Patrick Cassels started writing funny articles for CollegeHumor in 2007, while he was still a student at SUNY Purchase.
When he was in college, he says, "the internet was in full swing, so to speak, but some people hadn't considered it a format. People wanted to write for more traditional places."
He stuck with the site and was brought on full-time in 2008, which was around the same time the site started investing more time on College Humor Originals, the sketch videos the site is now well-known for. Cassels' focus quicklly moved to videos, and he's since written and starred in countless sketches (you can see his full list of credits here; I recommend Human Gif and Baseball Talk.)
CollegeHumor developed it's brand and identity online, uploading videos every day that were perfect for the web: short and funny. It made the leap to television in 2009, but The CollegeHumor Show aired for just one season on MTV.
"Not everything that's on the internet can be turned into a show," he said. "You're acknowledging that you're throwing away whatever structure worked online, and adapting it as a new three-act piece to go on television."
The relationship between television and the web can often seem complicated; what works well on one wont necessarily work well on the other.
The first truly viral video from television was the SNL digital short "Lazy Sunday" -- and the success of that has encouraged others to write with an eye on the internet audience.
Cassels said that CollegeHumor is experimenting with different formats to find a place on television again, but the internet is still their homebase.
"I would not be here without the internet," he admits.
Cassels joins Billy Eichner from Funny or Die, comedian Seth Herzog, Sam Reich from CollegeHumor and Adam Neauhaus from @radical.media in a panel discussion on viral television Monday, May 14 at 11 a.m at Internet Week HQ. As a bonus, he's answered our 7 Important Internet Questions below!
What apps can't you live without?
I recently abandoned my paper day planner and switched to iPhone apps for organization. Someone introduced me to Clear, which is a to-do list app. It's very tactile, so it feels viscerally satisfying when you cross something off. It's at the point where I'm running errands just to check them off, not because I care about doing them.
Who are your must-follows on Twitter?
TNG Season 8. It's plot summaries from a non-existant eighth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. "Data learns to snap," is the best one I've read so-far. In a way it summarizes why Star Trek is both great and hilarious.
What's your most-watched YouTube video?
There are a countless that would be neck-and-neck. One of my first jobs at CollegeHumor, back when everyone did everything, was searching the Internet for random funny videos. I'd watch 100 awful ones, but one amazing one reminded you why I fell in love with the Internet in the first place. I just saw one called, "Pete Weber God Dammit," in which a professional bowler wins a match, goes insane with joy, and screams the phrase, "Who do you think you are?! I am!"
What’s your favorite meme?
Lately I've been into Goosebumps Girl. I like how it's written in this really specific, almost unpronounceable vernacular. It's become a contest between the creators to see how much they can defamiliarize a word and still have the audience understand what that word is.
-Where's your favorite place for free wi-fi in New York?
The coffee shop I used to go to closed recently, so I don't have a place at the moment. There's a second coffee shop but it turns into a hookah bar after a certain hour. I need to either start smoking hookah or stop using the internet. I don't want to do either.
What would you be doing if the internet didn’t exist?
Writing comedy, but probably not getting paid for it.
What will the internet be like in 10 years?
Did you see that movie Minority Report? We'll be able to torrent that even faster than we can today!