Comedy Central is planning a relaunch of Jokes.com, the centerpiece of which will be an extensive video archive of the network's standup comedy material.
Comedy is hoping to leverage the Jokes.com URL with its standup credibility to create the go-to place for comedians' content online. The new site is slated to be formally unveiled in December.
“My goal and my hope is that at some point in the near future, when you type a [comedian's name] into Google, the first place that is going to come back is Jokes,” says Erik Flannigan, executive VP of digital media for the MTV Networks Entertainment Group.
The revamped Jokes.com will continue Comedy's strategy of creating standalone Websites featuring “deep archives” of video content from its library. The network has already launched a number of sites, including Thedailyshow.com, Colbertnation.com and Southparkstudios.com, that feature a comprehensive selection of video content, stretching back to their shows' inception.
During the 2008 election season, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have not only seen record ratings, but a record-shattering number of video views online. Interviews with newsmakers such as Barack Obama and clips featuring pundit hypocrisy have been propelled toward the top of the site's most-viewed list.
“If The Daily Show gets its own vertical and The Colbert Report gets its own vertical, [Jokes.com] is even bigger than those,” Flannigan says. “This is really going to be a massive home for that stuff.”
Users of the new Jokes.com that are also aspiring comedians may get the chance to upload their own original material to personalized pages, though the network is still working out the final details for the site. “Our heritage is standup and our future is standup,” Flannigan says. “We should be a conduit for you to put up your content as a standup comedian and get it placed next to the comedians you care about.”
In many respects the standup archive, some of which is available on Comedycentral.com, is the most ambitious of the “deep archive” sites. Comedy has done hundreds of hour-long and half-hour standup specials, and series such as Premium Blend and Comedy Central Presents.
Jokes.com started life as a depository for the Web's largest collection of jokes, but in 2004 was merged into Comedycentral.com. The jokes have remained, though as a subsection of the network's main site rather than as a standalone.