On Monday, with up-and-coming kings of comedy Zach Galifianakis, Demetri Martin and Nick Swardsdon in tow, Will Ferrell kicked of his Semi-Pro sponsored Funny or Die College Comedy Tour at Kansas State. Though mostly a promotional tool for the movie, the eight shows around the country are also spreading the FOD gospel and introducing taste-making college kids to comedians they’ll surely soon be seeing a lot more.

Marc Campbell is hoping to use his live venue to similar effect.

The former banker and Upright Citizens Brigade alum just launched The Independent Comedy Network – a new media studio founded on improv principals and dedicated to working “with professional talent to develop and distribute original comedy series online and beyond” – and believes his ability to access and showcase talent through his Westside Eclectic live comedy venue in Los Angeles will set his funny apart from the many competitors.

Of an anticipated 40 original series slated for release in 2008, five debuted with the site’s launch. Do they have what it takes to stand up against offerings from Funny or Die, My Damn Channel, College Humor, 60Frames, Super Deluxe, etc., etc.? Here’s a look:

Inappropriate Workplace

This series revolves around Duane, your everyday desk jockey who gets unassumingly involved in highly inappropriate workplace situations. The first involves a menstruating boss and plastic applicators. It’s quick, funny, and despite my description, safe for work.

Annals

“Historian” Aubrey Goshen takes viewers on a journey through his unique, if terribly inaccurate, annals of cultural trends and phenomena. His “History of Reality Programming” has its moments, but those occupy about 45 seconds of 5:37 runtime. The teacher needs to tighten his lesson plan if he wants to attract would-be students.

Plea Bargain Advertising

Josh’s great uncle got gunned down, leaving behind a decrepit advertising agency for Josh and his friend Ben. The two embark on a journey to rebuild the business first by remedying a terribly racist spot for the local Gary’s Mattress, their only client. Like Annals, the runtime-to-laughs ratio is way off, but if we saw anything from Can We Do That? it’s that ad agencies are ripe for comedy. If ICN tightens this one up, it has potential.

2/8 Life

In this spoof on the NBC/MySpace series Quarterlife, Angela Curtis replaces Dylan Kreiger as a melodramatic twentysomething writer/blogger on a mission to document the lives of her social circle and broadcast it to the open internet…except her friends aren’t that interesting. It’s funny if you’ve seen the original, less so if you haven’t.

Warthog

It might as well be sometime in December 2012. Eschatologists everywhere are reveling in their accuracy and everyone else is at home awaiting the Final Hour, except for three executives of Warthog, Inc. They’re busy at work talking shop and strategy to increase market share while competitors are too busy worried about The End Of The World As We Know It (T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I.). The writing and production quality here are some of ICN’s best. That, coupled with the clever premise, makes this show one to watch.

The openness of the internet means that anyone creating good enough content will get some views.  It certainly helps if you have names like Will Ferrell pimping your product or venues like Westside Eclectic to promote your digital shows, but if they’re entertaining, people will watch. The new media comedy studio is an increasingly crowded space, but judging by these premieres, ICN has as good a shot as anybody.

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