Tech gets funny: Yahoo nabs ‘SNL’; YouTube and Twitter putting on comedy events

Did you hear the one about how valley tech companies now think they’re funny? Here you go:

• “Saturday Night Live” is moving — at least online. “Live from Yahoo! It’s Saturday Night!” reads the headline of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s blog post Wednesday announcing that the Sunnyvale company has scored exclusive rights to the TV show’s clips from 1975 to 2012. This means, according to the New York Times, that old clips of Dana Carvey as the church lady, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and more will be pulled from the NBC and Hulu websites and be available only on Yahoo beginning in September. Both Yahoo and Hulu will have the right to stream the episodes from the current season, the NYT says.

Yahoo struck the one-year exclusive deal with Broadway Video, which owns the SNL archive. When the show’s hub rolls out on Yahoo, it will include behind-the-scenes content such as dress rehearsals and making-of clips, according to Yahoo’s press release.

• In other tech and comedy news, YouTube said today it will hold a comedy week May 19 to 25. The Google-owned video site has been known to elicit a laugh or two — insert your favorite kitten video reference here — but YouTube is going for intentional laughs. And it is bringing in big names: comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Michael Cera, Vince Vaughn and Seth Rogen, plus partnerships with sites including The Onion and Funny or Die, according to the Associated Press. YouTube will kick off the week with a live stream, then new videos will follow. It’s all part of YouTube’s initiative to produce original programming.

• Finally, there’s comedy that’s (probably not) sweet and short. Yes, we’re talking Twitter, which has partnered with Comedy Central for a virtual comedy festival week that’s being carried out in tweets (that’s 140 characters of words, punctuation and punch lines) and vines (that’s 6-second video bursts of hilarity). Things will kick off next Monday with a live stream of the only #ComedyFest event that will be held in front of a live audience in Los Angeles, according to the New York Times. It will feature comedians Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner and Judd Apatow. After that, the funnies will come via Twitter and Comedy Central’s website.


Photo of Dana Carvey as the church lady on “Saturday Night Live” from Mercury News archives


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