When I attended ConnectiCon last year, it was a revelation to me that the biggest stars were the ones never on television but, instead, had become famous via the internet. Doug Walker aka the Nostalgia Critic was particularly revered, like one of the Beatles.
Part of this has to do with the demographics of the con. It definitely skews young, gathering its audience from the many colleges in Connecticut. Superheroes are okay but anime, manga, voice actors, video games and web stars rule. I would say cosplaying is the rule rather than the exception at the con.
Marina Sirtis of Star Trek: The Next Generation brought a crowd (and was far funnier and raunchier than I ever expected) but the web stars were just as famous among the attendees.
I charged my son to report on his generation’s shift from network-produced content to ‘net-produced content. Here’s his perspective:
The entertainment industry’s been going through some serious changes lately, especially regarding internet comedy. This was noticeably conspicuous at ConnectiCon as the con highlighted the celebrity of internet talents such as Team Four Star, Uncle Yo, and Doug Walker.
It’s unsure which way people will consume entertainment in the future but if the con is any indication, my generation has already moved to the web. These individuals promise to keep us laughing for years to come.
For those unfamiliar with Team Four Star, they are most known for creating abridged versions of various animes, such as Dragonball Z, Hellsing Ultimate, and Jo-Jo’s Bizzare Adventure. And by abridging, I mean they reduce the episodes to a much shorter length and redo the voices of the characters, following only enough of the original script so that you have a vague idea of where the plot is going and turning the series into an insane comedy.
They returned to ConnectiCon this year with a bang, bringing an arsenal of jokes, humor, and exclusive videos they’ll be releasing in the coming weeks and months, acting all professional and such. They were great at answering questions, and even established a rapport with the audience, carrying on a running joke that originated at a panel about Abridged Alucard (voiced by Takahata101) being Slenderman’s father.
Another performer at the con was Uncle Yo, whose work ranges from podcasts to stand-up comedian humor for nerdy trends in our times. It’s kinda like if George Carlin talked about My Little Pony and graphic furniture arrangement. He hosted a variety of panels, including one about Doctor Who called “Partners in Crime (and Space): Doctor Who Companions.” Uncle Yo is one of the most experienced con guests, having spoken at 45 conventions and presented over 15 panels at ConnectiCon alone.
Doug Walker was also present, as he was last year. Walker is well known for his web series Nostalgia Critic, and being the face of thatguywiththeglasses.com. He makes jokes and reviews mainly about ’80s televisions shows and movies but has branched out frequently to current pop culture.
The Critic needed the ballrooms this year because of how crowded his panels were last year, so his presence was not taken lightly. He hosted three panels in the ballrooms, the first being a discussion about how movie opinions are objective, the second a general Q & A about his work, and the third discussing the various types of humor you can use in filming, performing, or daily life. Like the other ones I mentioned, he also has an established rapport with his audience, knowing how to put a spin on things and what kind of audience he has to entertain.
All of these comedians together made ConnectiCon another wonderful experience for me and my friends and provided some interesting implications about the future of comedy. With the rise of the internet, many new genres are forming, based off older ones, especially in comedy. Uncle Yo is a more modern stand up comedian, Team Four Star takes some influence of lovingly mocking from MST3K, and the Nostalgia Critic is like Siskel and Ebert.
These guys aren’t copies; they’re simply using what they learned from predecessors to bring a new brand of comedy to the internet, and hopefully let it flourish and evolve even more as time goes on.
And given the audience they bring in at ConnectiCon, they’re already flourishing.