Babelgum Comedy has
signed announced an exclusive partnership with the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe (whose alumni include Ed Helms, Rob Corddry and Jenny Slate) for exclusive original content as well as distribution of the network’s entire library. The first video will go live October 18, and new videos will continue on a monthly basis.
Comedy institutions like UCB, despite being incubators for future comedy legends (Tina Fey studied at Second City, Will Ferrell at Groundlings), have always had difficulty penetrating the over-saturated market for comedy online, with the pedigree of their brand not necessarily helping them compete against more web-savvy creators.
There are exceptions to this, of course, like Second City’s Sassy Gay Friend, featuring Brian Gallivan as the titular BFF to famous literary heroines. But the series’ success is due entirely to its web-friendly format — tightly paced with a strong central character. (Also, extremely funny.)
Currently, UCBcomedy.com features original video sketches on its
home page, but traffic is low site and YouTube. This week, the most popular video hosted on the site has just over 170,000 views and isn’t even original UCB content — it’s a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring UCB cofounder Amy Poehler.
However, UCB did have a viral hit on YouTube and its own site this summer, thanks to a well-timed video mocking BP’s reaction to its disastrous oil spill.
Despite legal issues earlier this year involving founder Silvio Scaglia, over the last several months Babelgum has been actively acquiring web content, engaging animation fans and launching viral hits thanks to partnerships with content creators like Landline TV.
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