Websites to make you ‘lol’ for real

I hardly ever actually lol anymore. I may claim to when I’m instant messaging you, but these days, more often than not, I’ve not even raised a smile. Indeed, so devalued has lol (laugh out loud) become in IM conversations, that if you do actually succeed in getting a chuckle out of me then something else is usually required to express my amusement, perhaps a lmao (laugh my ass off) or maybe “haha, I actually lol’d”.

The internet is full of humour, and with a potential 6 billion contributers, some of it’s got to be funny. Much of it, of course, simply isn’t; some of it is just way too geeky and other things are built upon so many layers of in-jokes and references that integration into a whole new community is required before you can even begin to appreciate why the jokes are funny.

The internet has something of a consciousness of its own and new trends can evolve out of nowhere, twisting and manipulating mainstream culture in what can be novel and exciting ways (witness the hype created around Snakes on a Plane last year). A current big fad is HornyManatee.com, which originated from a throwaway joke on a US TV show about manatee porn. It has become something of a net phenomenon with videos, fan art and even tribute songs available on the site. Who’d have thought so many things rhymed with ‘manatee’? Another word of mouth hit has been R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet video series, stemming from the jaw dropping awfulness of Kelly’s, ahem, masterpiece. It really is so bad it’s good. For the studious among you, a dedicated fan has even made a comprehensive spoof study aid to guide you through the series, available online at www.somethingawful.com.

For the politically minded, I recommend checking out clips from hit American TV show The Colbert Report. Those of you with digiboxes (does anyone not have a digibox yet?) may well be familiar with its sister show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart which airs on More4. Colbert is still only available online, but his satirical right wing punditry is incredibly sharp and well worth checking out if you are of a left of centre bent and have at least a passing familiarity with politics across the pond.

Another interesting American site is www.OverheardInNewYork.com, a site with the simple premise of asking people to post amusing snippets of conversation overheard in the Big Apple. Predictably, being New York, one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world, there are some absolute gems and you can easily kill a few minutes skimming the site. Here’s one I saw the other day:

‘Older woman: “Excuse me, miss?”

Younger woman: “Yeah?”

Older woman: “Your veil, your burqa is very beautiful. I didn’t know your people were allowed to wear it in bright colors.”

Younger woman: “It’s not a burqa, it’s a poncho. I’m Jewish. It’s for the rain. I got it at TK Maxx.”’

Coming back to familiar soil, I recently started watching Channel 4’s first foray into online video, their video blog, or “vlog”, called ‘This is a Knife’. It’s a very watchable 10 minute show and I’m sure presenter Donal is destined for bigger things. With so much variety you’re sure to be ‘lol’ing in no time.