Comedy Central Relaunches

NEW YORK Comedy Central has relaunched, positioning the online property as something of a Hulu for stand-up comedy.

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 3, will serve up some 5,000 video clips culled from hundreds of stand-up performances by the likes of Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis and Sarah Silverman. Users will also be able to pour over 12,000 text-based jokes that are searchable by topic (“ethnic,” “mental health,” “booty call”) and by comedian.

For example, a search for jokes about higher education scared up this one-liner from The Office’s B.J. Novak: “I learned nothing in college. It was really kind of my own fault. I had a double major: psychology and reverse psychology.”  

The site also offers a comprehensive index of more than 1,000 comedians, giving each a home page on the site that aggregates their videos, jokes and biographical information. Down the road, Comedy Central plans to provide a set of community tools to allow fans to interact with their favorite stand-ups.

Also in the works is an application that will enable amateur jokemeisters to upload their own original material to the site, whereupon the rest of the world will rightfully heckle them without any show of mercy or restraint.
“Our goal is for users to ‘get lost’ in in a good way, where one click leads to another and before you know it you’ve watched four videos and read five jokes,” said Erik Flannigan, executive vp, digital media, MTVN Entertainment Group, who added that the site’s organizing principle will make it a particularly effective environment for advertisers.

“The effort we went through to organize and categorize these jokes and clips also makes the site extremely advertiser friendly,” Flannigan said. “If a brand wanted to sponsor jokes about football or insurance or parenting, we can create an instant collection of material.”

All video is culled from Comedy Central programming going back as far as 1997. Comedy Central acquired in 2002.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Flash-heavy was running on the slow side, as the text-based jokes took more than a few seconds to load. Search was also pokey, and some archival video did not load at all. That said, the relaunch is still in the beta stage, and things should begin to speed up from a canter to a full-on gallop in due time.