6 Totally Awesome Internet Shows That Existed Before YouTube
It's very easy to find funny stuff on the internet today. You go on YouTube, search for “funny,” and boom. You are set for the day.
Before this miraculous website came about though, you had to work hard for your entertainment, but, often times, it paid off big time.
Here are six amazing internet shows from when downloading a 10mb video could see you through two Christmases:
6. Knox's Korner
What's remarkable about these ridiculously ridiculous claymation shorts is that Robert Benfer, aka “Knox,” was freaking 16 when he started making them. They were very popular on the gigantic animation portal newgrounds.com, and for good reason. I cried so much from laughing when watching them that I constantly ran the risk of suffering from dehydration.
Robert is still very active on YouTube, doing frequent collaborations with Jason Steele, of Charlie the Unicorn fame.
Glass of Water is perhaps Knox's magnum opus:
5. Gröûp X
I came across these cartoons through eBaum's world, as did a lot of my friends, but they probably originated from some other website, because, as I've discovered recently, eBaum's were a bunch of thieving dicks.
These weren't done by a single individual. Gröûp X was actually a parody rap duo from Rochester, NY, and the animations are fan-made and based on their songs. The pitch is that the duo were impersonating vaguely middle-eastern men who couldn't speak English very well and seemed to have been completely fascinated with “gangster culture” and were trying to assimilate it. The videos, even though made by different persons, had common characteristics that should be adhered to: they had to be badly-drawn stick men, and the lyrics were traditionally written as mispelled as possible.
Bang Bang Bang is the one that made them famous, but in my opinion the undisputed best is Schfifty-Five.
Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected, L'amour, and others were great too:
These weren't made for the internet, and Don himself, the creator, resented that they were being watched on computer screens, since he intended them to be screened in movie theaters. They spread like wildfire throughout the web, however, and not like the ones above. You wouldn't find them on websites. They were shared through P2P services like Kazaa and eMule. That gives you an idea of how powerfully funny they were: people were so eager to watch them that they didn't mind using the most inconvenient way possible to do so.
4. Ask a Ninja
Unlike most of the other shows I mention here, this one was live-action, and featured a gruff-voiced guy dressed as a ninja who answered viewer-submitted questions about, well, ninjas. Pretty straightforward, but side-splitting awesome at its best moments. This was back when the ninja fever was starting to take over the internet with hilarious sites like Real Ultimate Power, and Ask a Ninja was a contributor to that.
5. Pure Pwnage
This one was also live-action, taking shape as a mockumentary series about a hardcore gamer with a thick Canadian accent who can't think about anything other than pwning noobs (defeating novices, in common parlance) in the game Red Alert 2. Initially, it was a mystery as to who these persons were and even if it was fiction at all. The first episode was uploaded to a Red Alert forum without much explanation about where it came from, or why. It was only later that the creators themselves revealed that the protagonist was acting all the time.
I actually shouldn't include this one here because it wasn't actually awesome all the time. Truth be told, only the first two or three episodes were really funny, but the thing is, they were really, REALLY funny. I still find myself laughing at some portions of the first video, even though I've watched it like a billion times.
This is the absolute champion of internet humor. To me, it still stands head and shoulders above almost everything done in comedy since the first Marx Brothers films, and I say that without any hint of hyperbole. A lot of you are probably already familiar with the site due to the “Trogdor” cartoon, but to those who aren't, Homestarrunner.com is an endeavor from two brothers (“The Brothers Chaps”) that featured several cartoons, series, and cartoons-within-cartoons set in the fictional location of Free Country, USA.
The humor in those is completely unique. I can't imagine any of the jokes being used in any other context. The level of meta-fiction was so deep that Limozeen, a fictional hair-metal group that came from a “sbemail” where a fan asks Strong Bad for suggestions of band names, leaked over into the real world when they had their song “Heart of a Lion” featured in the game Guitar Hero: Rock the 80s. To clarify, all the other bands in the game were 100% real, but the concept of Limozeen was so amazing that the game's designers couldn't resist throwing them in there.
I could talk about Homestarrunner all day and all night and then all day the next day. It's really one of my favorite things ever. I must have watched each cartoon at least five times, I pretty much know all of them by heart and I still watch them to this day, even though the site has been on hiatus since 2011.
OK, just one more: