HUNTINGTON, W.Va - Being funny isn't easy. The misses are as prevalent - even more so, sometimes - as the hits. Anyone who reads this column regularly knows this firsthand.
To be funny in six seconds? Now that takes talent.
The Frohnapfel brothers of Marshall University's football team do a pretty good job using a pretty new medium.
What started out as a way to pass the time during the Huntington summer has turned into comical look into the lives of some Thundering Herd football players, six seconds at a time. That's the time limit for Vine, a social media application that allows you to post six-second videos to Twitter.
The genesis came earlier this summer when tight end Eric Frohnapfel and long snapper Matt Cincotta were brainstorming over a Twitter hashtag. Both were wearing tank tops that day, so #sleevelesssummer was born, as was their Vine account.
The first video was tank-topped Frohnapfel and Cincotta greeting each other in an apartment. Then fellow tight end Joe Woodrum, clad in a long-sleeve T-shirt, walked through the front door. And there went Woodrum back out the front door, shouting, "Just 'cause I'm wearing sleeves?" as he was tossed to the sidewalk.
"It just took off after that," Frohnapfel said. "Once we made the hashtag, we were like, this is a tall order. We have to live up to this."
And that they have, posting another mini-movie whenever the mood strikes them. Eric Frohnapfel's twin brother, backup quarterback Blake, joined the fray (in part, he joked, because he was tired of Eric using his ideas without credit). Then came offensive linemen Gage Niemeyer and Cameron Dees, who took part in what might be the funniest post of them all.
In that scene, the camera cuts between Niemeyer, Dees, Cincotta and Eric Frohnapfel as a song by pop tart Ke plays in the background. At first, all four shake their heads, looks of horror plastered on their faces. By the end, the group is joyously fist-pumping along with the groove.
That bit came from a real moment just minutes before, Eric Frohnapfel said.
"We were all listening to music, and Ke came on and we were all like, 'I like this song.' 'I do, too.' OK, we all like it, it's cool," he said. "So let's make a video about how we all act like we don't like this song, but we really do."
Those tiny slices of college life don't take too long. Eric Frohnapfel said they can put a Vine post together in about two minutes. But what's important - and what the coaches appreciate - is that when the tank tops come off and the shoulder pads go on, the group is strictly business.