Instead, the four friends found themselves identifying with the four television characters.

Josh, Ricky, and Jakob had been living together for a year in San Diego (while Zach was completing his senior year), and they had discovered that, although the California sun and beach were pleasant enough, San Diego was the kind of place where, as Josh liked to put it, if you were motivated you bartended four nights a week.

Eventually, they recruited Jakob, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology (whom Ricky and Josh met online, although he also grew up in Timonium), to help manage the site; Zach, a college friend of Ricky’s from Wake Forest, joined later.

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In certain instances, this was probably not a bad thing: the textbook used for one class in e-commerce that Josh took toward his degree, in finance, had been rendered obsolete by the dot-com crash of 2000; according to its calculations College should have been bringing in fifteen million dollars a month.

The numbers were nowhere near that good, but they were good enough for the friends to decide that they could attempt to make the site their full-time job.

This is just what the College Humor boys, who have recently discovered the joy of port, wanted to avoid.

“Josh was at this advertising convention, and they were giving out drinks, and the waiter looked at him and said, ‘I can get you an orange juice,’ ” Ricky said one recent afternoon, while lounging in the apartment and explaining the drawbacks of youthful success.

Although the quartet has not avoided some real-estate pitfalls that savvier New Yorkers might have been able to anticipate—the empty lot outside the loft’s windows was transformed, within weeks of their move, into a construction site, the future location of a twenty-one-story apartment building—their home serves not just as a workplace and a shelter but also as an expression of how they would like to be perceived.

Readers of College might suspect, or hope, that its creators live in a den of beer bongs, pinball machines, and unwashed dishes.”; “I Gave My Word to Stop at Third: 1987 Teen Abstinence Day Suffolk County Public Schools”—which they started marketing last spring under the brand name Busted Tees.Hence the apartment, which is decorated, in only semi-ironic fashion, according to the College Humor guys’ idea of urban sophistication, with a mixture of purchases from stores in So Ho and from Bloomingdale’s.College was started in 1999 by Josh and Ricky, who grew up in a suburb of Baltimore called Timonium and have been friends since sixth grade.The site began as a place to collect all the jokes, links, and silly photographs that college students like to e-mail around, and served as a kind of nerdy diversion for Josh, who went to the University of Richmond, and Ricky, who was at Wake Forest.Also popular are photographs of beer-can mobiles hanging from dorm-room ceilings, and of beer cans incongruously placed around the foot of a potted plant, which is, in turn, incongruously placed in a men’s communal bathroom, and so on.