As mind numbing as Cal Poly academic life can get, it’s nice to know that one can turn to the Internet for immediate stress relief. Seriously, what could be better than reading the latest “Yo’ momma” joke or watching some jackass try to launch a bottle rocket out his bum for an instantly amusing stress killer?
However if you’ve turned to the Internet as a messiah for entertainment and escapism from the daily grind, where do you go to find a collection of the latest jokes, funny video clips or simply a good read?
Chances are, if you have ever yearned to watch that “Dude gets kicked in the nuts” video then you’ve found your way over to the modicum of Web sites that bring you all things “viral media.”
In what is to become a continuing series of interviews with a number of Web site masterminds that bring us the best in news, comedy, and stupid human tricks caught on tape, we here at the Mustang Daily were fortunate enough to kick things off with one of the most well-known and longest-running hosts of viral media-eBaum’s World (www.ebaumsworld.com).
Mike Parker, the lead projects coordinator for eBaum’s World-essentially the man in charge of posting all the fun-filled goodies you’ll find on the site was able to fill us in on the origins of the Web site and all the reasons why eBaum’s World should be the premiere joint for you get a daily dose of the stupid.
Mustang Daily: First off, where does the name “eBaum’s World” come from?
Mike Parker: Yeah, “E-Baum” was the nickname of the creator and current CEO, Eric Bauman, and the site was originally called “eBaum’s Web World” in 1998 when it was started.
MD: How would you describe or categorize your website?
MP: We’re a collection of “viral media”-pretty much for any demographic to enjoy really.
MD: You guys have been on the web for a pretty long time. Would you mind describing the origins of eBaum’s World-what spawned the site and why it was able to develop such a strong following?
MP: eBaum’s began when Eric, back in high school here in Rochester, NY, was known as the “class clown,” so he would play pranks on his friends, other students and his teachers. During his senior year he kind of just came up with the idea when he caught one of his pranks on tape and put it on the Net. From there it kind of just spun off from him putting funny pictures, jokes and some other funny stuff that his friends filmed, and then it just kind of snowballed from high school to high school, and to colleges.which pretty much built it up to what it is today.
MD: Let’s say I’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years and had never heard of the Web site. Can you describe the different types of content eBaum’s World offers?
MP: Yeah, we put up a combination of daily media and weekly media and it’s all the “hot” viral media out there-you know games, video, and audio. Basically it’s all the funny stuff you’ll see getting passed around through e-mail and some pretty extreme, sometimes almost graphic material, whether it’s someone skydiving and having an accident (which you can find under the “extreme video” section of the site) or like a brutal car accident-something to that effect. I’ve mentioned we’ve also got tons of flash games, prank phone calls, and soundboards that are a big hit.
MD: With the diverse amount of content that the Web site has to offer, how do you go about collecting viral media? Do you outsource for it, and post whatever links you can find, or do people out there just send in tons of content for you to filter through?
MP: Well it used to just be all through e-mail-videos and jokes that people willingly sent to us once they heard about us. Now we have a whole uploads section on the Web site dedicated to receiving pretty much anything anyone wants to send, but mostly videos and games. The cool thing is, we run a monthly contest where we give away prizes for original content-anywhere from $250 to $1,000-where the winner’s video actually gets posted on the weekly update, so we get thousands of uploads a day. We definitely get more than enough content to sift through.
MD: The cash prizes are a pretty motivating factor. Are there any new features or contests in the works for eBaum’s World that we should look out for?
MP: Uhh.There’s nothing really set in stone, but we got something in the works to come out in the future. Unfortunately I can’t say much about it, but we’re trying work something out with different comedy clubs because we have a new stand-up comedy section and we’re trying to have a bunch of clips of stand-up comedians all over the country.
MD: So what sets you apart from other viral media Web sites such as College Humor or Entensity? What is there to look forward to when visiting the Web site that your competitors don’t offer?
MP: Yeah, you know it’s a popular question but we kind of view ourselves as kind of unique to the genre because we were there in the beginning, starting off with videos and then the soundboards. We feel that we started the genre and that we’re still No. 1 in terms of the viral media genre. You look at other sites that have just video or pictures, and we offer other avenues such as audio, soundboards, videogames, news, and links to funny and interesting Web sites. We pride ourselves on being unique in what we feel is showing the best of what the Net has to offer.
MD: With the rise in popularity of viral media and the various forums in which one can find such material, do you foresee a trend of subscriptions and possible fees to view viral media or will comedy always remain free?
MP: I’ve seen that some Web sites are probably going to go into that direction. We feel that we should just try to make eBaum’s World as user friendly as possible. Obviously if you started charging some kind of a user’s fee you’re not going to get as many users and even dedicated viewers will stop checking you out because they can find stuff somewhere else for free. It’s definitely not something in the future for eBaum’s World.
MD: That’s a relief. All right, last question. Right off of the bat, if I had never checked out any of the videos on eBaum’s World, what video would you suggest that I check out for a good laugh?
MP: I’ll go with one of the originals. There’s a video called the “Poop Prank” where a bunch of guys are in a hotel. One of the guys falls asleep and one of his buddies decides to smear his shit all over his sleeping buddy’s face.but it gets better. The guy who had the shit smeared all over his face decides to get revenge on his buddy by urinating on his face while he’s passed out. It’s good stuff.
MP: Yeah, an old one for sure, but never a disappointment.