With more and more people all over the world coming on line every day, the Internet has become a breeding ground for those who wish to post their own videos. When videos “go viral”, everyone else benefits from the often raucous entertainment – and it goes far beyond funny kittens. Humanity’s penchant for recording and posting video of just about anything has made stars of some people (as in the new singer for the rock band Journey) and ruined the careers of others (as in former Virginia Senator George Allen). Below, in reverse order, is a list that of the Top Ten Viral Videos of All Time.
10. Susan Boyle
This contestant on Britain’s Got Talent appeared onstage to be the perfect target of the judges’ wrath. Overweight, frumpy, school-marmish and past her prime, Ms. Boyle’s incredible pipes left the panel stunned – and her beautiful rendition of I Dreamed a Dream (from Les Miserables) won her a lucrative record contract.
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9. The Exploding Whale
When a 45-foot, 8-ton whale carcass washed up on the beach in Florence, Oregon, the Highway Division determined that the best way to deal with the situation was to blow up the whale using some 20 cases of dynamite. As 75 bystanders looked on from an assumed safe distance, the detonation took place. It turned out to be a bad idea, as whale blubber and meat flew for more than a quarter-mile, smashing one car and making a general God-awful mess.
8. Pinky the Cat
You have to feel for the poor Animal Control employee who was just trying to help a poor cat get adopted out – which it likely never did, since the ferocious feline attacked the poor man on tape, working its way up his leg to his tender parts with all the mercy of Genghis Khan. It’s difficult to watch, but that hasn’t kept the video from being viewed millions of times.
7. Boom Goes the Dynamite
A young fellow who was filling in for the regular sports reporter at a local TV station didn’t sound very sure of himself as he was describing the highlights of a college basketball game. However, his quavering catch-phrase, “Boom goes the dynamite”, will live on forever in viral video history.
Pop music footnote Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” sent a clear signal to America that music industry executives were purveyors of pure cheddar (or, in this case, Limburger). The 1987 video is today used as a digital prank, with a link sent to others in the guise of some other interesting thing. When the victim clicks on the link, the red-headed Rick Astley pops up on their screen – yes, you’ve just been “Rickrolled”.
5. Diet Coke and Mentos
Everyone likes to look slim and have minty-fresh breath, right? Be careful what you wish for. As many a viral video demonstrates, putting mentos into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke gives new meaning to the phrase “soda fountain”. It has something to do with aspartame, and it only works really well with the white Mentos. One creative video-poster used dozens of bottles to mimic the dancing water fountains in Las Vegas – literally too much.
4. Afro Ninja.
Only about 20 seconds in length, this video has stood the test of time. Somehow, watching someone fall on their face attempting a backflip, then staggering out of the frame (while helplessly flailing a pair of nun-chakas around) never gets old.
3. “Leave Britney Alone!”
Veteran comedian Chris Crocker went under the sheets to record his hilarious hissy-fit when Britney Spears’ career troughed a couple of years ago. Crocker’s video represented the bounce point for Britney, who has since risen from the ashes to reclaim her place as one of pop’s sexiest divas.
2. Numa Numa
Lip-syncing never looked so good as it does in one of the most-watched viral videos of all time. Without ever leaving his desk chair, the video’s maker has a great time rocking to Romanian recording artist Alina’s Numa Numa. The original music video’s sexy content is what makes the guy in the viral video so amazingly funny… Sheer, effortless genius.
1. The Star Wars Kid
The hefty young man in the button-down shirt and khakis with the mop handle in his hands shows us all how it’s done in Lucas Land, where Jedi Knights with light sabers rule the day. His footwork amidst the silent choreography is impeccable, and his facial expressions are priceless. This is widely considered to be the most bizarre viral video of all time.
Honorable mention: “Hey, It’s Dark in Here!”
Some form of consolation prize should go to the poor anonymous fellow who was just doing his job one day, washing out the elephant cage, when a pachyderm backed up and effectively absorbed the man’s head into his large, gray, wrinkly rear end. The man’s alert co-workers quickly extricated his cranium from certain clenching doom, and he promptly did the sensible thing after being freed – he threw up. It’s just another example of why you have to love your work!