Have you ever wanted to be a star of your own funny homemade video on YouTube?

You probably already have been. But if you haven’t, now is as good a time to try as any. YouTube is sponsoring YouTube Sketichies: Sketch Comedy Contest,

The contest will run in three rounds. The first round will be judged by an expert panel comprised of sketch troupe The Lonely Island, who, along with YouTube community voting, will pick the first batch of 10 winners. Those selected to enter the next round will be asked to create another video, which will compete and be whittled down to the top five. Then those five will compete with new videos for the grand prize: a contract to create a short for Sierra Mist’s website, an all-expense-paid trip to visit The Lonely Island, and helpful tech gifts like Final Cut Pro, a camcorder, and a lighting kit.

Not the most impressive prizes in the world of online video competitions. And while this seems like an inevitable competition for YouTube, which runs primarily on amateur viral comedy videos, that’s why it’s so odd. It’s antithetical to have YouTube, the best example of the democratization of online amateur hour, offer a contest with this tagline: “Have you ever wanted to become famous making a comedy video series? Now here’s your chance!” I was under the impression we were playing that game all along, which is why we now have a weekly television series on CW devoted to online viral videos hosted by YouTube favorite Little Loca.

But, oh well. What’s the harm in being funny and winning a free camcorder? Send in your submissions to YouTube Sketchies by May 31. Beyond requiring that each video must be “around 3 minutes long,” there’s no rules. So go crazy and be funny.

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