A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...
The Internet gives you the chance to be famous. Unfortunately, it's usually for the stupidest stuff on the planet… stuff that sticks in our minds and won't get out. My problem is that I find myself referencing one of these bits of Internet pop culture that went wild and then the person I'm talking to gives me a blank stare. I mean it's bad enough that I referenced it, it's worse when I have to try to explain what the hell I'm talking about.
So, as a public service, okay, a self-service, I decided to put together a quick primer of some of the, ahem, 'high' points of Internet pop culture gone wild.
It all started with a dancing baby:
This is the one that started as the crappy animated GIF you see here and went all the way to being a guest character on Ally McBeal (and there's a dated TV reference if I've ever seen one).
About the same time we got the amazingly annoying dancing hamster site. I have to embed a YouTube video of it as the site no longer exists, but let me warn you before you hit play, the song gets stuck in your head:
The original was actually just four images repeated over and over again and a short WAV file looping -- this was amazning! Animation AND audio! And it NEVER ended… The original tune (Whistle Stop by Roger Miller) isn't really much less annoying, but it's more mellow…
Of course, with the invention of YouTube, we got a lot more annoying song and dance numbers. The most famous being the Numa Numa guy.
I don't know what it is about this fat guy lip syncing to Dragostea Din Tei, but it a catchy tune (be sure to check out the original O-Zone version, the opera version and The Bloodhound Gang's cover).
Where Gary Brolsma embraced being the 'numa numa guy', the Star Wars kid decided to sue after some friends released this video of him goofing off in front of the camera (you don't have to watch the whole thing to get the gist):
Someone else took the video and made this amazing redeaux:
Personally, I would have been pretty thrilled to have my goofy antics turned into kickass Jedi moves. Other people thought is was cool too, so they made versions of it for Matrix, Kill Bill and more.
But then let's not forget the guy who really worked it: Tay Zonday and his oddly compelling original song, 'Chocolate Rain'
He's an anomaly because he's, well, odd, but he created his own slice of pop culture. He turned a buck off his Internet fame by selling out to Dr. Pepper for his own Cherry Chocolate Rain Parody
If it wasn't for the Internet, nobodies would never get their odd little messages out. Oh, except for that movable type thing and Martin Luther… and the Underground in WWII… and pirate radio… oh, and gossip… and…