The humorless democratization of entertainment and politically correct jerk-off festival that the internet has become is really bumming me out. Last week the contentious comedy troupe, Million Dollar Extreme, was banned from YouTube. The channel initially went down on July 16th and has since been officially terminated by the website under allegations of copyright infringement or breaching the community guidelines of decency. This effectively removes hundreds of the group’s videos from online existence. These ranged from scripted and edited pieces of thoughtful irreverent comedy to an impromptu clip of Sam Hyde singing to his mother about how cool she is as she begs him to stop. Nick Rochefort’s prank calls to Craigslist prostitutes and Charles Carroll’s depiction of a homeless Satan are equally and troublingly missing. Going to these videos now yields the text “this video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.”
The only videos that have survived are fan tributes and exceptionally popular content, like their Williamsburg Street Fashion Interviews and Sam Hyde’s hijacking of a TEDx event. MDE is infamous for this type of comedy terrorism and seems to take special joy making fun of groups that most people would deem off limits, taking more of a scorched earth approach to humor. Nothing and nobody can be considered sacred. They also rarely offer a comforting wink to the audience when satirical elements get uncomfortable or a character says something particularly monstrous. It doesn’t feel safe and, in a world of politically correct labels and trigger warnings, people really like to feel safe. When asked about what Million Dollar Extreme’s response might be to the YouTube ban Hyde said, “I’m planning something big, loud, and ‘legal’ outside the YouTube headquarters. Let’s just say I’m gonna be on national television.”
The democratization of online entertainment that YouTube is so fond of may have helped promote untalented trash and clips of people falling down, but it hasn’t done quite so much for creative innovators pushing the boundaries of normalcy. Last winter, sensitive objectors with no sense of humor rallied together to flag MDE’s content to a point where YouTube placed them under review before allowing them to continue posting again. It is widely believed by the group’s fans that this has happened again with people specifically flagging for the potential use of hateful and offensive language. YouTube’s Community Guidelines state quite clearly that hate speech is defined by any language “which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity.” It also explains that the website is not a place to host shocking or disgusting material and does not want people posting videos of people being hurt or humiliated.
Meanwhile, here are some videos that are still available on YouTube: