Why stay up? Late-night comedy now online 24/7

SHARE Why stay up? Late-night comedy now online 24/7

You dont have to stay up past midnight to enjoy your late-night shows.

Material from David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan OBrien is increasingly turning into viral video on the Web. Long secluded in the wee hours of the night, these funnymen are now, with the help of a click or two, finding laughs in the waking hours.

Theyre often a hit, too, and none more so than Kimmel has been recently.

After ABCs lengthy Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday, youd have to be a TV watcher of considerable endurance to stick around for Jimmy Kimmel Live. But even if you didnt, you may have by now seen the high point of Kimmels show.

First, some background. Kimmel has made it a nightly trademark to end by apologizing to Matt Damon for not having enough time to get him on the show. The joke, of course, is that such a star would never be bumped.

The bit took a turn on his fifth-anniversary show on Jan. 31, when a video was aired by Kimmels long-term girlfriend, comedian Sarah Silverman. In it, Silverman sang along with Damon bragging that the two were sleeping together (though it was described in much funnier and more vulgar language, which was bleeped out).

More than eight million have watched the video on YouTube. Its also available on ABC.com.

On the post-Oscars show, Kimmel got his payback. In a similar song, he boasted that he was sleeping with Damons good friend, Ben Affleck. The production was ratcheted up a notch and was styled like a We Are the World tribute. Guests included Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Cameron Diaz, Don Cheadle and many more.

As of today, more than 2.5 million had watched the video on YouTube.

Kimmel is far from the only late-night host to find viral success online. CBS was the first network to aggressively tout its late night comedians Letterman and Craig Ferguson on YouTube.

Perhaps Lettermans finest Web clip was his interview of Paris Hilton soon after she had been jailed for two weeks for alcohol-related reckless driving. On YouTube, more than six million watched Letterman repeatedly pepper her about her experience in jail while the hotel heiress squirmed.

NBC, which is owned by General Electric Co., doesnt allow its material to be posted on YouTube and figures arent available for videos on the networks site: NBC.com. (Clips and full episodes of many of NBCs shows can also be streamed at Hulu.com, a video site co-created with News Corp.)

Wherever they saw it, in early February, many sought out NBCs Late Night footage of OBrien mock fighting Daily Show host Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert.

Comedy Central, which is owned by Viacom, also posts its own videos, which had previously been enormously popular on YouTube. Now, Daily Show clips are on www.thedailyshow.com, while The Report can be found through www.comedycentral.com.

Altogether, these late-night hosts, coupled with Saturday Night Live, have been a tremendous force online, where their comedic talents easily outshine more amateur material. Amazingly, the decades-old late-night format has proven adaptable yet again, even through the Internet revolution.


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