It’s hard to imagine a time when now legendary comedians were still relative newbies, but thanks to the beauty of the internet, you are able to take a somewhat stalker-ish tour down memory lane and into the early 2000s internet personas of some of America’s favorite funny people. Unlike the Squarespaces with a single image and a Twitter link of today, the comedian websites of yore had some real panache. They have varying qualities of graphic design, but all have their owner’s voice and style weaved in. Instead of polished headshots and tour dates, these websites had jokes, videos (pre-Youtube) and of course, links to buy CDs. Some Adobe Flash Player content, images, and documents have been lost to history, but the backbone of this forgotten comedy platform is still available on the WebArchive.
Mike Birbiglia’s 2005 website design is quintessential Birbiglia. Designed like a Secret Public Journal, even his website is one long story filled with jokes and diversions (and pizza content).
Birbiglia was one of the first pioneers of street team marketing, getting college kids to spread information about his shows to their friends and classmates in exchange for some patented Birbigs merch. His 2005 website had plenty of sections to bring him to your campus, join the birbigs fan club, and even a special email firstname.lastname@example.org those who didn’t exactly care for him.
As a bonus, you can still find footage from his network television debut on Letterman on the site, a clip that isn’t easy to find anywhere else.
Nick Kroll’s website may win for “Most Early 2000s website.” Featuring bright colors, post-it notes, an animated horse and buggy, and a HEAVY use of WordArt, it’s like it stepped out of a neon translucent iMac.
Before setting up his official website, Hannibal had this, frankly gorgeous, site paying homage to his “pickle juice” joke. The empty screen held a video of the famous bit before it got taken down (thank god for Youtube).
For a glorious three years between 2002 and 2005, Paul Scheer’s website featured a section called “The Faces of Ted Danson,” which was exactly what it sounds like. Pictures of Ted were uploaded with tags like “Mysterious Ted,” “Smart Ted” (Ted with glasses), and “Fashion Ted.” Unfortunately for us, these images were lost to history, but the pithy comments remain.
Chelsea Peretti’s website was a beautiful lavender color. Her blog (featuring some hilarious prank suggestions for stewardesses and other great writings) may have been the crux of her online persona, but Peretti’s site contains some hidden gems, including several genres of songs about how much she dislikes (or used to dislike) Central Park.
One of the anti-Central Park Songs:
Ali Wong’s 2005 website really evokes the faux diary/hand drawn aesthetic of the early aughts–the perfect mixture of cute and crude that is Wong’s onstage persona. The site has plenty of ridiculous photos and videos.