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Web Video / Hardly Working

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The College Humor staff, who form the cast of Hardly Working.note 

Sarah: A tiger broke into the office!
Jeff: Well that doesn't make any sense.
Jeff: The tiger's eating me!

Hardly Working is an online series of shorts taking place in the office from which the CollegeHumor 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
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Pat: I made you this balloon animal.
    Streeter: I made you this bassoon animal.
    Pat: I made you this doubloon animal.
    Dan: No more "words ending in -oon" animals!
    (Streeter drops a spoon animal)
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Taken to absurd levels in "The Social Consequences of Everything", where they shoot down every single idea about how to spend their day off because literally everything is politically incorrect in some way and thus unacceptable in modern society, until they eventually settle on doing literally nothing but sitting in a dark basement and waiting until they have to go back to work.
    Adam: [draws a gun] We could kill ourselves! Just end it all. Have freedom from all social judgment. The terrible awareness that came with the age of information. A return to before, when there were no Upworthy videos reminding you of how your every selfish act orphans a child a world away...
    Emily: [shocked] Jesus Christ, Adam! NO! [beat] We'd be tacitly supporting the gun lobby.
    Pat: And the energy costs of cremation are astronomical.
    Murph: Don't even get me started on traditional burials. I mean, the hubris!
  • Advertisement:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Jake frequently encourages all the guys to kiss each other, or suck each other off. "See Office Fight"
  • Answer Cut: In You'll Never Guess:
    Dan: I’m going to the conference room
    Sam: You’ll never guess what they're doing there
    Dan: Oh, let me guess. They’re all topless, reenacting the final, climatic scene to A Few Good Men.
    *Cut to conference room*
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Phantom is a recurring character in the videos. He's an all-around Comedic Sociopath and implied immortal, which gives rise to a number of claims.
    Phantom: You'd best watch yourself or I'll do to you what I did to Amelia Earhart.
    Dan: Amelia Earhart?
    Phantom: Flying is a man's game!
  • Beyond the Impossible: Tweeting about Twitter being down. This causes a double take, a 'that's impossi-!' shout and an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. It's ambigious whether the exclaimation was Twitter being down or tweeting about it.
  • Bi the Way: Most of the male cast. It's played around with a lot.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Jake in Over Realistic Buck Hunter
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Amir and Jake, respectively
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In Evil Chair:
    Dan: My lumbar was supported, I saw the exact moment of my death, my shoulders feel like jello!
  • Brick Joke: In "Stewie Keychain". It's even lampshaded with a good bit of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Butt-Monkey: The whole cast takes pretty equal turns in being the Butt-Monkey. Mostly Pat, though.
  • The Cameo: Lin-Manuel Miranda, rapper and Broadway lyricist, shows up in "Rap Battle."
    • Parodied in the episode "Jump the Shark," where Tony Hawk supposedly shows up.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Taken Up to Eleven in "Emergency Flirt": A tiger is trying to break down the door and Pat is flirting with a cute animal control operator.
  • Censor Suds: Showering With Girls.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Amir is a disturbing example.
    • Dan ventures into this territory as well.
    • Gale Beggy.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In "Jeff Goes Christian Bale"
  • Cool Teacher: Dan in "Cool Teacher". Though he's so cliche he just annoys everyone. Also, they're not actually his students.
  • Dead All Along: Streeter in Camouflage.
  • Death as Comedy: Die Hardly Working.
  • 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.
  • Dress Code: Parodied in "Casual Friday", then taken Up to Eleven, with:
    • Uptight Monday
    • Hesitant Tuesday
    • Melodramatic Thursday
    • Casual Acquaintance Friday
    • Coming to Work Saturday
    • Bloody Sunday
    • Mariachi, Bagpipe, Totalitarian Dictator Monday
  • Dude, Not Funny!: When Zac and Trapp suggested prank ideas from various 80s comedies (mostly Revenge of the Nerds), Pat realized that the majority of them were sex crimes, even straight up rape.
    Pat: That's just straight up rape.
    Trapp: Well, it was funny in Police Academy...
    Pat: Nothing was funny in Police Academy!
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: As a result of Murph tweeting about how Twitter is down.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Beef Gurewitch. Murph shoots both himself and Emily in the head to escape it. (It appears to be a cross between rotten deli meat and Zalgo.)
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The sketch "Secret Society" involves a secret organization of "lady punchers." One of them is a woman, and uses this trope as an explanation.
  • Evil Counterpart: Wa-Dan.
  • Expectation Lowerer: In-Universe, Pat in Wishful Thinking.
  • 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.
  • Food Slap: In "Drunk in Public," Sarah deals three times with an intoxicated Patrick by splashing him in the face.
  • For Want of a Nail: Time Traveler
  • 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.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In "Consciences."
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Jeff in Flash Forward.
  • 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.
  • Harem Seeker: Pat is looking for his "Two True Loves."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Amir thinks he and Jake are this. Jake is perpetually disgusted and horrified by him.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Over the course of the show, the Phantom of the Office has taken responsibility for the Black Plague, the extinction of the dodo bird, and most shockingly, the death of Jesus Christ.
  • 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.
    • In "Wacky Hijinks from 80s Comedies Were Mostly Rape", Pat chews out Trapp and Zac for coming up with pranks to get back at Murph and Emily that qualify as sex crimes and thinking that it's a good idea to do them just because they happened in comedy films from the 1980's. After they agree to instead go with pranks from more recent films, he happily agrees that they will prank Emily and Murphy by having them be tricked into eating eclairs made with dog semen like in Van Wilder, which is still kind of inappropriate to do to people.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Pat in "My Bloody Valentine" plays a possessive sociopath who kills Sarah after previously murdering everyone in the office who flirted with her on Valentine's Day. It backfires on him, as she wanted to ask him out before he stabbed her fatally.
  • The Internet: Shows up several times, as they work for a website. Once, they even found the source of the Internet.
  • Jumping the Shark: Parodied and taken Up to Eleven in the episode "Jump The Shark": A new SpinOff is introduced, Tony Hawk appears as a Guest Star, two characters get engaged, they move to a new building, Amir gets replaced, and Jeff gives birth to a baby Supreme Court justice. Finally, the whole cast gets replaced at the very end with a younger cast. invoked
  • Kill 'Em All: In "Hardly Working: The Cartoon", everybody in the office end up killing each other off in cartoonish fashions.
  • Lad Ette: Apparently Emily, especially in Jake and Amir — more foulmouthed than most of the guys, flirts with guys other than Murph (her boyfriend), and occasionally outright criminal.
  • Lady Macbeth: They had an entire video called Lady Macbething, in which Murph and Owen tried to convince each other to kill Sam.
  • Logic Bomb: "I'm tweeting about how pissed I am that twitter's down"
  • 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.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Don't be like Pat Cassels."
    • Seriously. Don't be like Pat.
  • Mermaid Problem: Spoofed when Dan introduces everyone to his fiance, except the problem is inverted because she's a maidmer with a fish head and a human lower body. The others point out that the Interspecies Romance implications of this variation only makes it worse.
  • 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.
    Dan Gurewitch: I don't know, didn't you eat that yesterday?
    (Pat spits out a whole Rice Krispie treat)
    Dan Gurewitch: No Thanks.
  • Motor Mouth: Amir in "Speed 3- Blabber Mouth".
  • 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.
  • Obsessive Love Letter: Parodied in the sketch "My Bloody Valentine". Sarah receives a bunch of increasingly disturbing love notes from Pat which contain stuff like "Bee mine?.... THAT WASN'T A QUESTION." Then he kills everyone who flirted with her, and Sarah herself.
  • Obviously Evil: Josh's evil chair
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Played for laughs when Dan falls in love with a maidmer. That's right, human legs with a fish head on top. It only makes the usual Mermaid Problem even worse, with his coworkers being flat-out disgusted.
  • 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.
  • Polyamory: Parodied in "My Two True Loves", in which Pat sings about his dream to have this sort of relationship.
    Pat: It'll be just you and me!... and her!
  • Previously On…: Parodied in "Last Week", which shows "previously ons" to numerous previous episodes that never happened.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In "Mangina", when the boys demonstrate the illusion of a vagina by tucking their genitals between their legs, Sarah one-ups them with a "reverse mangina", by making her labia look like a penis.
  • 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.
    David: What a totally... average thing to say.
  • Right Behind Me: Parodied in All Nighter He's Right Behind Me, with person after person getting revealed until the speaker realizes that he himself is actually the person whom he's been talking about.
  • Scooby Stack: Parodied and deconstructed in the sketch "Snooping": in that each consecutive person added on top of the stack increases the pressure on the bottom guy until his head explodes.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Dan in "Dodgeball." And "Stomp."
  • 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).
    • Their gifts:
      • First, Owen receives from Jeff his dead cat, killed and put on a neckchain that Owen is supposed to wear around his neck.
      • Anu's gift for Caldwell 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]
    Dan: Remember when these were a thing?
  • Serious Business: "Desk Toys," "Box Fort," "Jinx," "Religiously," and "Bad News On A Basketball Phone," to name a few.
  • 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 is aiming for the late 60s (Woodstock, Summer of Love), while the guys went for a more Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce theme.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: The sketch "Stockholm Syndrome" parodies the effects wonderfully with Sarah being seduced by Pat saying he'll get a "handsome ransom" out of her.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "One more announcement: today is Stick Towels Under Your Doors Day," where you show your company pride by placing towels in any space smoke could travel through, right after saying "this is a test of the building's alarm system in the event of a widespread fire in the basement. No fires today."
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Seen in Amir and Streeter.
  • 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.
    • Made better in that their meeting is Ricky telling Sam that the budget has been blown due to replacing all the broken technology, while Sam watches as a photocopier is thrown into a desk.
  • 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".
    • Slightly averted with Emily and Anu. (And now apparently Elaine.)
    • There are several other women visible in the background of many of the videos as well, most often in large shots of the office or in meetings. They are almost never addressed or acknowledged, though. Typically, they have little to no impact in the video (and don't have any lines), but some videos avert this to varying degrees, such as "Sarah's Revenge", "Fired Up", and Jake and Amir's "Dating Coach".
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In "All-Nighter Hardly Working: He's Right Behind Me", Jeff gripes about Dan's disgusting behavior in the office, only to eventually realize that he's actually Dan.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Apparently, Emily and Anu, although Anu hasn't gotten much screen time thus far.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Everyone in Die Hardly Working.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Parodied in Wait!, where no one can tell who they are saying goodbye to.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Amir's "Overgrown Guy Girlfriend". Also counts as The Load.
  • Yandere: In the surprisingly chilling video "My Bloody Valentine" from this comedy series, Pat sends Sarah increasingly threatening notes demanding that she be his, murders every other guy in the office who showed an interest in her, then stabs her in the stomach.
  • You Can't Handle the Parody: At the end of "You'll Never Guess" some of the staff are re-enacting the iconic scene from A Few Good Men, so the line of course gets said. They're also not wearing shirts while doing it.


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