Meet the man who started it all—AFV creator Vin DiBona. Vin says he was inspired to create the show after watching a Japanese variety program. "They had dancers. They had comedy sketches. And then they showed three home videos," he says. "I thought, 'Why don't we just do home videos and see if we can make a show?'"

Vin took that idea to ABC and had a deal within four minutes. Nearly 33 million people tuned in that first night, and Vin says his staff has received nearly 680,000 videos since then.

Eighteen years later, Vin's staff still cracks up as they screen the 1,500 videos sent in each week. As for what's considered funny, Vin says anything goes. "There's no funny meter, per se, but there's laughter in the hallway, and when it happens, we all run to see the video."

The reason the show remains so successful, Vin says, is because hilarious home videos have a way of bringing everyone together. "When you see people fall down—adults seeing children fall down, children seeing adults fall down—everybody's leveled," he says. "So it works."