A new viral video seems to come out every day, replacing the one that came the day before. Gone are the days of viral videos staying in the zeitgeist for months or even years at a time. We’re already at the point where people forget who “Damn Daniel” is, and don’t know what people are talking about when they ask, “What are those?!?” The “Cash Me Ousside” girl is still making waves, but she is more of an exception to the rule than the norm. It’s unfortunate, but the saturation of entertaining videos has made each one of them less valuable and unique
The mid-2000’s was the golden age of viral videos. YouTube launched in 2005, and by 2006 we started seeing innocent videos blowing up and becoming national news. What was so great about it was that nobody was trying to go viral. The term “viral” as we know it had not even been used in most circles. These videos were of genuine people that said or did something funny, and there was no sneaking suspicion that they were doing this just for internet fame. Unfortunately, after ten years of saturation many of these original videos faded from memory. There are too many videos to keep up with now, but these icons hold a special place in internet history. Here are 15 of the classic, iconic videos that you probably completely forgot about.
15. Dramatic Chipmunk
The Dramatic Chipmunk may have been more of a meme than a viral video, but then again it’s more of a prairie dog than a chipmunk. The Dramatic Chipmunk may not have been branded as it would have liked, but the short clip of the prairie dog set the internet on fire in 2007. The original clip came from a Japanese television show Hello Morning. One visionary YouTube user saw its potential, and added the sound effects from the 1974 film, Young Frankenstein. It was uploaded as a standalone clip in 2007, and the rest is history. This video lived on as a GIF for years, even spawning additional videos such as a 007 parody and a Star Wars reference. As far as short, viral clips are concerned, the Dramatic Chipmunk sits atop the mountain unchallenged.
14. Hide Your Wife, Hide Your Kids
This 2010 viral video, affectionately referred to as the “Hide Your Wife, Hide Your Kids” video, started out as an innocent news report about an attempted r*pe in a neighborhood. That was when Antoine Dobson, the victim’s brother, stole the show and set the internet ablaze. Of course, this must have been a traumatic event for the family, but Dobson leveraged his televised response into a brief 15 minutes of fame. He uploads videos to his YouTube channel sporadically, but the real winner of the video was the YouTube channel Schmoyoho, who uploaded an autotune song version of the clip that may have gotten even more attention. Their video alone has over 135,000 views on YouTube, and it launched their channel and style into a full-fledged comedy career.
13. Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That
“Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That” became the battle cry of a generation after the video blew up in 2012. Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins didn’t ask for the fame, but the spotlight found her after she reacted to a fire that was burning in her building. Her response was as genuine as it was relatable, and the phrase that was born out of the viral clip became applicable to all walks of life. “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That” became the response that so many of us needed in our day-today lives. The original video has received over 64 million views, but it has been re-uploaded so many times it’s impossible to tell how many people saw it. Wilkins, for her part, made the most out of the viral clip by appearing on television talk shows, and even made a cameo in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.
12. OMG, Shoes
“Shoes” by Kelly was a facetious song intended to mock the culture that would be more recently dubbed “basic b*tch.” The Kelly character was created by comedian Liam Kyle Sullivan and the “Shoes” hit was the only one of its kind for him. He uploaded it to his YouTube channel in 2006, where the video began to gain traction. He posted it on iTunes as well, and even won a People’s Choice Award for “Best User Generated Video.” Unfortunately, success ended there for Sullivan, who released other songs under the Kelly name which didn’t make the same impact. Looking back, the song isn’t as funny as it was in my youth, but the popularity it received still places it amongst the most impactful in the golden age of viral videos.
11. Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama
The Leprechaun video was not a great look for the good people of Mobile, Alabama, but it is a perfect viral video to bring up around St Patrick’s Day every year. The clip of the news story covering the leprechaun sighting was uploaded in 2006, and is credited with being one of the first viral videos of its kind. The video was widely referenced and debated by the media; with some saying it purported racial stereotypes. One thing that we can all agree, though, is that this video has too many hilarious moments to mention. The armature sketch, the leprechaun flute, “It could be a crack head that hold of the wrong stuff,” the list goes on and on. You can’t tell who’s being serious and who’s messing with the news crew. The whole video is a gem and it will forever be remembered as one of the founding fathers of viral videos.
10. Nintendo Sixty-FOOOOOOOOOOUR
The N64 kid brings us all back to a time in our lives when we could experience joy at this level. Sure, things still make us happy, but when was the last time you felt like this kid opening up his first gaming system? The excitement was too strong to be controlled so it just took over his body.
The video was recorded in 1998, and with the birth of YouTube around the corner, was added and took off. The little boy in the video is now all grown up and is sporadically interviewing with local and national news outlets alike. His excitement was the bedrock on which filming your kids stands, and it’s likely that nothing will unseat this genuine reaction. He wasn’t playing it up for the camera; he couldn’t contain himself if he tried. The video is a bit funny because it’s over the top, but it’s more heartwarming than anything.
9. Grape Stomping Lady
Oh the poor “Grape Stomping Lady.” This poor woman wanted no part of the segment she was involved in, as you can tell by her tone in the beginning. Little did she know that the trip to a local grape-stomping festival would grant her icon status years later when the clip resurfaced on the internet. Melissa Sander, a weekend meteorologist at the time of the piece, has been relatively silent on the topic since the explosion of her segment on the local news channel. The hilarious sounds she made while she was gasping for air still echo in the chambers of the internet, as do her colleague’s barely-contained snickers as they try to pretend they’re going to check on her during the break, only to (probably) laugh uncontrollably at the grunting, wind-knocked-out-of-her sounds she was making; pure local TV gold. To be honest, though, that’s what she gets for trying to sneak in a couple extra stomps after the whistle.
8. Evolution of Dance
The “Evolution of Dance” video was clever, funny, and completely accurate. Every generation had something to relate to in the video, and Judson Laipply saw his video earn viral status in the early years of YouTube. It was uploaded in 2006, and since then the video has reached almost 300 million views. It got 70 million of those views within the first eight months, and it was once determined to be the most viewed, best rated, and among the most discussed videos on the platform. This onstage performance was one of the great original viral video, and Laipply nails all 12 dance moves he attempts. The world needed this video, and it will forever sit in the hall of fame of viral videos.
7. David After Dentist
Is this real life?
Oral surgery is a hell of a thing, which is why you need to make sure you have loving friends and family around you to document the nonsense that comes out of your mouth after waking up from your drug-induced coma. Anyone who has had their wisdom teeth out has some bananas story about what they said after they woke up, but not many of them have a video with over 128 million views to show for it. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view), 7-year old David DeVore Jr.’s father was there to capture the moment and put it on YouTube. The video started to blow up immediately, receiving three million views in the first few days it was uploaded. Today, David is a teenager and rarely gets recognized as the “David after Dentist” kid. His family has a website, where you can buy his merchandise, and they continue to upload videos to YouTube, though none of them have had the success that “David after Dentist” had.
6. Chocolate Rain
“Chocolate Rain” by Tay Zonday (real name Adam Nyerere Bahner) blew up when he uploaded it in 2007, launching his YouTube and singing career. The song and video gave the perfect combination of a goofy individual and a catchy tune. The juxtaposition of his baby-face and his deep, soulful baritone gave the perfect storm of hilarity. The most surprising thing about him was the fact that he was in his mid-twenties when he made this video. He was attending graduate school and recording music on the side with no intention of pursuing a career in the field. His plans changed after the video’s success, and he continues to upload music to his YouTube channel. He even streams on Twitch. So you can see him dish out the Chocolate Pain (full disclosure, I stole this from one of his Twitch titles). As of now, the original “Chocolate Rain” video has more than 112 million views.
5. Don’t Tase Me Bro
Senator John Kerry was visiting the University of Florida in 2007 for a town hall forum. Andrew Meyer saw that this was happening and decided that he had some pressing questions he wanted to ask the senator. Little did he know that he would soon become a living meme.
Meyer started to ask Kerry about secret societies and why he conceded the 2004 election so soon, when he was pulled away from the mic. The rest is history, as he struggled, asked not to be tased, and was subsequently tased into oblivion. Some news outlets painted him as a prankster, but that’s really giving him too much credit. He was serious about his questions, and has filmed multiple videos since the incident to tell his side of the story. At least someone was able to monetize his misfortune, as “Don’t Tase Me Bro” T-Shirts were hot in the streets for quite a while after that.
4. Leave Britney Alone
Chris Crocker, otherwise known as the “Leave Britney Alone” guy, was another short-lived internet celebrity that the year 2007 brought us. Crocker uploaded his video defending Britney Spears in September of that year, and it received over four million views in the first two days it was up. The video gave him fame and attention, but not all of it was positive. Some people accused Crocker of doing just what everyone else was; using Britney Spears’ behavior as a way to advance his career. He insisted that the video was genuine and continued to make content for years after. He shut down his YouTube channel in 2015, and has more recently embraced a more masculine look. He’s virtually unrecognizable now, which may be what he wants. It appears that Crocker is over his Britney video, but the internet doesn’t forget. There are dozens of re-uploads of the rant, some with millions of views of their own.
3. I like Turtles
The “I Like Turtles” kid holds the perfect ingredients that make a viral video: a cute kid, a stupid interview question, and an A+ deflection. As a Patriots fan, I can’t help but see shades of Bill Belichick in Jonathan. This was the “On to Cincinnati” or “Seattle” before either of them were uttered. He didn’t want to answer the question, so he gave the reporter something more to chew on. He likes turtles; end of story. He controlled the narrative and spent the time that would be taken up by further questions in the film room preparing for his next turtle encounter. The funny pronunciation of “turtles” and the flummoxed newscaster were a perfect combination, and are another reason why 2007 should be considered the golden age for viral videos.
2. Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!
2007 brought us some of the best viral videos that the internet has to offer, and “Charlie Bit My Finger” was no different. The “Charlie Bit My Finger” video once sat at number one on the list of the most viewed videos, with over 800 million views as of the writing of this article. The boy’s father originally filmed the clip to share it with the children’s godparents in America, but it took on a life of its own. Soon millions of teenagers and adults alike would be mimicking the British accent of the young boy allowing his brother to bite his finger. Their father decided not to capitalize on the opportunity and make more videos of the boys, but says that the family made nearly half-a-million pounds throughout the life-cycle of it. The boys and their father still entertain the occasional interview, where the interviewers ask them questions about what they were thinking at that time. Of course, they can’t remember anything from then, but it’s always good for a slow news day in Britain.
1. Numa Numa Guy
The metric of how viral a video may have been is hard to quantify, especially in this case. The “Numa Numa” guy predated YouTube, as it was uploaded to the site Newgrounds in 2004 by Gary Brolsma. The original song is called “Dragostea Din Tei” by the O-Zone, but I think we’re all more comfortable calling it the “The Numa Numa Song.” The original upload received tens of millions of views as did many of the YouTube re-uploads that followed, but in my humble opinion it’s the most viral of the bunch. It may be biased, but this was the first true viral video that caught my attention (shout out ebaumsworld). Gary didn’t intend for his video to be viewed by anyone other than his friends, but was delighted to see the trend explode overnight. Soon there were parodies and copycats left and right. Does anyone really think that Rihanna song would have been made without this video? The song was a hit, but Gary’s dance moves stole the show. It’s admittedly debatable, but for my money I’m taking the Numa Numa Guy as the most viral sensation on the internet.