YouTube Puts On Some Funny Shorts

Google’s YouTube video-sharing site is soliciting sketch-comedy bits as part of a competition called the YouTube Sketchies.

The competition, sponsored exclusively by PepsiCo’s new Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze soda, will run over a nine-week period starting May 24. A panel of entertainment-industry agents, writers, producers and executives will choose 20 finalists from entries. YouTube visitors will vote for the best sketches in two rounds, with the winning series to be announced July 12.

YouTube, Paramount Pictures and PepsiCo will furnish prizes for the promotion. The grand-prize winner will receive a production deal to create a comedy short that will debut on, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip for two to see Paramount’s summer comedy, Hot Rod -- starring Andy Samberg, who was behind Saturday Night Live’s Lazy Sunday clip, which was one of YouTube’s first viral hits -- and meet the movie’s creators.