I.Q.R. in a Box

Levitt doesn’t get why Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” video generated thousands of YouTube comments when there’s the Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics.

They do mostly poetry, but also have a music video: “I.Q.R. [interquartile range: a measure of statistical dispersion] In a Box” — a spoof on S.N.L.‘s slightly racier version.

Zero comments so far, but video director Allison Lind, a graduate student in public health at Johns Hopkins, is still proud of Hopkins’ “biostatistical artistry.”

Her other credits include “Too Logit,” for which MC Hammer provided inspiration.

S. Heaton

ok, enough! everybody back to work.


I think you all are taking this way too seriously. This is a classic case of grad students fooling around probably with no care whatsoever whether it is loved by the greater YouTube community or not and definitely hoping that their primary intended audience (fellow biostat students) will find it humerous. The beauty of YouTube is that people can watch what they want and your biostat suffering friend in Kentucky can log on and check out the video and laugh about it. There budget was probably $0 if not in the negative dollars. Let's lighten up! Of course Weird-Al will get more hits...he's a well known celebrity! Let's be real, the comparison was intended to draw attention to a clever clip, not to bash the video as merely a shadow of Weird-Al's genious in parody projects.


Just so you know, I posted the first comment, so it is no longer at zero!

But it was incredibly painful to watch. No one wants to see amateurs with little camera experience trying to be funny. Skip it and move on! there's other better parodies that people will comment on. Quality does matter to viewers

plus what search tag would that turn up under? math related jokes?


I should start out by saying that probably neither Levitt nor anyone else is *really* scratching his or her head wondering why Weird Al beats out these grad students on YouTube views. I'm sure everyone here is aware of the budget discrepancies and the production values involved in a Weird Al video compared to those of a student-made palmcorder production.

But even money and name-recognition aside, here's what I think separates the two.

(1) Not that these people aren't fine, but Weird Al is a master of the craft of parody. He writes the only parodies I can tolerate; they're well-developed, tightly written, and perfectly performed.

(2) It's not a parody of a parody. Parodying something else that's supposed to be funny only works at the expense of the original material, and then only if it's funnier and sharper than the original material was to begin with. Creating a parody of humor is often implicitly calling someone who enjoyed the first joke unsophisticated.

(3) Personally, not being any sort of a statistician, I have no idea what these people are singing about.

I think the "common viewer" (teenagers and everyone else), is right to take issue with these sorts of problems where he or she finds them.

We've analyzed too much. Let's enjoy this for what it is and not get too worked up about it.



In response to Brads email. I agree with him, but at the same time it strikes me as odd that someone that knows so much about youtube.com and the videos it contains is attacking the other people that watch them. Would you not also be the "common class" youtube.com user you are referring to if you are watching all these videos, driving up the view count, hence creating more of a buzz about them and in-turn more posts? I am sure you have not been just checking out these videos for the last few months for research in hopes that one day you will be able to post a blog comment criticizing the overall lack of intelligence with the online community. To quote you, sad as it is to say, I would guess that you spend half of your day watching these videos and the other half emailing them to friends and posting comments about ones that you did not like. Just adding to the overall perception that the youth today is entertained, not by smart thought provoking material, but by material that appeals to the lowest common denominator. I am sure you will disagree with the fact that you are the just the same as the people you criticize for being the driving force behind "common class" entertainment, but think it over tonight while you watch battlestar galactica, laptop open in front of you, and the youtube.com top videos of the day playing.



There are a couple reasons why "IQR in a box" doesn't get as many comments as "White and Nerdy".

First, the production value. The kind of idea IQR was going for just doesn't work with low production. Low production (single-camera shooting, basic screen direction, "cuts only" editing, low sound quality) can work for comedy in some cases (such as Will Ferrell's "The Landlord", where the idea was very basic, and very funny), but it's not gonna cut it when you're doing a parody of a digital short from Saturday Night Live. Instead, you just come off as a couple of kids playing around with a home video camera.

The second reason is that, as sad as it is, you're only going to get the big view counts and comments when you capture what I'm going to call the "Common class" youtube users. These are the people (generally teenagers) who loyally follow whatever pop culture content is out there on the radio or MTV, and spend hours watching youtube videos, posting comments and watching related videos. So when "White and Dirty" comes out, parodying "Ridin' Dirty", the common class eats it up, regardless of whether it's funny or not. This also effects the musicians on youtube. You'll notice that a lot of musicians cover Neyo, Avril Lavigne, Sean Kingston and other hot pop stars because it gets the most views. I was even shocked to see one of my favorite artists, Ernie Halter, covering a Hannah Montana song - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4Omzro73dY . I can't blame him though, his popularity is exploding due to these types of covers.

If you ever actually read through the comments these people write, you should be relieved that "IQR in a Box" isn't getting any.


writing after I Googled "IQR"

That video is, in my opinion, better than 25% of the videos I've seen and worse than 25% of the videos I've seen.


For anyone that didn't see the original:


By the way Spunkee- I checked out your post on the YouTube site...seemed like a positive review of IQR to me...


What a great video...sure blows away SNL... I mean, who watches Will Farrell anymore anyway?

PS - I'm dating the star of the video