Channel 101 started as a series of short film “challenges” between the two creators, but developed into a monthly film festival at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles. Creators would pitch ‘pilots’ for shows, the audience would vote on the best ones, and the winners would get posted … on the INTERNET. W-woo?
Despite having the worst possible prize, Channel 101 became the launching pad for comedy groups such as The Lonely Island. Who went on to create like, 9 of the first 12 viral videos in existence, as well as some objectively legitimate masterpieces.
Also, Derrick Comedy, whose member, Donald Glover went on to star in Community, create the FX show Atlanta, launch a rap career as “Childish Gambino,” and taunt us with the best potential Spider-Man casting that will never be.
Ellie Kemper, from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office made an appearance. Tim & Eric were there, before they were eternally joined by ampersand. Also Human Giant, which was the first major appearance of Aziz Ansari, who’d go on to star in Parks and Recreation and Master of None.
It was even the birthplace of a little show called Rick and Morty.
This single, pre-YouTube internet comedy festival wound up launching the careers of countless talents who, one decade earlier, would’ve been lucky to even be invited to the massive fight over the one available NBC primetime slot (which would’ve ultimately gone to John Larroquette, anyway.)