What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that users on this video site are supposed to "certify" that they're 18 years old -- with good reason. There are thousands of short videos by well-known comedians like Will Ferrell as well as by aspiring comedians that other users vote and comment on. Some of the videos and many of the posts about the videos contain a lot of adult-only subjects, mean-spiritedness, and stand-up comedy-style sarcasm. Except for divining content by the videos' titles, there's no way to tell just how tame or racy each video is until you hit play.
What's it about?
It's open mic night every night at the often hilarious -- and just as often raunchy -- FUNNYORDIE.COM, where people post short comedy videos and animation for a worldwide audience to judge. Created by comedians for comedians and backed by Will Ferrell and others, FunnyorDie.com contains more than 4,000 short videos and other forms of comedy. Work by professional comedians and actors like Jimmy Fallon and Brooke Shields is posted right alongside amateur content. Viewers then rate the work of art on a scale of 0 to 5: 0s go in The Crypt area of the site, while 5s are deemed Immortal and get better play. There are also critiques of the videos, a blog by the site's creators, and user profile pages (which have links to their personal pages).
Is it any good?
For teens, the site poses a number of pitfalls -- which is likely why the 18+ age rule is given, although there's no real monitoring teeth behind it. Adult humor dominates much of the most popular videos as they rise to the top of the site via the rating system. As a result, those are the videos that appear first when browsing the site. Then there are the comedic videos about date rape, "sorority sluts," and, of course, Paris Hilton. Some videos and many of the posts about the videos contain a lot of vulgarity, mean-spiritedness, and the typical stand-up comedy-style sarcasm.
Yet, there's some really funny, relatively clean material on FunnyorDie.com that teens and parents can both appreciate. The Father's Day posts, including the "Notorious D-A-D" music video and the gas-inspired humor in "Dads Love" are hilarious. If the site can find a way to categorize videos by age-appropriate ratings, FunnyorDie.com could open itself to the teen audience and make a lot more comedy fans laugh for hours.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what's so appealing about homemade videos. If your kids post videos, you might ask them what message they're trying to convey. How do they think people will react? What makes something funny? Does it have to include sex? Humiliation? Insults? What's the difference between "clean" comedy and "adult" comedy?