Laughing at other people’s misfortune has been big business for a while. ITV’s look-at-the-guy-falling-over-athon, You’ve Been Framed, has been running in one form or another since 1990, and now that the beyond tedious studio sections have finally been excised due to the presence of Harry Hill on voiceover duties, it’s almost watchable when in a drunken stupor. Never quite recapturing the glory days when it was novel to watch people running into trees in dodgy home video footage, it is at least past the nadir of the godawful Lisa Riley years. I remember once trying to fake a video with a few of my friends – nothing elaborate, just a bit of ‘spontaneous’ falling-over. We didn’t send it in. I seem to remember that the fee the show paid for clips was £250 at its launch 20 years ago. It’s still £250 now. Cheapskates.
You’ve Been Framed, though, suffers from being on ITV in the early evening, which means that the level of the participants’ suffering is usually pretty tame. Someone being punched in the balls by a toddler is about as violent as it gets. I’ve always thought that an edgier version (maybe called You’ve Been Maimed) is the way forward. I’m not talking about people dying or being seriously injured or anything, merely the kind of hijinks that would send ITV’s lawyers running away screaming, just in case anyone copied the crazy stunts that went wrong.
This is where Failblog comes in. I first encountered it due to a random Youtube link that was sent to me, and, not being a regular viewer, it always seems fresh to me whenever a new ‘best of’ compilation goes up. Failblog is, as the name implies, concerned with showing pictures and video of people trying things and failing miserably, with suitably humorous results. Being on the internet, it doesn’t have to obey strict broadcasting guidelines. As such, at times it’s more brutal (and funnier) than Harry Hill can manage. The video below is a relatively mild compilation of fails, and it’s all good-natured, but you get the idea. There are shedloads more on Youtube, and on the site itself.