer remix in hours. And it’s friggin’ awesome. It’s like Beatles meets Partridge Family meets hip hop. I had considered writing MysteryGuitarMan (who wrote the Nalts theme song), but was pretty confident he’s too busy and high profile for such a silly thing. Plus I didn’t want to try to hard… I was kinda hoping one would just appear.

This just in- Katinatreesee does the shnibl choir!

What do ya think? While I have your attention, I’d value your feedback in comments (I’m back to reading ’em) on my new YouTube channel design. It may not lok like it, but I’ve been fussing with it for about 6 hours (solo).

iJustine Gets Killed in Criminal Minds: Episode “Middle Man” (season 6)

I’m a huge fan of iJustine (Justine Ezarik), and we did a video a few years ago when (believe it or not) I had twice the subscribers as her. Now she’s appearing in Fast Company and on a recent episode of Criminal Minds (the episode is called “Middle Man”) so I’m exploiting it of course.

The video below is a mosh-up of an older video we did, joined by some very brief footage from the Criminal Minds episode I opeI hope CBS will consider fair use (iJustine didn’t authorize this). Now some links…
Justine is also profiled in my book, so go buy it, damnit. It’s not as entertaining as watching her get killed in a corn field, but whatever.

Want Your Ad to Go Old-Spice Viral? You’re More Likely to Develop Abs Like Isaiah Mustafa.

When I see my sweet AdAge pour more gas on the “Old-Spice goes viral” story, I feel like it’s time to remind my fellow marketers that they’ve got a better shot of developing (the shirtless actor) Isaiah Mustafa‘s abs than getting their TV or online-video spot viral.

Your man will never look like me, and your video will never go as viral.

This is another excellent example of the exception not the rule. Old-Spice’s dramatization is funny, slick, self-deprecating and memorable. Like other viral commercials, it stands out. It’s worthy of the 5 plus million views. But remember that people as obscure as me (nalts) with smaller audiences than me can fetch that each month. The one-hit wonder has given way to the webstars that are now building sustainable audiences, and they’ll promote your brand for less than it cost to groom Isaiah’s horse.

Now ask your friends and family to tell you the last time they sent or received a link to a commercial. Not your buds in the agency and marketing circles, but your friend next door that doesn’t understand what the hell you do for a living.

Television ads occasionally go viral, but viral is largely dead. We’re still seeing some twitches from the corpse, but the age of viral commercials will not see a resurgence. If you don’t believe me, read Beyond Viral when it comes out in a month or so (it’s already on Amazon, so I have bragging rights on that).

Maybe after a few more Benson & Hedges and my pension, I'll hear this damned machine's alarm. Wait, never mind. I sold my hearing aid for my third Scotch.

Now you read this, but like an elderly, smoking woman in Vegas, you’ll still play the odds. That’s fine. Just don’t bet the farm, eh? And hedge the bet- step away from the roulette table now and then and try the nickel slots.

On YouTube, Popular and Good Are Different

I would have predicted that by April 2010, YouTube’s “most popular” videos would be consistantly good. In fact, however, we’re seeing some all-star talent like Mediocrefilms and BlameSocietyFilms getting far fewer views than they would have a year ago. And we’re seeing some YouTube channels ranking consistently on YouTube’s most-viewed and most popular sections that are (how can I put this nicely?) kinda “Naltsish.”

Why? Sure there’s an increasing amount of competition, but the only common thread I’m seeing among the high performers (in views and subscription growth) is regularity (videos posted daily or several times a week). To some extent this isn’t entirely new, but I would have thought by now that the “most popular” content would kinda sort out the good from the bad. Has my taste departed from fellow YouTube viewers, or is the algorithm screwed up?

It would appear that routine posting, more than anything else, is key. Talent continues to be far less important than regularity, as well as the basic standards I address in “How To Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent” (engaging with audience, collaborating with popular creators, etc).

Joe Penna, MysteryGuitarMan, is an exception to a new rule: popular and quality YouTubers channels are hardly correlated.

There are notable exceptions. Nobody in web video has produced more consistently creative and awe-inspiring videos in 2010 than Joe Penna, known as The MysteryGuitarMan. It’s perplexing that even the most extremely awesome and popular YouTube amateurs is virtually an unknown beyond YouTube. When I speak at conferences, few recognize the most-viewed or most-subscribed people like Fred… and certainly haven’t heard of MGM (aka JP).

Check out a few of these videos from this playlist and you’ll quickly see why he’s predictably on the “most viewed” or “most popular” pages. His videos are not just audible and video joy, they’re painstaking acts of labor. Each take creativity to a new level, and is the output of countless hours of work.

MGM for free wrote my Nalts theme song back in 2007, and I’ve watched his videos over the years. He kinda fell off the grid in 2008-2009, but 2010 has been his year. I think about him at least once daily. I literally go to the computer just to see his new video (versus stumble into him on a YouTube binge). And when it’s something especially awe inspired like “Happy Dance (looping around),” I bring the whole family around the computer, like a 1940 family gathered around a radio to hear Orphan Annie.

According to Penna’s Wikipedia entry, he was going to pursue medical school. While the world could have used a creative and determined doctor like Penna, I’m really, really glad he chose to put his passion into film, video, creativity, illustration and music. I think his more than 750,000 subscribers would agree.

Parenthetically, Penna recently joined Rhett and Link (who haven’t posted a video in weeks and it hurts) to collaborate in the Swamps of North Carolina. Given Rhett and Link’s collaboration with MGM that produced this painstakingly wonderful t-shirt video (read more), I can only imagine what we’ll see next week as the result of sleepless nights by Rhett, Link and Joe.

The Uninvisible Man (with Daisy Whitney)

Sometimes you have to bring those industry watchers off the bleachers and into the game. Here we see Daisy Whitney in her amateur-video debut… The Uninvisible Man.

The TVWeek writer and host of New Media Minute was gracious enough to appear in this short video where I turn invisible… well at least I think I was invisible. Also appearing is Paul Kontonis, who heads up the online-video studio, ForYourImagination. We’ve seen Paul before in a few videos, including  on a panel screaming like a girl when I pulled a pratfall. I could watch that scream 1000 times and not fatigue of it.

While we were there we also recorded a pilot of “The Pussy Cat Review Show.” Needless to say, the low-budget show was immediately cancelled after the dailies revealed it’s a complete flop. Stay tuned for some never-before-and-never-seen-again footage.

Patton Oswalt Likes Nuts (Rabbit Bites)

Patton Oswalt likes to look at nut sacks of old men. See for yourself on Rabbit Bites. Patton, of course, only did Rabbit Bites because I did a year ago (I’m a trend setter. I’ll bet Oswalt doesn’t do “Internet Superstar” until Aug 2009).