Comedy Central is stepping on the gas in its digital-entertainment drive with the launch of its first YouTube channel for originals.
The Viacom-owned brand is touting the new Comedy Central Originals YouTube channel as a “one-stop shop for the very best digital original comedy.” The channel (available at this link) launched Wednesday (March 6) and will feature a slate of new and returning series, stand-up and social content, and is set to release about five new pieces of weekly, said Jen Danielson, Comedy Central’s senior VP of digital.
Comedy Central already has a primary YouTube channel, which has included original shows like short-form mockumentary series “Mini-Mocks” and commercial parody series “As Seen on CC.” But overall, it’s largely tied to the TV channel. Jen Danielson, Comedy Central’s senior VP of digital, said it became clear there was an opportunity for a separate destination to feature its digital-only content and talent.
“Creators, especially up-and-coming creators, can get lost in the overall brand channel –- we have huge names on our main channel,” she said.
New shows on the Comedy Central Originals YouTube channel include “Shane Torres Conquers Your Fears” (pictured above), in which the comedian leads guests through absurd immersion-therapy exercises, and “wellRED Comedy,” a sketch series with progressive millennial who grew up in the South. Projects in development include “Sex Fails,” with cringe-worthy stories of sexual misadventures, and “Mad Memes,” a parody of Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” on CNBC about which internet memes are the most bankable.
The new YouTube originals channel’s launch comes after Comedy Central last fall rolled out the Comedy Central Stand-Up channel on YouTube, which currently has over 200,000 subscribers. On March 8, the the stand-up channel will premiere “Emily Heller: Ice Thickeners” — its first original one-hour special to premiere exclusively on a digital platform. The special, debuting on International Women’s Day, is produced by Endeavor and directed by Kulap Vilaysack, with Molly Mandel as executive producer and Anne Harris and Gabriella Yacyk executives in charge for Comedy Central.
The original digital content is produced with Viacom Digital Studios, formed in late 2017 and led by president Kelly Day, which established a process for Viacom’s brands to expand their output on social and digital platforms. Before, Comedy Central’s digital content was more limited in scale and scope, and typically stemmed from a TV franchise. The formation of VDS represented a fundamental change in “how a cable network also becomes responsive to digital,” Danielson said.
The stand-up channel’s traction gave Danielson and the rest of the Comedy Central team the confidence to invest in an originals channel on YouTube. “Now we have enough original digital content, and we have the process to lean into what those originals look like,” she said.
Danielson is betting the YouTube originals will further expand Comedy Central’s internet audience. In 2018, Comedy Central doubled its digital footprint, crossing more than 5 billion video views and nearly 10 billion minutes of watch-time minutes across platforms.
Producing content for digital platforms is much cheaper than TV, and much faster turnaround, Danielson said. “It’s two or three people touching the content instead of massive teams,” she said. “It’s also made for smaller screens so it’s a different level of investment.”
CC’s originals on YouTube will feature talent from The Creators Program, its in-house team of comedians and writers formed last year. “They’re the primary faces for most of the content,” Danielson said.
In addition to premiering on the Comedy Central Originals channel on YouTube, the content also will roll out across the brand’s owned-and-operated destination at cc.com; social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat; and the Comedy Central Stand Up channel on YouTube.
Here’s a rundown of the slate for Comedy Central Originals Channel:
- “wellRED Comedy” (premiered March 1): Sketch series from the perspective of real-life millennials and progressives who grew up in the South, parodying both small-town America and biased coastal presumptions about what it means to be from Dixie.
- “Comedians Solve World Problems” (premieres March 11): A U.S. version of a format created by Comedy Central U.K., which will be accompanied by nine additional versions rolling out across Comedy Central International social and digital platforms.
- “Shane Torres Conquers Your Fears” (premieres March 15): Comedian Shane Torres wants to help his comedian buddies be a little less scared in their lives, through a series of absurd, yet very real immersion-therapy steps. In season one Molly Austin (“Comedy Central’s Up Next”) confronts a live python; Petey DeAbreu (“Comedy Central Stand-Up Featuring”) gets a baby hedgehog ready for bedtime; and Casey James Salengo (“Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents”) faces the fearsome Gauntlet of Rejection.
- “UNSEND” (premieres March 19): Celebrating the best and worst of the internet, hosted by Joel Kim-Booster (“Conan,” “The Other Two”) and Patti Harrison (“Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” “A Simple Favor”). Created by Deanna Cheng (“Heathers”) and Matt McConkey (“Heathers” and the Homophilia podcast) and is produced by Paul Scheer (“The Disaster Artist,” “Black Monday”).
- “My Least Favorite Thing” (premieres April 5): Zach Bornstein travels to meet a celebrity as they prepare to do the one thing they that hate doing more than all other things. Produced by Big Breakfast.
- “After Hours w/ Josh Horowitz”: Josh Horowitz takes celebrities to places you never dreamed of. Guests include Liam Hemsworth, Tiffany Haddish, James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anna Kendrick, and Alexandra Daddario.
- “As Seen on CC”: Products you didn’t know you needed and some you might want to avoid; current episodes are also available on Facebook Watch.
- “Dollar Store Therapist”: A low-budget therapist (Connor Ratliff) works out of the back of a discount store, doling out useless advice.
- “Mini-Mocks”: In the style of “60 Second Docs,” the series of short faux documentaries has generated over 160 million streams across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The most popular episodes: “Gummy Animal Breeder” and “BDSM Food Porn.”
- “Thank You, Goodnight”: Show following comics as they hustle around New York City to multiple gigs. Season one comics included Joel Kim Booster, Yamaneika Saunders and Casey James Salengo; season two debuts March 11 and features Emmy Blotnick, Tim Dillon and Nore Davis.
- “That’s An App?”: Parody commercials for the latest technological solutions for all our first world problems. Episodes include “Scat Scanner,” “OkOedipus” and “SinMo.”
- “The Foley Artist”: Mockumentary series featuring regular guy Tim Duffy creating every sound effect on TV, from the sensual kisses of “The Bachelor” to sneaker squeaks of college basketball.
- “You Didn’t Wanna Know”: PSA parodies with comedians explaining actual things you didn’t want to know. Episodes include “Bugs In Your Food” featuring Jim Gaffigan and “Turtles Have Salmonella” featuring Ben Schwartz.
- “Agree to Disagree”: Comedians debate faux hot-button issues — like whether tater tots or onion rings are better.
- “Mad Memes”: A show about which internet memes excellent investment opportunities… but are actually worthless.
- “Sex Fails”: Comedians reveal their lowest sexual moments, bought to hideous, cringe-inducing life through animation.
- “Tales From the Trip”: Animated series in which comedians share their wildest psychedelic drug stories.
Pictured above: “Shane Torres Conquers Your Fears”
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