SXSW: Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera Launch YouTube Comedy Channel Jash

Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman
 Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Amnesty International

AUSTIN -- Ask Sarah Silverman the meaning of "Jash" -- the name of the new YouTube comedy network launched Sunday at South by Southwest -- and the comedian says it stands for, "Just Attitude So Hey."

Not really. Jash is just a slightly askew version of "Josh," their first choice, which was taken already. The acronym came later, over dinner with Silverman's co-founders: Michael Cera, sketch duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and rap-comic Reggie Watts. 

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"Literally, we were at a restaurant, and Tim said, 'Just attitude!' Which is so Tim," Silverman told The Hollywood Reporter over a barbecue brunch shortly before the site's official kickoff. "And then Michael Cera said, 'So … hey?' Which is so Michael Cera."

The impressively pedigreed group jumped at the chance after being approached by Google to produce material for a new online laugh destination, somewhere that offered them carte blanche to produce their brand of experimental comedy.

"We each have pages within Jash, and we each can curate those pages," Silverman said. "This is what we think is funny. It may not be your cup of tea, but there’s no testing involved, there’s no second-guessing of what a 14-year-old boy would like. It’s just a place to do stuff and fail or not fail."

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While definitely a channel-in-progress, the group already is hard at work on material to fill its pages -- everything from a "French film noir trailer" from Silverman to a 25-minute short film from Cera, who, fresh off Netflix's Arrested Development revival, is taking full advantage of new distribution avenues.

Pulling the levers are two TV heavyweights -- Jimmy Kimmel Live! co-executive producer Douglas De Luca and Daniel Kellison, a former Kimmel executive producer and creator of shows including Crank Yankers and The Man Show. The pair see great potential in Jash as a comedy incubator and predict future crossovers with Kimmel's ABC talker.

Until then, Wareheim promises what Jash visitors can expect is a "bullshit-free experience."

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