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Why Do We Love #Fail Videos?

If the Internet has shown me one thing, it’s my own astounding capacity to waste time. The rabbit holes online are deep and rich and usually absolutely fruitless. But I’m fascinated by anything that’s addictive, and my personal black tar heroin is, without doubt, “fail” videos. You know the sort—a 10-minute compilation of six-second clips of people who are about to wind up on Tosh.0, but don’t know it yet. I love watching a bike jump gone wrong, or a girl burn off a huge chunk of hair with a curling iron. Skateboards, especially, seem to play a role in an impressive fraction of fail videos, and I would like to take this moment to thank their riders for remembering to film and upload their gnarliest errors to the Internet; it’s amazing that some of you can still operate a computer. And if the view counts on these YouTube videos are any indicator, it seems I’m definitely not alone in my addiction to the misfortune of others.

It’s not like fail videos are a new phenomenon caused by the Internet, either. Bob Saget was breaking down VHS footage of America’s Funniest fails well before most people ever heard of a thing called “email.” I suspect that at some point a Stone Age man burned his rear while hopping across a fire and his buddies laughed at him, and court jesters have certainly suffered greatly throughout history for the entertainment of others. If such malicious joy is both universal and ancient, where does it come from? What is its function?

The Germans coined the term schadenfreude (literally translated as “harm-joy”) to describe that feeling of enjoyment you get when you hear Justin Bieber got another D.U.I or that Tom Brady got suspended for four games because he knowingly cheated at football (assuming you’re not a Patriots fan). Schadenfreude has recently begun to receive more attention from psychologists and philosophers, and the emotion has been induced experimentally and analyzed. Lea Boecker, a researcher at University of Cologne’s Social Cognition Center, has taken German soccer fans and had them watch videos of the Dutch national team missing penalty kicks (there is a longstanding rivalry between these countries) and the German team succeeding in the same task. She found that viewers smiled wider when watching the Dutch blow it (pdf) than they did while watching the Germans convert successfully. Boecker thinks part of the appeal is that schadenfreude is tied to self-esteem. “You feel better. You feel lifted up in comparison to the other person,” she says.

Fail Blog, one of the biggest compendiums of fail videos and pictures on the Internet, has also recognized the self-esteem benefits of their content—an awareness reflected in their motto: “Helping you feel better about yourself every day.” The site’s editor-in-chief, Emily Huh, says, “You feel a little better about yourself when you visit Fail Blog. Our mission is to make people feel happy for five minutes a day.”

Richard Smith, a psychologist at University of Kentucky who has literally written the book on schadenfreude, thinks our love for the suffering of others may have an evolutionary origin. Darwin proposed that all of life is in constant competition for resources and mates, and Smith thinks that our malicious delight may stem from a knowledge that we’re getting a leg up on the competition. “Let’s say you’re a guy and you’re in love with a woman, and that’s just a fact. But there’s another guy who’s also in love with this woman. She’s going to make a choice; it’s either you or him. If that rival suffers—falls into the mud puddle or whatever it might be—and is no longer a competitor, are you going to be sorry about that? You’re getting the girl. That’s good.” 

Likewise Boecker says that envy is the opposite emotion of schadenfreude, and fail videos may have a therapeutic effect and reduce our jealousy. Fail videos show vulnerable people who don’t have it together. These videos seem to represent a counterpoint to social media sites like Facebook where individuals tend to mostly post content that shows them in a good light. Such a biased presentation has been shown to cause envy and low self-esteem in heavy users.

“You know, humor doesn’t change a whole lot. If you watch a comedy from the 1920s, the fat, rich man stepping out of a Cadillac and into the mud is just as funny now.”

However, there also seems to be a limit to how severe the suffering can be before empathy turns the delicious taste of schadenfreude foul. Videos containing gore or intense violence are popular in some dark corners of the Internet such as 4chan’s infamous /b/ board, but Boecker suspects that the appeal of these extreme fail videos may be more closely related to how people can’t look away from disasters, like train wrecks or hurricanes. “It attracts people somehow. No one would actually laugh in those videos. Maybe [it’s] sensation seeking,” she says.

The line between schadenfreude and disgust has a lot to do with the circumstances of the event, too. Usually if the person dies, the content ceases to generate any schadenfreude in the average, well-adjusted viewer, but even these morals are flexible in some cases. When Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. soldiers, for instance, President Barack Obama tactfully dodged questions about whether he was glad the terrorist leader was dead, saying there were no “high fives,” but regular citizens around the country showed less diplomacy, gathering in public places chanting, “U-S-A!” and openly celebrating the killing. 

Some of the jubilance surrounding bin Laden’s death also highlights another key enhancer of schadenfreude: justice. Most people believe Osama got what he deserved. We love to see the guy who cut us off in traffic immediately get pulled over by the cop. Some of the sweetest fail videos often begin with the same kind of cockiness or arrogance that is erased by the gods of karma before being uploaded to World Star Hip Hop. Bonus points if the misfortune befalls someone trying to take a selfie.

It’s always easier to dislike people who think they’re better than you, and maybe the inherently narcissistic act of recording oneself is enough to allow viewers to push away empathy and embrace some guilt-free schadenfreude. “Hey everybody look at me and this super cool yoyo trick I can do!”

In an interview in Parade magazine from 2012, Jay Leno was asked if the digital age had affected how he approached comedy. He responded by saying, “You know, humor doesn’t change a whole lot. If you watch a comedy from the 1920s, the fat, rich man stepping out of a Cadillac and into the mud is just as funny now.” Well said, Jay. Hopefully somebody will be there to record it on their phone and upload it to YouTube for me.

David Shultz is a freelance journalist covering biology and science of all sorts. He tweets at @dshultz14.

Why Do We Love #Fail Videos? TheEdge_THUMB

The Biggest Christmas Tree Fails Ever Caught on Video

It's easy to take Christmas trees for granted. We expect the holiday-season staples to just sit in our living rooms and look pretty, all the while getting shit hung all over them and shoved underneath them. Their greatest reward? Maaaaybe sneaking into the background of a family Instagram before getting tossed or, if it's a fake tree, moving back into storage. Rough life. In honor of these green martyrs, we've perused the web to remember below those trees who went to especially great lengths to please us, fighting unexpected foes and, unfortunately, meeting certain doom along the way.

Dad vs. Tree

A heavyweight tree, from Top Hill Farms in Goodrich, Michigan, holds its own in this nail-biting bout against a blade-bearing dad.
Winner: Dad, according to the OP, who wrotethat "with proper guidance from my 3 year old and unwavering 'support' from my wife, we were finally able to take the tree home."

Shaq vs. Tree

Get ready for Shaqtin' a Fool: Christmas Edition, in which one tree does its best Dikembe Mutombo impression.
Winner: Trees, for declaring war against Shaq

Thrillist TV

Cat vs. Tree

A harmless climb becomes holiday sabotage in this taut action-adventure.
Winner: The feline grinch, for an impeccable escape that would make these other guys proud

Hoverboard Handstand vs. Tree

As this family learns, a lot of bad can happen in three seconds.
Winner: Draw -- but way to take one for the team, tree

Treadmill vs. Tree

This woman loves her new treadmill -- so much so she graduates from walking to no-hands running in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, her present hates trees and humans -- so much so the machine tries to kill both at the same time, right after whispering, "These violent delights have violent ends."
Winner: The cameraman, for his flawless commentary and timing

RC Truck vs. Tree

An unfair fight that makes a small child cry.
Winner: Truck, in two seconds flat

Priest vs. Tree

Tree: Knock, knock.
Priest: I'm in the middle of Mass.
Tree: Knock, knock.
Priest: Fine. Who's there?
Tree: Interrupting tree.
Priest: Interrupting--
Winner: Tree, for figuring out a savvy way to get out of Mass early

High schooler vs. Tree

I like to think that this video is really a xXx prequel, and that this masked daredevil is really yelling, "You've just entered the Xander Zone" at his target on the way down.
Winner:Xander Cage, always

Woman vs. Tree

If you thought Simon Cowell was a harsh judge of talent, you haven't met this tree.
Winner: Tree

Toddlers vs. Tree

These kids have no idea that their real Christmas present is a surprise visit from Stone Cold Tree Austin.
Winner: Unforgivable, but Stone Cold Tree Austin

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Sean Fitz-Gerald is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. Find him on Twitter @srkfitzgerald.

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Top 20 Fail Compilation Channels on YouTube

Every success story once began as a fail… right? If you fail, that means you learn. Right? Well, not in this case. YouTube is a beautiful platform for producing raw footage of never-before-seen, raw footage that you couldn’t pay enough to see live. The following fail compilation channels gather the fails of the world to one, big, happy place. Take a look at these channels, and let’s hope you will never be featured on one! 

1. FailArmy 

  • 14.7M subscribers
  • Joined July 5, 2011

Isn’t the saying, we rise as one and fall as one? Well, at FailArmy, we all fail as one! Failarmy is the leading YouTube channel for all things fail. Members of this army laugh in the face of failure and don’t take themselves too seriously. Those two qualities are the key to a successful failure. FailArmy releases fails of the week, so stay tuned, and keep praying you’re not the star of the show! 

2. Life Awesome

  • 3.32M subscribers
  • Joined Dec. 16, 2015

Life is awesome, especially when you’re on the viewing side of some hilarious fails. Life Awesome also posts simply funny videos, while focusing on fail compilations that DARE to not make you laugh. 

3. Dumb Genius 

  • 3.07M subscribers
  • Joined May 9, 2013

The only way one could be referred to as “dumb” and a “genius,” it’s at the expense of other people’s fails. This fail compilation channel focuses on all of those individuals who sacrifice their own pride and humility, for the greater good of other’s laughter. So dumb, it’s genius. 

4. Break 

  • 2.9M subscribers
  • Joined Dec. 9, 2005

Although hearing the word “break” and “fail” in the same sentence may be cringeworthy, Break will leave you with the deep laugh that you can feel all the way in your toes. Similar to other channels, Break posts user-created content when sharing the best fails of the week, month, or season. Open up Break, and get lost in these fail videos. 

5. America’s Funniest Home Videos

  • 2.32M subscribers
  • Joined Aug. 11, 2010

The show we all are too familiar with, America’s Funniest Home Videos. AFV is America’s longest-running funny video television program, collecting viral videos for decades now. AFV has also become proficient in the subject of fail compilations, as they fashionably represent all the fails that are great in this world. 

6. Top Viners 2 

  • 1.4M subscribers
  • Joined Nov. 20, 2014

Last but certainly not least, vine once again! These top vines focus on the best fail compilations of our time. Whether it be failed pranks, or “Try Not to Laugh” competition, Top Viners aces the game of fail compilations. Top Viners 2 reminds us that Vine may be gone, but never forgotten! 

7. Fun and Fails

  • 1.36M subscribers
  • Joined July 25, 2018

Any way you put it, fails are fun! A live fail compilation channel to fulfill all of your fail needs. 

8. Cat Tuber

  • 1.2M subscribers
  • Joined Nov. 1, 2016

It is not what you think it is… and no cats were harmed in the making of these fails. Join the Cat Tuber family and see all different types of animals fail as much as humans do. We didn’t know that was possible! 

9. The Best Fails 

  • 762K subscribers
  • Joined Jan. 12, 2015

You heard it here first folks, TBF is home of the Best Fails! With 762 thousand followers, TBF provides new videos Tuesday-Sunday that will quite frankly, carry you through your week. TBF specializes in “What Could Go Wrong,”“Try Not To Laugh,” and “Epic Fails.” Videos between two and ten minutes will be sure to make you laugh. 

10. Fail Force One 

  • 669K subscribers
  • Joined Dec. 22, 2016

A beautiful play on words, this channel supplies content that makes you wish you were on the next flight on Air Force One, to find the creator of the video and make sure they are OK. FFO specializes in fails of “Near Death and Close Calls,” and “What Could Go Wrong.” If you ever ask yourself this question, you may be the next person featured on Fail Force One.

11. MonthlyFails

  • 587K subscribers
  • Joined March 30, 2011

MonthlyFails categorizes your “average joe” fail compilation by month, and you can finish off your 30-day social media binge with a quality YouTube fail compilation. Usually involving vehicles, the preview screenshot for each video sparks an interest in every eye in which you cannot turn away. Between four to seven minutes long, each fail compilation leaves you thinking, what did I just watch? 

12. Viral Media Tube

  • 168K subscribers
  • Joined July 28, 2014

We certainly are attracted to viral media these days, as it seems to rule our news feed on every social media. VMT specializes in funny fail compilations that only happen once in a lifetime, and were captured on camera. At VMT, funny and stupid go hand in hand. In life, funny and stupid also go hand in hand. Oh, the irony! 

13. Just Funny Videos

  • 166K subscribers
  • Joined Dec. 6, 2015

Don’t let the name fool you.. these videos aren’t funny. They’re HILARIOUS. Just funny videos uploads not only blooper reels but fail videos that make you wonder, “what were they thinking?” From college girls to newscasters, Just Funny covers every angle of fail compilation. 

14. Funny Vines 2

  • 128K subscribers
  • Joined Jan. 18, 2017

Although Vine is deleted from our phones, it is not deleted from our memory! Funny Vines 2 brings back all the goodies and compiles all classic fails into one. Take a look, and jog down memory lane. Try not to shed a tear! 

15. TwisterNederland 

  • 79K subscribers
  • Joined Jan. 6, 2012

TwisterNederland provides fails from all different scopes. They post fails of dogs, trucks, humans doing their normal thing, or fails according to the season. We’ve got summer fails, winter fails, fall fails, a fail for every season! All videos are around 10 to 15 minutes long, perfect for a midday pick-me-up. 


  • 42K subscribers
  • Joined April 20, 2016

Nothing sounds quite as comforting as a FAILZONE…a place where it is OK if you fail! Skiing, water sports, or outdoorsy fails fit the bill. 

17. FailFun

  • 37.5K subscribers
  • Joined Sept. 13, 2015

Two words that go hand in hand…fail and fun! This fail compilation channel organizes fails of the week and exposes the ultimate fail compilations of today’s world. Whether it’s your neighbor on a ladder holding a laundry bin over their head or your mother on a hoover board in the kitchen, this channel puts the fun in FailFun. 

18. Fails & Fun

  • 13K subscribers
  • Joined Oct. 28, 2015

Another fail compilation channel targeting all the FUN that comes from fails… This must mean something! Even though fails are cringe-worthy, there is always someone that can make it fun. Take a look at fails and fun, and you won’t feel bad for the ones who are having fun along the way. 

19. Fail Channel 

  • 3.74K subscribers
  • Joined July 4, 2017

With 3.74k followers, Fail Channel is a central hub for everyday work fail compilations that happen oh too often. With captions, “idiots at work,” the average viewer is drawn in to see what kind of things could go wrong in a regular workday… not much right? Well, Fail Channel is here to tell you, wrong! 

20. Success

  • 1.01K subscribers
  • Joined Jan. 7, 2019

Fail compilations are international, and this type of humor goes further than the United States boundaries. Based in the United Kingdom, Success compiles not your average fail video but puts a UK spin on it. Want to increase your global humor? Head over to success, it won’t disappoint. 

Want more of the top fail compilation channels on YouTube? Here are some that didn’t make the cut:

50 Shades394K
Poor Judgement385K
Fail Department140K
Last Fails22.5K
Nothing on TV ?!13.6K

This article was written by Jessica Paolucci

Want to reach these top fail compilation channels? Get started with us to find out how!


A ranked list of the best fail channels on YouTube, as voted on by fans of the channels themselves. Everyone loves a good fail and these channels have some of the most epic fails, girl fails, skateboarding fails, and even game fails on YouTube. People falling, accidents, crashes and pretty much every kind of fail you could possible think of are on at least some of these channels. But which Fail channel really nails it? 

These channels produce some of the best fail videos on the Internet, so definitely subscribe to the ones below if you like them. With so many YouTubers creating good fail videos on a weekly basis, you will definitely find something you like from at least one of them. These are the top fail YouTube channels according to views and number of subscribers, but bigger doesn't necessarily mean better since you're voting for your favorite channels in the fail category. Watch each of these channels' best vids and decide which ones you like. The best part about YouTube is that you can subscribe to all of them and just wait for the endless videos to roll in all the time. 

FailArmy and FailBlog are just two of the hilarious fail channels that are featured on this list.

Sure there are some internet clip recaps on TV, but YouTube allows for more creativity and originality from its video creators. Add your favorite YouTuber, or Fail video team, to the list if they're missing, but only if their channel mostly creates fail content. Wow, I never thought I'd live in a world where I'd be typing the word "Fail content."



Funny fail videos youtube

And she wasnt really any at all. At least she knew how to kiss great. She had enough of this experience (I even mentally sympathized with those of her gentlemen, thanks to whom she acquired such a rich experience of kissing, without gaining almost.

TRY NOT TO LAUGH - Funny FAILS VINES - Funny Videos November 2018

Tried to pull on the dress, but the skin was wet and the fabric stuck to it, and even then, the dress turned out to be inside out. When they caught up with me, I was still naked. Four cold hands wrapped around my body like vines. Two hot hard dicks rested against the buttocks and lower abdomen.

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And almost immediately, the recording ends. I turned on the third video. The same office, but already a sofa.

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