The College Humor staff, who form the cast of Hardly Working.note Ricky Van Veen (front center) has since begun working at the parent company, and Sarah Schneider (far left) left to join the writing staff of Saturday Night Live
Hardly Working is an online series of shorts taking place in the office from which the College Humor website is run. The series is written by and stars the CH staff. The first shorts were ten-second-long, one-joke bits shot with a cam-corder for fun, but as their popularity grew they expanded into full sketches several minutes long and shot with multiple professional cameras.Most of the shorts take place in the context of supposed everyday life working at the website's office. The most prominent subseries within Hardly Working is Jake And Amir, a Boke and Tsukkomi Routine between the two titular characters.See it here.
This series provides examples of:
Acting for Two: Or three or four. Several cast members play multiple characters, often with little more than a wig as a distinction. Streeter Seidel and Josh Ruben are the main examples
Depending on the Writer: The personalities of both Amir and Jake in Hardly Working differ somewhat from their characterization in their own series, ironically with Jake frequently being an obnoxious idiot and Amir often as the straight man.
Fake Irish: When the "Punctuation Recession" leads to the office having to cut back on punctuation marks, the cutting of hyphens from the budget means that Streeter is downgraded from being Irish-American to simply Irish. Specifically, violent Fighting Irish.
George Jetson Job Security - In most of the Hardly Workings with Ricky he's either firing somebody or gets close to. In "Fired Up" he almost fires a girl, who simply says no to him and it's over just like that.
Happy Birthday To You: In celebrating Sarah's birthday, nobody remembers the birthday song, which upsets her. Has a hilarious moment where she has a straight face while everyone else joins in the new improvised song.
Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Parodied in ''Killing Hitler. The first time they try it, the adult Hitler beats up the time traveller. The second time he does it again, but as an adolescent. The third time traveller attacks him with a rifle when he's a small child. However, Hitler steals it, and then forces the traveller to tell him how to make an atomic bomb. And then kid Hitler travels through the portal into the future.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In "Pee Prank," Streeter tries to pull the "fingers in hot water while sleeping" prank on Jake, but when he tests the temperature of the water, pees himself.
Hollywood New England: "Federal Maashals" features the College Humor office being raided by two Federal Marshals with incomprehensible Boston accents. The go around the office shouting "GO SAAHX" (Boston Red Sox), humming their theme song, asking David and Sarah confusing questions and beating other people up. Hilarity Ensues.
Hypocritical Humor: "Bane Mugs", where they imitate Tom Hardy's Bane voice by putting coffee mugs over their mouths to muffle their voice:
Emily:[puts mug to mouth] Now is not the time for fear, doctor. Now is the time [lowers mug, normal voice] to get some real work done.
Josh: I mean, once we, uh, organize the files, [puts mug to mouth] then you have my permission [lowers mug] to do Bane impressions.
And then they continue having a conversation and breaking into Bane impressions.
The "Punctuation Recession" is full of examples:
Jake Hurwitz: How the hell do you budget punctuation?
Sarah Schneider: Jake, stop asking stuff! You're gonna cost us all our question marks.
Ricky: That's the spirit, Sarah.
Sarah Schneider: Thanks!
Ricky: You just cost us an exclamation mark.
Pat Cassels: Well, Miss Perfect, who's "wasting" punctuation now, huh?
Jeff Rubin: Well at least she didn't just cost us two quotation marks, didn't she, Pat?
Which is followed by Amir deciding that the way to not use punctuation is to continue talking without ever ending sentences. Note that he uses commas to break phrases up.
Makeover Montage: Parodied. Sarah does one for David and Pat - into an ordinary black gown, which she says is the only thing she has. At the guys' insistence, she goes through the makeover montage. The resulting product in the end is that she looks a lot like Elphaba in a sweater.
Mind Screw: Often. "Puppet Sarah" has one when you realize that Sarah's puppet has been controlled by a puppet of Amir that is being controlled by Human!!Amir, who has been communicating up until now with Human!!Sarah on a cell phone.
From "Trading Lunches:"
Pat Cassels: I will give you that rice krispie treat I ate yesterday.
Negative Continuity - Characters are killed off or change careers all the time, but return immediately in the next video.
Inverted by Jake and Amir. So far there has not been any continuity errors and it even has the odd Continuity Nod or two.
Papa Bear - Pat's Step Dad in "Step Dad" sees himself as this, based almost entirely on the fact that he gets Pat extra large cheese pizzas.
Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Puppet Sarah", we see that apparently every single person in the office is totally oblivious to the fact that "Sarah" is actually a puppet on strings being controlled by a puppet of Amir being controlled by the real Amir, who is talking to Sarah on a cell phone.
Ridiculously Average Guy: In one video, super-nerd Jeff uses a machine to change his personality to be super cool and suave. When he decides that the only thing cooler than being cool is being yourself and attempts to reverse the process, something goes wrong resulting in him becoming exactly average.
Average Geoff: Does anyone wanna play some XBOX? I only have one controller though.
Secret Santa: Spoofed with Black Comedy in "Kovert Krampus," where instead of giving each other gifts, the staff gives each other things to punish them for their lies and transgressions (with a $20 spending limit).
First, Owen receives from Jeff his dead cat, killed and put on a neckchain that Owen is supposed to wear around his neck.
Marina's gift for Adam is a bag of wasps, as she learned from his Facebook page that it was one of his mortal fears. He puts the bag over his head, and it's implied they sting him all over.
Pat's gift for Vinny is, aware of Vinny's bragging about crossword puzzles: locking his girlfriend in a tank slowly filling with water at an unknown location. He gives Vinny a photo of her in captivity and a list of instructions on how to find her.
Murph and Kevin exchange gifts: Kevin's is a rusty nail bat, and Murph's is a pillowcase full of fish semen.
Then Emily, having enough of the graphic gifts, intervenes:
Emily Axford: No. No. This is beyond fucked up! There's nothing heartwarming about inflicting fish semen on your friends! Or whatever Dan's doing!
[Cuts to Pat, shirtless, strapped to a torture rack and writhing in pain as Dan blasts a vuvuzela into his ears]
Shout Out - Loads, usually to popular movies or songs. Some of the memorable ones included a Clue game that turned into something similar to Jumanji.
"Board Game Murder Mystery", while not a Hardly Working sketch, is one example. If you watch, you'll catch all of the references to popular Milton Bradley board games: in order, Don't Wake Daddy, Operation, Guess Who, Trouble, Sorry!, and Mouse Trap.
Small Name, Big Ego- Ricky is portrayed as this, having a full scale picture of himself in his office and scattered around the office in general. He also is his own favorite employee,as shown in "Ricky's Diary".
Spin the Bottle: In the 2010 All Nighter sketches, the staff decide to play this but are troubled by the fact that they are all guys. Then Sarah comes along and they basically rope her into playing with them (this actually makes sense since the entire goal of Spin The Bottle is that you kiss whoever the bottle lands on, and these guys are likely straight). Of course, the game has to be rigged since Sarah is selected to spin first, and gets David. She kisses him. He spins and lands on her, and has to kiss her for five seconds. The joke continues as they keep landing on each other, with the instructions on what to do getting more and more surreal (the sixth time, Sarah denies having obvious feelings for someone else, and the seventh time, David gets drunk and says something that provokes Sarah into slapping him). When Sarah spins and lands on Sam, she tries to apologize to David for breaking the streak and the others have to restrain David as he lunges at Sam.
Stalker with a Crush- Amir has a binder with in-depth descriptions of everything Jake has ever worn to work since he's started working there. Jake is understandably disturbed by this.
Stay in the Kitchen- Sarah gets a whirlwind of misogynistic insults in "60's Day". Mainly because she was aiming for late 60's,while everyone else was going for the Mad Men setting.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill - Attempted in "Bug", with them deciding to smash Sarah's computer, then her harddrive, and even her monitor in an attempt to kill the fly, which still lives. Then they decide to go get the photocopier. The scene shows Sam and Ricky having an important meeting in their conference room, and a Funny Background Event happens: Ricky is totally oblivious (unable to see or hear that) that Sam is paying more attention to the fact that behind Ricky, the other staff members are dismantling the photocopier.
The Smurfette Principle - Sarah is portrayed most of the time as being the only girl in the office, with most of the guys there having a crush on her. Exemplified wonderfully in "Sarah's Revenge".