Top 10 Viral Comedy Videos of 2008The most-watched viral comedy videos of 2008 ranged from clever to weird to wacky to downright stupid.
Viral videos have become modern cultural landmarks--memories, for better or for worse, that we will forever associate with specific times in our lives. And what better way to gauge a year than with the moments that made us laugh the most?
We've tracked down the top 10 viral comedy videos of 2008, as gauged exclusively by number of worldwide views--including both official versions and pirated copies of the videos that may be floating around the Net. The viewing data was collected throughout the year by online video analytics firm TubeMogul and compiled specially for this presentation.
So without further ado, let's start counting down the winners. And watch out, Chris Crocker--2008 has some new superstars taking center stage.
10. Sexy! Flashy! Wonky! Super Obama Girl!
She makes male hearts beat faster than a speeding bullet and racks up video views with the power of a locomotive. Tilting the scales at 7.3 million views is Amber Lee Ettinger, better known as Obama Girl, with her clip, "Sexy! Flashy! Wonky! Super Obama Girl!"
The video, showing Obama Girl flying through various adventures in a tiny top and bikini bottom, didn't take long to become a phenomenon in 2008. Ettinger had already gained public attention with her "I Got a Crush...on Obama" debut in '07. Partnering once again with humor site Barely Political, the scantily clad Obama Girl turned her further adventures into an action-hero parable that made the race for the White House instantly more interesting.
9. Star Wars According to a Three-Year-Old
Childhood innocence can be oh-so-charming--charming enough to grab 9.5 million video views and the number 9 spot on our list. As its title suggests, this video consists of a little girl explaining the plot of the original Star Wars movie, as she understands it.
The video drew more than 17,500 comments on YouTube alone. The parents of the unwitting star insist that they never coached or prompted, and that the video is simply the product of an organic toddler-style conversation. The parents also posted a blanket statement declining all business offers and agent representation, giving the ninth-most-watched clip of the year an even stronger aura of authenticity.
8. Miley Cyrus '7 Things' Spoof
Hannah Montana may be topping the teen music charts, but in the world of viral comedy video, a spoof of her shtick stole the show. Coming in at number 8 is the parody of Miley Cyrus's song "7 Things," performed by solo parody artist VenetianPrincess.
The revisionist lyricist takes Cyrus's song recounting all the things she hates about her ex-boyfriend and twists it into a tune that enumerates all the things girls do that "straight guys don't realize." At least in VenetianPrincess's case, those things include creating an Internet sensation that snagged more than 11 million views.
7. How to Be a Nerd
In a year filled with countless antics of the Seth Rogen/Michael Cera school, it's hardly surprising that a homemade instructional video on "how to be a nerd" became a smash hit. Accumulating close to 12 million views, the clumsily edited clip shows two young boys who demonstrate all sorts of nerd-friendly moves.
Suffice it to say, Dwight Schrute would be proud. Actually, he'd probably scoff and launch into a detailed explanation of why "nerd" is not an appropriately descriptive term. But you get the point.
6. Smosh: Beef 'n Go
A phony commercial for a liquidized beef product was just what the world craved in 2008. The number 6 spot on the year's popularity chart goes to "Beef 'n Go," the tasty ad created by video humor site Smosh. The commercial spoof was received so enthusiastically that it spin off its own follow-up video featuring a full Beef 'n Go theme song.
With just over 12 million views, the guys from Smosh answered the long-standing question: Where's the beef? (It's in a plastic tube. Yum.)
5. Fred Loses His Meds
Whether or not you can comprehend the reason for his popularity (for what it's worth, I can't), the squeaky-voiced character "Fred" is one of 2008's biggest breakout Internet stars. In "Fred Loses His Meds"--which attracted nearly 12.2 million views--the little guy forgets to take his medication and goes a bit haywire. (He's evidently supposed to be six years old.)
The real brilliance behind Fred may be the campaign's marketing success. The videos, people soon figured out, were sponsored by Zipit Wireless. Turns out that this pseudo-celebrity is actually a spokesperson.
4. Fred Goes Swimming
Fred's back at number 4 with his neighborhood swimming video. Somehow, the clip managed to draw about 12.5 million viewers desperate for anything that sounded vaguely like the kids in South Park or the rodents in Alvin and the Chipmunks. Am I the only one who doesn't get it?
Click below if you are so inclined. I, for one, would rather watch an amped-up miniature gerbil work out on a rusty exercise wheel for 3 minutes.
3. Kibe Loco: Dança do Quadrado
It may not be in English, but this workout video spoof from Brazilian humor site Kibe Loco spoke to audiences worldwide. The third most viewed comedy video of 2008, "Dança do Quadrado," attracted an impressive 12.6 million views.
What's the appeal here? Evidently in the world of YouTube the opportunity to watch people with unusual physiques--ultrasmall stature, for example, or incredibly thin legs--is simply irresistible. The best thing about it is that there's no Fred. My verdict: I'll be darned if the exercising miniature gerbil doesn't win again.
2. Frozen Grand Central
A grand stunt at Grand Central Station captures the second-highest spot on our list. Public performance group Improv Everywhere convinced 200 people to walk into the New York hotspot and freeze in place, thoroughly confusing all of the regular passers-by.
This bold bit of nonperformance art garnered a round of applause and an international vote of approval, with more than 14.5 million views over the year.
1. Pojemna Paszcza
A guy with a seriously gigantic mouth won the world over, collecting more than 16.7 million views and the distinction of being 2008's hottest viral comedy video. "Pojemna Paszcza" simply shows the man opening his massive piehole, stuffing some sort of sandwich into it, then flapping his lips around in a startling and truly disturbing display.
So a big mouth ends another big year for viral comedy videos. If you're feeling nostalgic for "Numa Numa," "Chocolate Rain," and the other Internet superstars of years past, fear not. We recently caught up with some of the Net's best-known sensations to see what they've been up to since their 15 minutes of fame expired. Click over to "A Decade of Internet Superstars: Where Are They Now?" for a trip down random-access memory lane.
JR Raphael, PC World