Formed in 2002 while Juniors at Bard College, The Brooklyn-based Olde English comedy group, named after the famously cheap malt liquor stars five guys: Ben Popik, Raphael “Raizin” Bob-Waksberg, Adam Conover, David Segal, Caleb Bark, and a bevy of guest stars and former members on the side.
It all started when posts of their classic sketch, “Gym Class,” in 2004 prompted so many visitors and links on other comedy sites that they felt the need to finish the mini-zeitgeist they had already begun. In response to their surprising popularity, they made a blog and a vlog to share both recordings from live shows and clips created solely for the web.
By November 2006, even Good Morning America took notice of the troupe by airing their other famous clip, “Ben Takes a Photo of Himself Everyday,” on national morning television. You can also watch their DVD for free in five segments on the site.
Their videos are actually funny. In an age of self-publishing and an industry where hit-or-miss is the accepted norm, that’s a pretty commendable trait. (Just check out their “Project Runway” parody to see what their sense of humor is like. It’s definitely one of their best.) The brief episodes are listed blog-style on the site’s main page, with little fanfare and even less description.
They don’t let their videos do all the talking, though; they keep a unique photo gallery and a traditional blog, and that both get updated very frequently, providing fans with news, stories, and behind-the-scenes conversations about the group, its shows, and the blogging experience, as well as special video clips available exclusively on the blog. There’s also a very active message board, which viewers mostly use to ask questions like, “Which song was used in your last video?” Fans also use it to vote on t-shirt designs and comment on recent postings, although they can do that below each individual video as well, and they do. And if you manage to befriend the group, perhaps by attending enough of their live shows or adding them on MySpace, you might even get your own birthday video!
In The First Date, a boy has to decide between playing the word “Love,” which will diminish his Scrabble score even further but gain respect, or “Vaginas,” which will give him several hundred points, but turn off his date forever. It’s a funny concept on paper and it plays even better onscreen.