Back in the day, if you were a struggling comedian, there wasn’t always a whole lot you could do to get your material out to the masses aside from pounding the comedy club scene. Now, with Rooftop Comedy, any comedian who’s performed in front of a live audience has the potential to reach a much bigger venue.
Founded in February 2006 by “one comic, a few Internet geeks, and former broadcasters,” Rooftop Comedy takes free video submissions from comedians, categorizes them into easily accessible channels, and allows site members to rate, share, and comment on their favorites. The result is an interactive media experience, with thousands of clips performed (often) by up-and-coming comics from around the country and, eventually, the world.
As a site for comics by comics, Rooftop Comedy is refreshingly egalitarian in its quest for the best humor out there: “If you think your funniest material includes dressing up in a chicken suit, liberally dropping the F-bomb, and berating a live audience, OK, let’s see it. New, edgy, absurd, whatever, as long as it’s funny.”
Of course, the flip side to this free-for-all attitude is that not everything will wind up being funny. Though some duds do make their way in (thankfully most clips are less than a minute), there is enough breadth in the site’s videos to ensure at least a couple of good laughs – and more than a few gems. In “Period fart,” Steve Brewer describes what every newlywed couple must eventually get used to after the honeymoon is over. And leave it to Peter Grosz to find racial tension in the most unexpected of places: the public bathroom.
These clips and many more are all under the spiffy channel guide, which categorizes a whole host of ripe-for-humor topics like bathroom jokes, politics, sex and relationships, and religion. In addition to stand-up routines, the site also features film shorts, podcasts, picks from their monthly contests, and most delightful of all, songs and sketch comedy.
In “Dad and Peter,” sketch comedy troupe Party Central USA depicts what happens when parents stop sugarcoating conversations with their kids. I shudder to think what this dad would say when it’s time to give “the talk.” Another great clip is the “Hiter Rap,” by the Whitest Kids U Know, the funniest musical parody about the dictator since The Producers’ “Springtime for Hitler.”