JibJab's "Great Sketch Experiment"

If you have no idea what JibJab is, turn the volume up on your computer and start with their original parody cartoon of the 2004 U.S. presidential election called “This Land,” which has been viewed more than 80 million times. Then go watch all of their other original cartoons here.

JibJab is now leveraging their brand to expand beyond a few self-produced parody videos. In April 2006 they launched JokeBox, an area of the site where users can upload their own video, photo, audio or text jokes. Over 15,000 jokes have been uploaded and are categorized by “most popular” and other categories. It’s one of the better joke libraries that I’ve found on the Internet. As an aside, I’ve recommended to JibJab that they provide a RSS feed of the most popular jokes, and allow users to set the format for enclosures (iPod, etc.). With the new iTunes subscription feature you can always have the last few video jokes on your iPod.

This morning JibJab is launching another new product, called “The Great Sketch Experiment.” They’ve hired director John Landis (Animal House, Blues Brothers, Three Amigos) to produce six short films featuring a number of comedians. Viewers vote on the six films and the winner receives a $10,000 prize.

View the videos here – my favorite is “Tom and Tina.”

The company was founded by brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis and is currently headquartered in Santa Monica, CA. JibJab raised a Series A round of funding from Jon Flint at Polaris Ventures in June.

Beyond the fact that this is great content, this is another sign that venture capitalists are taking original content sites seriously. Polaris has also invested in Heavy, a content site for 18-34 year old men. And recent investments in blog networks are further examples of this trend.