Are Your YouTube Videos Funny? Google Robot Says, “01001110”

Google recently set out to try to quantify what makes a video funny. Finally, will the longstanding mystery that is RayWilliamJohnson’s perceived funniness be solved? I wouldn’t bet on it. Late last year, Google tried to quantify and rank musical talent in videos. Yeah, so much good your impossibly complex machine nincompoopery accomplished there, Google, you completely missed out on Nichole337!

For shame.

Run, professor Hawking, run! Oh, wait.

For their “funny” analysis, Google researchers sicked a “passive-aggressive ranking algorithm using human-annotated pairwise ground truth and a combination of text and audiovisual features” on YouTube comedy videos to decipher and single out what the funniest videos were. Trust me, it’ll make sense if you read it again. With Stephen Hawking beside you to explain. Basically, their evil robots detected qualities like shaky camera motion, audible laughter (studies have shown that people are more likely to laugh after hearing other people laugh), uploaders’ titles, descriptions, tags and viewers’ comments. They then took the Google-bot-chosen videos and put them up for head-to-head voting in their YouTube Comedy Slam to determine the funniest YouTube uploads of all time. Google-bot then revealed the “666” etched across its rickety domed head and enslaved us to be forever enthralled by random people falling down, running into things and being hit by everyday objects.

Haters gonna hate.

One of the more interesting tidbits that’s come out of Google’s research is that the strength and elongation of comments that express laughter, like “ha ha” or “lol,” are an indication of how funny a video is. So if the comment on your rant video from your BFF reads, “lol” rather than “ROFLMAOOOO!!!” then they might have just wanted to be polite. But at the end of the day, humor is highly subjective and what tickles one person’s funny bone will grate another’s.

So what are the funniest videos picked out by Google’s humor algorithm and voted on by YouTube viewers? At the time of this writing (the rankings are constantly changing), the top ten videos of all time include two cat videos, a clip from the TV show, “South Park,” prank videos and television commercials. Let’s check a couple of them out:

Don’t Honk at Old People

Hey, don't f*ck with grandma.

Here, watch as douchey alpha male in expensive Mercedes gets his comeuppance from an old lady in the #1 video. The keyword here is “comeuppance”- people love to see others get what they deserve, especially when it comes from the underdog. Score one for the seniors!




Just what you needed in life - yet someone else telling you "no."

No No No No Cat

The #5 funnniest video of all time is of a cat that sounds like it’s saying “no, no, no, no.”  Eat your heart out, Richard Pryor. The secret to this video’s success? It’s weird, it has a cat and it’s short (35 seconds). Don’t forget to check out my article detailing how to +1 your cat blog all the way to search engine purrrrfection! That deserves at least a “lol.”






Probably inspired by the toilet scene from "Ghoulies 2."

Things that scare you

People absolutely love pranks, and this is a short compilation of some of the best at #6. The ones in this video are especially funny because they consist of two things people like seeing: little children scared to the point of sh*tting the Legos and glue they ate earlier, and people getting hurt. Okay, so bear with me – the banana smush might have hurt if it was extremely unripe.






Extremely funny condom commercial

Visit the comedy slam top videos regularly and you’re bound to see various funny condom commercials. Condom advertisers have fun with their commercials, and it shows in this #10 video. The idea of sex stirs up a lot of different feelings for different people, and condom makers take advantage of that by winding viewers up and then letting them laugh. In this commercial, a man has to quickly get himself out of a jam.
All of these videos have elements in common. They all clock in at around a minute or less, and they capitalize on feelings other than hilarity to ratchet up the humor, whether it be comeuppance, the weird, fear or sex and desire. How do your videos stack up among the funniest on YouTube?

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