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December 2nd, 2008
The Online Episode
Five Classic Viral Videos
Check out these five classic videos to appear in January 7ths online episode that have become common references offline due to their overwhelming popularity.

1. The Evolution of Dance

Whether you love it, hate it, or just think it’s boring and not worth the energy to think about, Judson Laipply’s “Evolution of Dance” is one of the most viewed videos on YouTube and deserves recognition.

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2. The Numa Numa Guy

Gary Brolsma rose to internet stardom by dancing in front of his computer’s screen lipsynching to this track by Moldovan pop music group O-zone. This video has been reposted thousands of times on the net and has even been referenced by the popular animated series South Park.

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3. The Dramatic Chipmunk

In actuality a gopher, the clip known as “Dramatic Chipmunk” originally comes from an appearance by J-pop group MiniMoni on the Japanese TV show Hello! Morning. Taken out of context, this 5 second video has become one of the funniest and most popular 5 second clips online.

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4. Star Wars Kid

The Star Wars Kid is one of the biggest internet phenomena of our current era. Star War Kid’s footage was released online by his classmates when they found his home made footage at school in Montreal. Originally shared and popularized through the peer to peer client Kazaa, this footage has found its way to popularity on YouTube and has even been referenced by the popular comedic series Arrested Development.

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5. Chocolate Rain

Tay Zonday hit an internet goldmine with his music video and song “Chocolate Rain.” His video quickly rose to millions of views and becoming the winner of the Music category in the 2007 YouTube Awards. His internet fame has been referenced by popular comedy shows such as The Daily Show, South Park, and countless interviews and appearance on talk shows. Zonday was later paid a hefty sum for a Dr. Pepper ad compaign promoting “Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper” with his song re-recorded as “Cherry Chocolate Rain.”

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What is it about these clips that makes so many people laugh? Is it a factor of finding the lowest common denominator of humor? Or is there something more complicated going on? When are these clips about mean-spirited humor and are they in good fun?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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