Vine Comedy: A New and Complicated Genre

Every form of entertainment has established devices that are commonly used to get a message across. Television and movies have plot devices that move the story forward. They are so well established that we don’t even notice them, they are just conventions that make sense to us. These are called tropes.

Vine was released in 2013, and although this form of entertainment is only 3 years old, there have been plenty of tropes established, especially in the Vine comedy genre. As a product of the millennial teenage world, I’ve realized that Vines are everywhere. There has been countless times where I have been asked to watch a hilarious Vine. It’s so popular because its so simple, only 6 seconds of your life is wasted if you don’t end up enjoying the video. But if you think about it, 6 seconds is very little time to make someone laugh. That’s why these tropes exist…because they are formulas that always get a laugh or create comedy.

There are the Vines that take an absurd twist at the end. This type of vine is usually a short scene with a couple lines and the last line takes the scene the most absurd route. Usually an uncalled for insult or something completely irrelevant. The abrupt ending, sometimes cutting off that last line, leaves the viewer with that “wait what the hell was that” laugh.This is not to be confused with what I like to call the “scratching record effect” which is when the scene’s normal conversation ends with random comment, just like every “record scratch” moment in television and movies. However, I think it’s so much funnier with Vines because it happens so quickly.

There are vines with music in them. These usually feature scenes of people dancing weirdly or some sort of action that is equally as ridiculous. Also we have the vines that have music at the end of them to quickly wrap the scene up. This revisits the common trope of: the faster or more abrupt the Vine ends, the funnier it is because it leaves you saying “what the hell?”

There is the SNL effect of finding humor in characters made from every day observations. I’ve seen the “typical household mom” character which is hilarious because all of the observations made about what they say is so accurate. However, the most unique Vine trope of them all is the fact that this app is the video equivalent of Twitter. Tweets are messages limited to 140 characters and Vines are messages limited to 6 seconds of video. So there are some Vines that are humorous for the same reason some joke tweets are humorous. These Vines use the “relatable tweets” formula. Except instead of a picture or a meme being the punchline, it’s the 6 seconds of video.

Some Vines use the same “when you’re (blank)” statement at the beginning and then the scene is the reaction to the situation described

These are all common formulas Vine comedy has based itself on. And this is just Vine comedy. There are thousands of other 6 second videos out there with other sorts of content. Vine has started an entertainment revolution. These videos aren’t just on the app anymore, they are put in miscellaneous tweets, Facebook blogs, Tumblr posts, etc. I highly recommend watching some of these videos and trying to see what device each one uses. I’m not saying that these Vines are unoriginal, quite the opposite actually. I’m simply saying that these established tropes have legitimized the form of entertainment.


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