Funny Or Die is a comedy website focused on videos, which means you can add it to the list of worthy YouTube alternatives. The name of the site comes from the very simple idea that something should either be funny or die. If a piece of content isn’t funny then let it pass away, quietly, without a funeral. And you, the viewer, get to choose its fate.
As well as the usual user-generated content that fills up most video sites these days, Funny Or Die is also home to some original content, much of which is exclusive to the site. Even better this content is often of professional quality and includes appearances by famous actors, comedians, or other celebrities.
Not everything on Funny Or Die is worth watching, but there are some Web series that will likely have you guffawing with laughter, if guffawing is your thing. I personally prefer to titter. Or even LOL. What follows are five Web series that justify the existence of Funny Or Die, and though some of its one-off videos are also worth watching, it is these series that make it one of those rare sites you should bookmark.
NB: All of the following videos should be considered NSFW and viewed at your own discretion.
Raaaaaaaandy is a Funny or Die Web series in the mockumentary style. It tells the story of the titular Randy, pronounced “Raaaaaaaandy” for no particular reason, a stand-up comedian gaining notoriety thanks to a cameo in the Judd Apatow movie Funny People.
Randy is actually Aziz Ansari, a real-life stand-up comedian, and the whole thing is a well-formed parody. Not that everybody seems to get that, perhaps because Ansari isn’t all that well known. Regardless, Raaaaaaaandy is funny and clever, and more than worthy of your time and attention.
Acting With James Franco [No Longer Available]
Everybody knows James Franco is the man, right? He’s a great actor, he’s been in some great movies, he’s a hit with the ladies, and he’s funny too. The only thing that could make him any more of a hero would be curing cancer. But as that’s unlikely, he’ll have to stick to giving acting lessons to his brother.
Acting With James Franco is a very fitting title for this Web series, as it literally consists of James Franco giving acting lessons to his real-life brother Dave. Thankfully he doesn’t need acting lessons so the whole thing is just an excuse for some easy laughs. And the laughs will come easy when you watch this show.
Drunk History shows what school would be like if all the teachers lectured you while liquored up to the eyeballs. It would be a mess; facts and fiction would combine to form a new reality, and chaos would ensue. However, we would all have happy childhoods laughing at our elders for being drunk idiots.
This is the work of Mark Gagliardi, who gets drunk (supposedly on a whole bottle of whisky) and then recounts a moment from history. His words are recorded and then acted out by famous actors and comedians. The first episode features Michael Cera, with Jack Black and Will Ferrell making appearances later in the series.
Captain Planet was a real show, and still is now thanks to continued syndication. It’s a lame animated show that is clearly pitched as edutainment, teaching kids about environmentalism while supposedly also entertaining them. This live-action version is much, much better.
This Captain Planet features Don Cheadle as the titular superhero, though whether he’s actually a hero or not is the question. He has the power to conjure trees from thin air but enjoys turning humans into trees instead. Well, you would too, wouldn’t you?
We’ve saved the best until last, with Between Two Ferns being an unmissable Web series for anyone who know their actors. Between Two Ferns features Zach Galifianakis (from The Hangover) as an interviewer who puts his subjects at ease with an odd mix of boredom and vitriol.
The title comes from the fact that the interviews take place between two ferns, and on a set that resembles something from the 1970s. Which is, I suspect, the idea. Some big-name guests have appeared on Between Two Ferns, including Natalie Portman, Ben Stiller, and Bruce Willis.
If any of these Web series has made you laugh then I, and the people who actually created the shows, have done their jobs. If you watched them all and are still sitting staring at your computer stony-faced then it may be time to think of undergoing a sense of humor bypass. But just to make sure there is no non-surgical hope, check out these original YouTube comedy channels before signing any formal agreement.
What do you think of Funny Or Die? Which of these series particularly tickled your funny-bone? Is there another Funny Or Die video you feel deserves a wider audience? As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject at hand in the comments section below.