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by Allison McCarthy

An argument presented by Donna Haraway suggests that technological users have already become cyborgs through the use of many everyday technologies. Potentials of the cyborg go far beyond the improvement and easing of everyday tasks. Culture is also at the hands of cyborg experimenting, as are morals, humor, and acceptable behavior. Comedians are harnessing technology and changing the way we laugh and the way they themselves are depicted. YouTube has redefined the comedian.

Video has continuously changed and challenged the way we view the world. Although it has been around for some 70 years, we have only recently begun creating user-generated content as amateurs. Video has gone far beyond entertainment and information; It has become a two-way stream of expression and depiction. Comedians upload videos by the hundreds every year in the hopes of expanding their network, increasing views, and even developing content. Due to more and more comedians becoming discovered online, many viewers might be led to believe the skits or characters they are portraying are their actual personalities. However, comedians have spread themselves across many platforms of technology in order to protect their true identity as well as promote their created persona. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are also identifying extensions of these comedians. It takes a digitally literate audience to fully understand the works of a digital comedian.

Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are tag-team comedians who began their career writing for CollegeHumor. They developed characters for an episodic YouTube show called “Jake and Amir” where Amir plays an obsessive, rude and idiotic character who is constantly arguing with his rational counterpart, Jake. In the hope of creating laughs and views, the episode, “Olympics,” accurately sums up the characters that these comedians want to portray. Without context, viewers would be appalled at these people and their content. However, Hurwitz and Blumenfeld have positioned themselves on the CollegeHumor Channel, which allows them to be presented as professionals.

Becoming discovered on YouTube is a new phenomenon in our society. There is a complex series of behaviors and feedback occurring in the newfound YouTube ecosystem. Their true identities are also highlighted with their personal social media usage. Users without technological experience, social media and cultural context will be unable to understand this digital ecosystem and therefore will not join into this entertainment phenomenon.

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