- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2006

Each week, the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free interactive sounds and action.

Laugh online

Fifteen sort-of-known comedians have teamed up to freely spread their trade to Web surfers through a site determined to produce a few chuckles. DailyComedy.com (www.dailycomedy.com) went live last week and offers a diverse range of material to appeal to visitors 18 years old and older.

Exclusive text and video nuggets mock the latest topics and trends as the staff members each try to offer a daily quip, which are all available to e-mail to friends and enemies around the globe.

Some of the comedians involved in the cyber shenanigans include Laurie Kilmartin, former staff writer for “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn”; Paul Mecurio, Emmy winner for “The Daily Show”; and Dean Edwards, former “Saturday Night Live” cast member.

The bloglike design simply lists a bunch of witticisms that take shots at everyone from Oprah to King Abdullah to the new Miss Universe to President Bush, along with lifestyle and observational humor tossed in.

Nothing is sacred to this band of comedic marauders who deliver crude as well as clever thoughts and riffs often accompanied by photographs (a la Dennis Miller’s news bits) and the occasional video segment.

Even more interesting is an area where the average joe can sign up to create his own Comedy Stage and become a cyber stand-up comic.

I was amazed at how much of the supposed amateur content actually was posted by career comedians including Chris Mata from Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and self-described vigilante pundit Baratunde Thurston. I guess just being heard, even with a post to a Web site, is sometimes enough in this demanding field.

Cyber ‘Vice’

A legendary television show made it to the big screen last week with Universal Studio’s “Miami Vice” starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. The film’s official Web site (www.miamivice.com) takes visitors on a somber journey into the seedier side of Florida’s costal city revealed through collages of images, profanity and video clips, offering a lesson in drug running, arms dealing and prostitution along with a primer on the forces that try to stop it.

Only visitors 18 years old and older will get the full experience, and only after they submit to an age verification procedure. It requires they enter name, date of birth and ZIP code into a form that appears to search a government ID database for confirmation.

A musical score punctuated with piano opens the multimedia presentation as the visitor clicks on the words Traffic, the Line and Miami-Dade to watch the site evolve through muted tones, color bursts, words that slash across the screen, embedded video, occasional gun smoke and dialogue culled from the film.

At least 12 video clips can be found among pages that use spinning arrows to define the hot spots peppered throughout the visuals. Visitors also get a bit of an education while clicking around, learning depressing information such as that 34.2 million Americans have used cocaine and that drug cartels run highly advanced counterintelligence operations rivaling the FBI and CIA.

Easily the most impressive section is Miami-Dade, which leads to an interactive map (in both satellite and route views or a hybrid of the two) that allows users to find facts and historical information about the region displayed in pop-up boxes.

Also, a Tools of the Trade area presents an explanation of some of the weapons and techniques used by the bad guys who traffic in contraband.

Other areas encountered during the exploration of the site include a high-definition download of the trailer, a look at some of the countries that use Miami to feed America’s habits and the men and women who fight the war without boundaries.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com). Joseph also writes a Web-exclusive column for the Washington Times Web site where he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www.washingtontimes.com/familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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