Look, to be honest with you, if I’m in need of a good laugh from the internet I’m most likely to Google “funny falls compilation” and that will scratch the itch just fine. There’s nothing funnier than people falling over and yes, that is a statement I will stand by in court. I did briefly consider delving into the annals of the “people vomiting on live TV” genre but there’s only so much time, and you can ride that particular wave yourself. (While you’re doing your own homework, I suggest Googling “Balegdah”.)
So here I present a varied spread of my favourite videos – in an attempt to frame myself as some sort of internet connoisseur, the kind of person who’d serve you a fusion mezze platter at their house and call themselves eclectic. A “nettie” if you will, which is the internet equivalent of a “foodie”, and also the name of one of my primary school friends’ mum.
Crank up that modem and let’s surf those waves BABY!
1. Terrible Tom the wild turkey causes reporter to lose her head
Usually in these lists you would save the best till last, but I’m starting with the big guns because you simply must watch this video. This is my absolute favourite. I watch it when I’m happy, I watch it when I’m sad, I watch it when I’m stressed or annoyed, and I have both stressed and annoyed many other people by making them watch tit. Including you, now!
Bird videos are great. This turkey one is the best. Sure, emus have produced some slapstick content, and I highly recommend “Big black chicken scares Australian reporter”, but none of these come close to the complex use of form and intricately woven arc of “Terrible Tom the wild turkey causes reporter to lose her head”.
I love this video not just because of its perfect comic timing; not just because it’s funny to hear someone heavy breathing “I am scared of that turkey” while a turkey circles their car like a hungry velociraptor. Although it is. It’s funny.
I love this video because of the depth of narrative; the journey we go on with Terrible Tom and the reporter who loses her head. It’s a veritable Citizen Kane of YouTube videos. The suspense, the emotion, the camerawork. It’s like a barnyard Blair Witch. Iconic.
This is a more recent one. You can tell it’s recent because it’s on TikTok. What is TikTok? Whatever it is, TikTok has produced this video that I can’t stop watching. Well done Kookaburra, I take my hat off to you.
I’ve only just realised that this is another video of a bird attack. What does that say about me? Let’s leave that can of worms unopened (lest the can attract birds that might attack – OK).
3. Adrian Gray’s broadband thread
While birds are very clearly the kings of the comedy video castle, humans are also capable of making us laugh. Well done us! For example, this week I stumbled upon this Twitter thread from a human. (You’ll have to open Twitter to reveal the full thread.)
I don’t want to give too much away but it’s a RIDE. M Night Shyamalan meets customer service via Tweets.
4. Cole Escola’s ‘headshot’ thread
And while we’re on threads, what a great time to revisit this classic from Cole Escola: a riff on the “first headshot” meme of 2018.
Remember the “first headshot” meme? It was just like #MeAt20, only it was in 2018 and aimed at people who did after-school drama. A version of the “look at me when I was young. No look at ME when I was young. Stop it! No YOU’RE the prettiest” meme, it can be traced back to 2006’s #tbt, and shares etymological roots with offshoots such as 2010’s Facebook Doppelganger week. (Mine was this picture of Melissa Joan Hart wearing a ring pop.)
Anyway, Cole is hilarious and should be called Warren because he is a one-man rabbit hole: lose a day. Why not? Start with the thread, pop over to YouTube for a taster of his Mom Commercial sketch before settling in for his special Help! I’m Stuck! Which apparently no one asked him to do and which he has just uploaded to YouTube. Thank you Cole.
5. Dear Sister
This week I also revisited the Saturday Night Live digital short Dear Sister. A seminal work.
It’s technically a parody of a scene from The OC, but that’s not really the point. Like most funny things, it’s pointless to try to explain why this is funny, which is also sort of the point. A gem from that excellent era of SNL when The Lonely Island went rogue with digital shorts (see also: Sloths, Lazy Sunday, and if you want to go even further back, to pre-SNL Lonely Island, Just 2 Guyz).
Dear Sister found its way into my feed because it has just turned 13 years old, which is absolutely horrifying. How is this possible? Thirteen years ago (about the same time we went into lockdown?) I was watching this in my old sharehouse, probably wearing Thai fishermen pants and getting stoned on cask wine or whatever young people do, I can’t remember, and now this sketch is old enough to get sooooo druuuunk off a Heineken Zero behind the grandstands at a blue-light disco.
Just telling you about it now I suddenly feel like my dad quoting Morecambe and Wise, or Cooke & Moore, which, to be fair, still stand up.
6. Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French Madonna interview
Also still standing up to the test of time is this:
The transcript from a Hungarian newspaper interview with Madonna, where the whole thing’s been translated into English and then back into Hungarian multiple times, is funny in itself and endlessly quotable (I am a woman, not a test mouse!) – but this reading from French and Saunders, who can. not. stop. laughing, is a goddamn joy.
While we’re in the past: Big Girls Blouse 1995 Gay Olympics is a must-see. Magda winning gold for Australia in the “Women Philosopher’s Taking Offencing” is CHEFS KISS EMOJI.
7. Grace Kuhlenschmidt saw her step-mom, brother and dad in a porn
But I’m trying to live in the present, so here’s a new one. Go on an emotional journey par excellence with a devastated young woman as she recounts discovering her step-mom in a porn. A tour de force performance, with all the emotional gravitas and high stakes of a Merchant Ivory production.
Kuhlenschmidt is part of a whole cohort of young comics doing “front-facing” videos. These people are younger and cooler than me and they understand the internet. They scare me, but also make me laugh a lot. Is this bullying? Notable mentions go to Alyssa Limperis for her mum videos, the twerking Atsuko Okatsuka, Eva Victor (check out the straight pride parade one) and Meg Stalter who has been doing, among other things, some deranged Instagram Lives.
8. My salsa dog
This guy’s just fun.
We’ve been here for a while now so I’ve decided number nine is a safe space, that point in the group-chat where I reveal my puerile funniest-home-videos sensibility. I regret nothing. Watch this one to the end – it’s a slow burn.
But this, below, is a thing of beauty. The word “prestige” comes to mind.
(Also in the elite dildo-throwing arena: this is a pretty virtuosic effort from local athlete Bec Charlwood.)
This video of a drunk couple falling down the stairs? You can’t write stuff like that. It makes me feel angry as a comedy writer, but just happy to be alive.
10. Terrible Tom the wild turkey causes reporter to lose her head
Here it is again! Did you watch it already? Watch it again. There’s so much to unpack.
Its cleverness lies, I think, in what is left unanswered. Who is this woman? We know almost nothing about her, other than she wears bootleg jeans and she does not have a stick.
And what of Tom? Where has he come from? What does he want? Is he a monster? Or a misunderstood outsider seeking to make contact? We just don’t know.
Terrible Tom isn’t just a great story about a woman, a turkey and a mail truck, but a piece of art that encapsulates why we tell stories at all: to fulfil that essential human need to understand our own existence, to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others.
“Terrible Tom the wild turkey causes reporter to lose her head” reminds us of what it is to be human. Because, like every brand keeps telling us in whispered tones over iPhone footage of celebrities cut to emotional music, we’re all in this together, and I, for one, think we can all relate to not having a stick.
11. Another thread
As a bonus, because you’ve been so good: this entire thread of the most iconic British TV moments of the decade (2010-2019) is solid gold from beginning to end, but I don’t think the Guardian will let me publish it. Will you? If they did – lucky you! Balegdah!