One of the most (maybe the most? Probably the most) successful video series to come out of the Portland comedy scene is The Spicy News. The series features a rotating group of local and national comedians telling topical jokes while suffering the effects of habanero peppers. They've done really well for themselves, including a recent trip to do a live show at Bumbershoot and over a quarter of a million views on YouTube.
In a sad but completely unsurprising turn of events, somebody else stole the idea and got more famous from it. The recently incepted Hot Pepper Game Reviews (not linked on purpose) features less charming people reviewing video games while choking on peppers. I've watched. They're fine. And they've got more views on individual videos than Spicy has in total.
Their Q&A video claims they just thought of it on a whim and then made it. Believability level: I don't know. I mean everything on the Internet has already been thought up. That's Falcone's 1st Law (as is required by Falcone's 1st Law, I'm not the first person to claim this law [not to be confused with Falcone's 2nd Law which states, "Anytime somebody says, 'That would be a great name for a band!' they're referring to something that would be a TERRIBLE BAND NAME."]). So maybe they just came up with it. The idea of eating peppers and trying to talk on YouTube with superimposed images mimicking news broadcasts could have been something that just popped into multiple heads a year apart. And they could have just not bothered to check if anybody else was doing it. Who knows.
Regardless of whether they knew about Spicy, it's just sad to see them get so much bigger after appearing on the scene a year later and without being as good. On the other hand, props to them for going after the geek market, which is a much smarter marketing idea if you want to be successful online. Let's just all remember to buy our pepper-based YouTube comedy locally.