Like most unicorns, YouTube isn’t perfect. Its comment sections are famously noxious, its algorithms proliferate conspiracy theories, its filters fail to protect kids’ feeds, and its ad-revenue-sharing model props up problematic vloggers. But it also has hydraulic press videos. And lo-fi hip-hop beats to study/relax to. And a dude lip-syncing TGIF theme songs while sitting on the toilet.
For better or for worse, YouTube is the ultimate time-waster, the place you go when you literally have to watch the Howard Dean screamright now and the place you remain an hour later after the rabbit hole you descended eventually spat you out on an ’80s video dating montage. Sometimes, if enough people deem a particular video undeniably watchable all at once, it becomes a phenomenon with the cultural cachet to demand that you take notice and catalog it as a historical event. That’s what caught us: When does a YouTube video turn from merely a YouTube video into a great YouTube video? And which great YouTube videos over the years are the greatest?
In compiling this all-important ranking, we traveled back to the dawn of YouTube (2005!) and worked our way forward, amassing a daunting trove of links and whittling them down to the absolute best, funniest, most subversively “online” 100 videos. We largely avoided music videos, web series, tutorials, and sketch comedy, wells so deep they deserve separate rankings of their own. And with apologies to the TGIF theme song guy, we also stuck to bona fide YouTube hits.
As you scroll through the cavalcade of videos on this list, you’ll encounter viral videos you definitely remember, viral videos you definitely forgot, selections that have aged like fine wines, and a few relics from less enlightened times that, on their own terms, still have merit. Not every viral video is great, and not every great video goes super-viral. We’ve almost certainly left off your personal favorite. At the end of the day, what makes a YouTube video great? Like most treasures online, you know it when you see it.
100. “Evolution of Dance”
One of the fundamental lies of the internet is that all the information you’ll ever need can be crammed into a manageable space. “Evolution of Dance,” a video of motivational speaker Judson Laipply contorting his limbs along to a series of late 20th-century pop hits, makes an implicit promise with its title and doesn’t completely deliver. But, like many YouTube folk heroes, he delivers a type of strained, well-meaning earnestness instead. Forget Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s smarmy “History of Rap.” Let Laipply be your CliffNotes-loving professor.
99. “Charlie The Unicorn”
The original “Charlie the Unicorn” video is equal parts amusing and creepy, and it’s literal proof that nothing made sense in the mid-2000s. The animated short follows three unicorns — one of whom is named Charlie — as they journey to Candy Mountain per the instructions of a liopleurodon. Once the trio makes it to their destination, things don’t go as planned: Charlie ends up getting his kidney stolen after getting knocked out in a cave. The debut popularity of “Charlie the Unicorn” led to a four-episode series.
98. “Shoes the Full Version”
With “Shoes,” comedian Liam Kyle Sullivan introduced the world to his alter ego “Kelly” and her love for, well, shoes. It was the mid-2000s, during what you might consider the web comedy boom, and viewers instantly connected to the mesmerizing music video and its unsettlingly relatable character. (Doesn’t everyone know a Kelly? Don’t you have some Kelly in you?) Catapulted to internet fame, Sullivan would go on to nab a People’s Choice Award, as well as plaudits from other popular comedians of the period, including Andy Samberg and Margaret Cho. Though his output has cooled in the years since, “Shoes” remains a timeless send-up of that all-too-familiar stateside materialism.
97. “So Your Cat Wants A Massage?”
In 2009, the video collective known as Everything Is Terrible! unearthed footage of an extremely earnest woman explaining how to give a massage to your cat. Wearing a ludicrously patterned blazer, she uses her manicured nails to rub her cat’s face as she proclaims a “Whisker Watch Alert is in effect here.” This lady is actually Maryjean Ballner, who released the a tape titled “Your Cat Wants A Massage!” in 1999, followed by a dog-centric version. Maryjean was not ashamed by the renewed attention that YouTube brought her. She reached out to Everything Is Terrible! and parlayed her internet fame into an appearance on Letterman.
96. “ASMR Role Play – Caring and Supportive Funky Kong Gives You A Ride Home From The Airport”
For some, ASMR is a kind of drug, and content in which users practice “autonomous sensory meridian response” by whispering, eating, or making other soft noises proliferates on YouTube. Back in 2014, user docfuture1 enlisted Funky Kong, of Donkey Kong Country, for these purposes creating a scenario in which the character picks “you” up from the airport and takes you home. Funky “loves you,” but you may not love him if you can’t stand the sound of smacking gum.
95. “bowl cut maintenance.wmv”
Beamed in from Malibu, California, somewhere on spaceship Earth, the Illusion (née Hamish Patterson) decided 2011 was as good a time as any to grace everyone with his bowl cut tips. The tips actually wouldn’t turn out to be that great (as you’ll see, he “farms” it), but what happened after this fateful upload — the brutally honest vlogs, the start of a City Council bid, the Boggelz — was. After 2011, the door opened for an inspiring (and baffling) ascent to internet stardom, and in the years since Patterson’s questionable ex-hair-iment, the 48-year-old skater dude has morphed into an activist of sorts, a dad, and, truly, something resembling “YouTube’s cult philosopher king.” “It’s a trip, man, to think about everything that’s led me to this point,” he recently told Mel Magazine of his journey. “I had to pull my head outta my ass to get here. And that bowl cut video was really something.”
94. POKÉMON Detective Pikachu: Full Picture
Ryan Reynolds’ penchant for stunt marketing paid off when he retweeted a YouTube link posted by a fake-looking account purporting to leak his movie Detective Pikachu. Of course, it was all just an elaborate Rick-Roll: Not long into the “leak,” it switches over from what would seem like the real beginning of the movie to a looped clip of Detective Pikachu rocking the hell out to an upbeat synth track for the remaining hour and 40 minutes of the video. Probably because the animators absolutely nailed the dance moves and committed facial expressions, the dancing Pikachu video took off as tons of people layered their own song of choice over our excited Poké-friend.
93. “grape stomping fail”
You probably don’t even have to hit play on this clip to remember what it’s all about. For people of a certain age, just reading “grape stomping fail,” will send the “Oh, oh, ohs” of Grape Lady, aka FOX 5 News reporter Melissa Sander, echoing through the ears. Sadly, Sander was really hurt — she fractured a couple ribs — but that didn’t stop the cruel internet from spawning countless derivatives and parodies (including a Keyboard Cat mash-up, Family Guy, and, of course, Auto-Tune). Online can be a merciless place.
92. “Numa Numa”
Once the moral panic surrounding the current crop of exceedingly dumb influencers dies down, YouTube’s lasting legacy will likely be its ability to manufacture fame from potentially embarrassing, ultimately mundane human moments. The “numa numa” video, which features an excitable young man named Gary Brolsma singing along to the catchy Romanian pop track “Dragostea Din Tei,” isn’t funny because Brolsma is doing anything extraordinary. He’s just a 19-year-old making silly faces and throwing his hands up in the air like you do in the privacy of your bathroom or in a car at a stoplight. But unlike all your lip-synch adventures, his was viewed over 700 million times.
91. “OFFICIAL ‘COOKING DANCE’ HOW TO VIDEO!! LIL B”
Lil B the Based God has long been a beacon of positivity online, aside from occasionally issuing curses, first making a reverberating splash with a series of how-to videos on the cooking dance. Over these 10 minutes, he walks viewers through what it takes to become a real master chef, a process that is to be taken deadly seriously lest you also receive the curse of the Based God.
90. “Little Girl Regrets Trying Wasabi”
What you are about to watch is an accidental masterpiece, one that firmly, easily cements this kid in YouTube’s Baby Hall of Fame. Everything from the worrisome face and the pronunciation of “Wa-sha-bi” to the nibble and that tiny call for help are so, so good. In fact, we’ve probably all been this poor soul at one point in our lives — trying something we know we shouldn’t and learning the hard way. The big difference is not many people have natural comedic timing that’s this damn good. We say give her a trophy (and maybe some milk).
89. “Wilford Brimley – The Beetis”
Look, diabetes is no joke. But the word “diabetes,” when pronounced how laconic Cocoon actor Wilford Brimley drawls it in a series of commercials for Liberty Medical Supply, became an internet obsession in the 2000s, especially after it spawned the vexingly catchy song “The Beetis” in 2006 and many follow-up remixes and YTMND posts. Brimley, a reliably low-key Twitter presence at age 83, seems to be cool with “diabeetus” being part of his legacy, along with his gruff acting style and his resemblance to cats, so go ahead and keep replying to every single question with either “You know, I have diabeetus” or “These are my testing supplies.” As Brimley himself famously said in another ad campaign, “It’s the right thing to do.”
88. “Stealing Hearts for Self-Defense”
2017’s Persona 5, a popular JRPG series for PlayStation, has a jazzy soundtrack and recognizable gameplay that made it rife for meme-ing. The internet best took advantage of this parodying Persona 5‘s battle menu, spawning the unlikely the mash-up with a 1994 episode of The Simpsons in which Homer drops in on Moe teaching a class called “Funk Dancing for Self-Defense.” Two insanely specific references meet in one viral video that’s only funny for 1/115th of the population.
87. “OK Go – Here It Goes Again”
YouTube helped decimate the blockbuster music video by slashing production budgets and making clips less commercially viable on platforms like MTV and VH1. Elaborate videos like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Madonna’s “Express Yourself” were replaced by thrifty, low-concept experiments like this clip from the power-pop group OK Go. The band’s members do some creative choreography on treadmills, showing off their brightly colored outfits as they hop and run around, and the camera never moves from its stationary position. Like the work of Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry, it does a lot with a little. Increasingly, that would become the go-to approach for even bigger name stars looking to make a splash.
Indiscriminately clicking on links was dicey and definitely discouraged by IT managers everywhere long before practical jokers weaponized Rick Astley’s earnest 1987 pop hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” in 2007, arguably the single greatest year for viral videos. But the insidious beauty of Rickrolling was that the link arrived not from a purported Nigerian prince but from a friend or another trusted person who used their insider knowledge about you to deploy the phishy gambit effectively. (Astley himself even fell for it.) Chances are, ever since you got burned once or a few times by this irritating, harmless gag, you haven’t clicked on an unidentifiable link without at least thinking you were about to hear those staccato drum beats when you landed on the destination page, even if it turned out to be the first trailer for Game of Thrones‘ final season.
85. “STUCK UP WITH CONTACT CEMENT”
The most endearing, G-rated fail video you’ll ever find, and the description says it all:
– Tying to thin some too thick contact cement, causes me to be a little stuck up.
– Probably this was a bad idea?
84. “Dramatic Chipmunk”
Before it inspired GIFs and remixes, this was just a simple, beautiful five-second clip: The chipmunk turns around and gives you the eye. You know “the eye” when you see it. According to our research, the video can be sourced to the Japanese series Hello! Morning and the animal featured in it isn’t actually a chipmunk. It’s a prairie dog. That’s OK. What matters is that this little creature is up to no good.
83. “Susan Boyle: I Dreamed A Dream – Britain’s Got Talent 2009”
YouTube is a great place to watch highly edited compilation videos of people falling on their faces, but it’s also a repository for human joy. Even if you typically avoid singing competition shows or hate Broadway songs, Scottish singer Susan Boyle’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 is worth watching in its entirety. She brings the yearning drama of the song to life and the clip itself serves as a reminder of why we turn on the television or open up YouTube on a good day: that sense of discovery.
82. “Drunk History vol. 1 – Featuring Michael Cera”
Though many of the Drunk History segments that have come in this one’s wake are far better, we must pay our respects to the OG. The very first volume, with Michael Cera starring as a dueling Alexander Hamilton and Mark Gagliardi stumbling through the narration with his good friend Scotch, sets the tone and the bar for what would come next. Concocted by Derek Waters, it was the kind of mad experiment that was destined for success, and thank God, because without it, we wouldn’t have the Comedy Central show we know and love today.
81. “Chocolate Rain”
Before Rebecca Black, there was Tay Zonday, whose “Chocolate Rain” lyrics became the embodiment of late-W.-era resignation. The song earned itself a feature on South Park as the epitome of the internet’s functionality in a capitalist society. What does one do with fame no one’s willing to pay for? Like the song says, “Some stay dry and others feel the pain.”
80. “David After Dentist”
In which a 7-year-old boy is filmed in an adorably anesthetized state following a trip to the dentist. Though “David After Dentist” is far from being the only video to exist in this unusual genre of post-anesthesia videos, it happens to be one of the most popular: The video was YouTube’s second-most watched video in 2009, and it even landed David and his father on several talk shows to discuss life after gaining viral fame.
79. “Keeping your refrigerator stocked will get you many women”
This Cribs-style tour of a refrigerator remains MrChiCity3’s masterpiece. Not everything in the video has aged well — just about everything ChiCity says about seducing woman is superficial and sexist — but the concept of someone’s entire fridge stocked solely with various drinks, solely for the purpose of impressing various women, remains hilariously audacious. And his ability to turn a 10-minute-long shot of a fridge into a viral hit was trailblazing accomplishment in the history of people becoming enthralled with seemingly dull and inane YouTube content. Plus, this video may have coined the phrase “get money, get paid.”
78. “Charlie bit my finger”
“Charlie Bit Me” could have gone viral in a previous generation or on another platform: It’s very easy to imagine the clip of Charlie biting his older brother’s finger getting significant airtime on America’s Funniest Home Videos in the ’90s or becoming a popular Vine. On a broader level, it’s a document of a type of behavior — there’s a cute baby and he’s up to no good — that has likely been inspiring laughter since the dawn of time. It’s a video that was so widely viewed that even Osama Bin Laden had it on a device in his compound. We’ll probably be checking in on the boys, forcing them to reenact their viral encounter, for the rest of their lives. Charlie was the original boss baby, and, in a sense, we are all his employees now.
77. “Excited train guy, New York!”
There’s apparently a whole community of people called “foamers,” so designated because they foam at the mouth when looking at trains. The spectrum of human fetishes and sensual pleasures is, in fact, infinite. Now, technically this video is something of a parody/tribute created by a tourist train operator in imitation of an actual foamer vlog. But sometimes the parody supersedes the object of parody, and such is the case with “Excited train guy, New York!”
76. “Miss Teen USA 2007”
In this video, Miss Teen South Carolina Caitlin Upton delivers a borderline incomprehensible and uniquely ramble-y answer to a question about why a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US.= on a map. It captures that exquisite dread of being called on in class when you weren’t paying attention. In the space of 11 years, and revelations about former owner of the Miss Universe organization/current President Donald Trump, this clip isn’t particularly funny anymore — if it ever was.
75. “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger”
If you’ve heard the phrase “honey badger don’t care,” then you have at least a passing familiarity with 2011’s “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger.” The video is a compilation of Nat Geo Wild footage of honey badgers, which would be unremarkable if not for the narration by “Randall,” which is about as colorful as you can get. It’s become popular to the point that there’s even a frozen yogurt flavor named after it.
74. “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!”
All Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins wanted was a “cold pop” — the last thing she expected was to escape a fire and coin a viral phrase. It took 20 seconds of camera time for Brown to become a YouTube sensation after appearing in a local Oklahoma City news segment in 2012 where she described waking up in the middle of the night to her apartment complex on fire. Talking about the smoke she inhaled, an exasperated Brown said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” That line has been remixed and autotuned, and Sweet Brown reprised it in a cameo at the end of A Madea Christmas.
73. “Diet Coke and Mentos Rocket: The Best Way”
In 2006, two brothers, one wearing jorts, blessed the internet with the Diet Coke and Mentos rocket, taking this miracle of science to many millions of views. The brothers strategically tape a handful of Mentos to the lid of a Diet Coke bottle, slam the bottle into the ground, and watch it jettison many feet into the air all thanks to a simple chemical reaction that’s usually demonstrated in third grade science classes to safely hold kids’ attention. With this video, the brothers launched a whole new genre of YouTube video dedicated solely to combining Mentos and Diet Coke, resulting in better brand placement for both companies than any Lady Gaga video could dream of.
72. “How to Pronounce Horse_ebooks”
Watching two different parts of the internet mesh together can be disorienting. “How to Pronounce Horse_ebooks” combined the forces of popular Twitter account Horse_ebooks, which sent vaguely poetic non-sequiturs in the voice of a confused spambot, and YouTube channel Pronunciation Book, a dry series of videos that taught viewers how to pronounce challenging words. Together they formed Bear Stearns Bravo, a choose-your-own-adventure game and art project, the conclusion of which was this video, an ever-useful example of how dense and impenetrable online culture can become.
71. “Dave Grohl in FRESH POTS!”
“Fresh Pots” is rock star Dave Ghohl’s magnum opus on the perils of too much coffee. Filmed in 2010 during the recording of Them Crooked Vultures’ debut album, Fresh Pots documented Grohl’s manic obsession with steaming-hot coffee, and his insatiable thirst for it in the studio. Between all of his fiendish antics, he’s constantly badgering some lowly production assistant to brew him another “Fresh Pot” as soon as he’s finished his last. It’s only when Grohl’s coffee intake reaches such an apex that he’s not only forced away from the drums, but to the doctor’s office to get his shit together. If there’s one thing to take away from Fresh Pots, it’s that caffeine is one helluva drug.
70. “You look like a mf uhhhh”
There’s a chance that you may not have seen this one floating around if you weren’t an active user of Vine and/or Twitter back in the day (read: in 2014). And there’s really not much to it either: Two teenagers are ruthlessly roasting each other when one trips over his words a bit and shouts out the phrase, “You look like a motherf–kin’ uhhhhh!” Needless to say, the video managed to become one of the most viral of its time when it first hit the web and is still a reminder of all the things we used to love about Vine before its demise.
69. “Colin’s Bear Animation”
In the early days of YouTube, there could have been no way to know that a half-assed final project would become an icon of nonsensical internet humor. The music, the poses, the title card at the end: Colin may not have passed Animation Arts INFR 3310 (or maybe he did, who knows!), but he achieved something far greater: internet fame.
The song behind this video is supposed to be the story of “a man, Johnny, riding his horse across the American prairie to his sweetheart Mary, who knits socks as she waits his return.” (You can see it, right?) But now, with all its lyric-less, grin-inducing, “Wow is this real?” intrigue, it’s become the kind of dependable staple, like a more obscure Rickroll, that you can send to anyone you’d like to shut up and/or troll. (See the somehow more epic version here.) RIP, Eduard Khil.
67. “Daft Hands – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”
In June 2007, almost six years after Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” hit the airwaves, “Daft Hands” was born. The video, which now almost has 68 million views, is a feat of hand-eye coordination in which animator Austin Hall, who wrote every word in the lyrics on his hands and fingers, reveals each word (sometimes in halves, e.g. “strong-er”) in time to the song. It went viral to the point that Hall was invited onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as spawning countless imitations.
66. “Rebecca Black – Friday”
The stilted, dead-eyed delivery of phrases like “partying, partying” and “everybody’s looking forward to the weekend” make “Friday” an oddly dystopian track about youthful revelry. When it debuted in 2011, it quickly became an object of ridicule. But if the viral song, which was performed by 13-year-old Rebecca Black and written by the ARK Music Factory, were really as “bad” as its reputation suggests, would we still be talking about it and humming it years later? Like The Room, the video has an otherworldly quality, but instead of Tommy Wiseau’s creepy psycho-sexual histrionics, we get a teenager’s goofy, Auto-Tuned fantasia. And she’s right: When it’s Friday, you gotta get down.
65. “Our Chicago Story”
There are vloggers, which are generally insufferable, and then there are the vloggers whose lives seem so unbelievable that they’re like reality TV characters we love to hate watch. Brianna and Jaelin, a couple from Arizona who married at 18 and have mined their lives and relationship for monetizable content, are the latter type. This truly loathsome retelling is their finest moment and so hate-watchable that they removed it from YouTube (which is why we aren’t able to embed it above, so enjoy their apartment tour as well). In “Our Chicago Story,” they talk about moving to Chicago and then turning around one day later for being so incapably naive at merely existing. The video blew up in 2016. Watching in full to understand the breadth of their awfulness kills 1 million brain cells for each of the 16 minutes they drone on. We can’t recommend it enough.
64. “Bill O’Reilly freaking out!”
Before he was removed from his primetime perch on Fox News amidst a sexual harassment scandal, it was common knowledge that Bill O’Reilly was a massive jerk. This clip from his Inside Edition days, which begins with Bill complaining about a teleprompter, escalates over the course of a minute to him memorably yelling “We’ll do it live” and, in an almost underrated moment, declaring “fucking thing sucks!” Like many viral videos, it was fun to send to friends and then imitate in various low-key social situations. Running behind on something? Fuck it! Can’t get your computer to work? Fucking thing sucks! Turn in your blurbs late for a big list of YouTube videos? (Ed. note: Appreciate it!) We’ll do it live!
63. “Battle at Kruger”
There’s something about the amateur rawness and coincidental nature of this clip, captured during a safari through Kruger National Park, South Africa, that makes it an all-time gem. What looks like a serene savannah tableau quickly changes, as a dramatic fight for survival breaks out between a herd of Cape buffalo, a pride of lions, and a crocodile. “This is unreal,” one of the onlookers says, and you can’t help but agree, feeling like you’re right there in the action, watching Mother Nature’s unbelievable wild side erupt.
62. “North Korean child guitar ensemble”
Before anyone forms any kind of opinion on North Korea, they should be required to watch this video. Simultaneously impressive and creepy, the talent of these toddlers is undermined by the conditions you probably imagine they labored under, summed up as: Not great! And yet… you can’t look away. It’s somehow the wet dream of both an authoritarian regime and over-aggressive helicopter parents, and I think most of us can agree that the result is a hell world we should strive to prevent.
61. “BED INTRUDER SONG!!!”
Antoine Dodson was an ordinary human who stumbled upon fame in 2010 after someone snuck into his home and tried to attack his sister. In 2010, Dodson became one of social media’s biggest memes when he spoke to a local news organization in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, about the event. During the segment, Dodson warned viewers to “Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband cause they’re rapin’ everybody out here.” That clip and the autotuned remix of it by the Gregory Brothers took on a life of its own and catapulted him into the spotlight in almost no time, which no doubt inspired the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme song.
60. “Leave Britney Alone”
The vlog is a genre of video that lends itself to the intensity of fandom. In “Leave Britney Alone,” internet personality Chris Crocker delivered an impassioned, tear-filled monologue about the demands the media was putting on Britney Spears in the midst of 2007. (The video followed the pop star’s widely criticized performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.) “Leave her alone,” pleads Crocker, stanning hard for Spears at a time when her life appeared to be unravelling. On the 10-year anniversary of the video, Crocker, who specialized in comedy videos at the time, posted on Instagram that this was “the one video that I was serious in” and noted that it arrived at a time when “the internet and YouTube was a very different, less LGBT friendly place.” Like Britney, he’s struggled but endured.
59. “Keyboard cat”
After a long day of work, there’s nothing more comforting than watching an animal mimic human behavior. The act can be as psychologically complicated and emotionally beautiful as an elephant painting a picture using its trunk — or it can be as profoundly dumb as watching a cat bang its paws on a piano. The original unamused feline in the “keyboard cat” video was named Fatso and died in the ’80s, when the clip was filmed; the second “keyboard cat” Bento recently passed away last year. Clearly, “keyboard cat” has transcended and now belongs to the memes.
58. “Lazy Sunday”
It’s now assumed that most late-night comedy shows, whether it’s The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon or Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, want to create videos for office drones to watch during their lunch breaks and post on Facebook. But the relationship between broadcast television and YouTube didn’t take off until Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell’s ode to hitting up Magnolia Bakery and macking on cupcakes. Given their background as Channel 101 winners and web video pioneers, the Lonely Island were the ideal figures to transition SNL, one of America’s oldest comedy institutions, into the digital future. One Narnia joke at a time.
57. “Amazing Race Watermelon Fail”
Ah, the fail. A classic of internet culture. Of comedy. Of human civilization. The Tower of Pisa? FAIL. While this clip first aired on national television, it’s YouTube canon because its perfect construction renders it timeless. This woman is catapulting watermelons, and her partner says, “Right in the kisser!” right before the catapult backfires and blasts the watermelon onto her face. The slow-motion captures the explosion perfectly, and the lines uttered subsequently tell the story of what heartless monsters reality TV makes people. “I can’t feel my face.” Oh really? I’m not a doctor, but that symptom sounds about right for a watermelon fired a thousand miles an hour directly at your face! Ditto for “I have the worst headache ever.” THEN her partner, without missing a beat, tells her, “You have to finish.” This race really is amazing, folks. The best part is that she’s totally fine, so you don’t have to feel bad for laughing!
56. “The Screaming Sheep”
There’s a part in the movie Annihilation where a horrifying bear-hybrid screams like a woman. It’s scary, but also fascinating. That’s basically the appeal of “The Screaming Sheep,” which dropped on YouTube in 2012, was mistaken for a goat, and landed in Taylor Swift parodies and Super Bowl ads. The bleating animal was the perfect the perfect combination of pure weirdness mixed with our modern desire to anthropomorphize animals.
55. “Sister Covers Baby Brother in Peanut Butter”
It’s as if babies and toddlers knew that the bar for baby and toddler videos was in need of raising. In the name of content, this brother and sister duo were somehow left alone long enough to get into a jar of peanut butter and spread a thick layer all over the baby. It’s another clip that found massive popularity thanks to Vine, but the full-length defines the modern toddler hijinks video; henceforth, all toddlers will need to step it up.
54. “Yosemite Mountain Double Rainbow”
An entire wing of YouTube is dedicated to watching total strangers get way too excited about stuff, whether it’s unboxing gifts or enjoying a new Chewbacca mask. But few of these videos are as transcendent as Paul “Bear” Vasquez’s three-minute, rapturous freak-out upon witnessing a “double rainbow all the way” across the sky outside his house near Yosemite National Park in 2010. “What does this mean?” he asks, in tears. We still don’t know, but such is the mystery of life.
53. “You On Kazoo!”
It’s OK, child actor Brett Ambler, we all get a little… quiet when we meet a bunch of new people. Making friends isn’t hard when you kazoo like a maniac, as Dead VCR has reminded almost 32 million views worth of people in this edited clip from the 1989 show, Special Friends. And remember: don’t run, jump, or dance while playing the kazoo. Thanks!
52. “George Washington”
“George Washington” is two minutes and 23 seconds of pure bliss. The brainchild of Brad Neely, who went on to make China, IL and Brad Neely’s Harg Nallin’ Sclopio Peepio for Adult Swim, it’s a rap ballad about the first President of the United States, and begins with details generally left out of history books, like the 100% true facts that he was 6-foot-8 and weighed a metric ton. It only gets crazier from there, pushing Washington into Chuck Norris-esque territory.
There’s something undeniably strange, upsetting, and possibly tragic about the video of more than 1,500 prisoners in the Philippines blankly enacting a choreographed routine to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Indeed, the prison supervisor who uploaded it, Byron Garcia, noted as such in his detailed explanation of why he chose that specific Halloween classic: “I saw in the lyrics and video of ‘Thriller’ much of what jail culture is like. Because of the hideous conditions in jails, prisons are like tombs and inmates are like ghoulish creatures.” Garcia, who created the dance program at the facility, didn’t upload “Thriller” first — a routine to Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” preceded it. Still, “Thriller,” with its iconic moves became a sensation, one that received extra attention when Jackson himself died in 2009.
50. “I’m Poppy.”
The vast ecosystem of YouTube personalities — which includes singers, comedians, and self-styled gurus of all kinds — clearly demands a parody figure to push back against the conventions and tropes of the current celebrity-obsessed moment. In some ways, Poppy, a nihilistic conceptual art project powered by performer Moriah Pereira and her collaborator Titanic Sinclair, is the perfect fun-house mirror version of your average vlogger. This 10-minute video, which only consists of her saying her name, tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Poppy. She’s Poppy.
49. “PSY – GANGNAM STYLE(강남스타일) M/V”
“Gangnam Style” is catchy as hell, with an accompanying dance that rivals the likes of Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s “Crank That” and GS Boyz’ “Stanky Legg” as one of the most iconic pop music jigs of all time. It was the first YouTube video to hit 1 billion views, but that’s not nearly why it’s awesome. It’s awesome because it inspired so many embarrassing Psy wannabes out there to failmiserably. The schadenfreude is sweet.
48. “Too Many Cooks”
While the Adult Swim sensibility of reference-packed, absurd stoner humor has gotten more popular since the days of Space Ghost and Harvey Birdman, it hasn’t exactly conquered the mainstream. But the 2014 release of “Too Many Cooks,” a brain-melting anti-comedy short that parodies ’80s sitcom themes by stretching one out for over 10 minutes, suggested that maybe America was officially on the Cartoon Network’s wavelength. The short was brainy enough to scan as postmodern commentary and just dumb enough to forward to all of your co-workers in an email with “WTF??” in the subject line. Inevitably, it inspired too many takes, parodies, and knock-offs, but gluttony was baked into the conceit of the project.
47. “Minions Banana Song HD”
Minions, the probably single-celled organisms that have existed to poorly serve villainous masters since pretty much the dawn of time, are good, and this Minions-language version of “Barbara Ann” by The Beach Boys made to promote Despicable Me 2 is also good. None of this is up for debate.
46. “Put the team on my back”
It usually sucks watching other people play video games (yes, Twitch is huge; no, don’t care, everything popular is wrong). But in this singular Madden recap, the narrator is so compelling that he gifted the world a treasure trove of quotable material. Growling, “I put the team on my back,” in a fake Greg Jennings voice will probably get old if you’re the kind of person whose main form of conversation is quotes and references, but properly restrained, it is the epitome of the *chef’s kiss.*
45. “Why the fuck you lying”
This musical masterpiece that hilariously exposes you and all your lying ways over Next’s ’90s hit, “Too Close,” originally cropped up as a Vine back in 2015. But once his smirk became synonymous with accusations of dishonesty, the song’s creator, Nicholas Fraser, soon stretched the song past its viral fame and turned it into a full-length music video complete with backup dancers and a rain scene that’s led an equally as viral life on YouTube.
44. “Turning a cloud into a square by psychokinesis”
“My name is T. Chase and I am a cloud shrinker.” That sticker doesn’t appear until the end of the video, which is too bad, because how the hell is anyone supposed to know what the hell is going on here? The conceit of this video prompts lots of whys, including, “Why use your alleged psychokinetic powers to change the shape of clouds?” or “Why do you pronounce ‘cloud’ as ‘klewd’?” The pathway this person must have taken to arrive at filming himself attempting to change the shapes of clouds using the power of his mind is just one of the many rich, and quite possibly unhealthy, avenues of imaginative exercise the uber-democratic platform of YouTube has given us.
43. “My New Haircut”
“My New Haircut” is a fascinating artifact of the viral comedy boom. Long Island native Brett Tietjen’s gleefully vulgar, refreshingly handmade take on the obnoxious bros he grew up with predated the “GTL” craze of Jersey Shore and arrived right as Funny or Die was getting off the ground in 2007. (Worth noting: Derrick Comedy’s highly problematic “Bro Rape,” co-written by and starring Donald Glover, hit YouTube in 2006.) “Haircut” was possibly a rip-off of another video and it was then remade by anyone who wanted to make a bunch of jokes about their own ethnicity. 2007 was a very weird time!
42. “Breastfeeding… at 8”
Better than a mango, even! Before the best cover in the history of TIME magazine, a British documentary showcased a mother who breastfeeds her children for (disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a parenting expert) wayyyyyy too long, so long that they can’t even fit on the couch when they’re lying down and suckling on Mom’s sweet, sweet breast milk. So long that they can be quoted on what it’s like to breastfeed. Like, “I’d rather have lots of breast milk than a million melons,” which seems like a false choice, but we’ll leave that lesson on logical fallacies until they’re breastfeeding in high school.
41. “Otters holding hands”
“Absolutely adorable,” one of the off-screen human commentators coos in “Otters holding hands.” It’s true: They are so darn cute. But these two, who were captured at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2002, weren’t all that unusual: Otters clasp each other’s little paws all the time as a method of keeping one another close while they sleep. Still, these sweeties became stars because of this trait when footage hit YouTube in 2007, marking it as one of the very first viral animal videos on the site. Sadly, both members of this particular couple have died: Nyac, the female, in 2008, and Milo in 2012. They may be gone, but they float on in posterity.
40. “history of the entire world, i guess”
If you were to stumble randomly across Bill Wurtz’s “history of the entire world, i guess,” you’d be forgiven for thinking it was part of the crop of Flash-animated videos that dominated internet culture in the early-/mid-2000s, but, in fact, it came out just last year. Wurtz found his audience first through Vine, making sing-songy snippets of animated text, most famously “i’m still a piece of garbage.” He jumped to longform videos, starting with a cheeky history of Japan. As suggested by its title, this video features Wurtz narrating the history of the entire world (or at least a whole lot of it) in rapid fire, accompanied by snippets of original music and an increasingly demented sense of humor.
39. “David Blaine Street Magic: The Sequel”
Yes, that is Mikey Day screaming “Cheez-Its!” The series of David Blaine parodies the SNL star and his old comrades filmed roughly a decade ago were a thrill to watch, the goofy magic tricks always punctuated by that even goofier David Blaine “Yeah, I just fuckin’ did that” stare. Rarely are sequels better than the original, but this one, with all its genuinely surprising turns, is a shining exception.
38. “Blink-182 I Miss You (Tom’s Verse 10 Hour Loop)”
Sometimes when I’m having trouble getting in my prescribed 10 hours of sleep every night, I’ll throw on this loop, which is certain to put me in a restful and wakeless slumber by the start of the fourth time Tom Delonge gets into his verse. “I Miss You,” a single off of the band’s self-titled 2003 record, was prime fodder to be rediscovered and remixed through a profound lens of irony in 2015, thanks, in part, to the video’s earnest belief that the old-timey parlour band aesthetic and flappers making out was a cool, punk rock look.
37. “unforgivable #1”
It’s problematic in the ways that most things published by recent high schoolers on the internet in August 2006 were usually problematic. Gunnar Stansson does a one-note misogynistic riff that ends on a graphic description of a few different sex acts. He describes the woman in the story as a “bitch” or “cunt” no less than 18 times. And along the way he giggles and breaks character almost as many times to remind you that — no, you idiot — this is not serious. Nonetheless, the 10-video “unforgivable” series’ influence was real. Stansson’s monologues in the woods spread like wildfire, inspiring YouTube imitators male and female alike. Don’t think about it too much. Just pass the Chick-fil-A and waffle fries that you got… for free.
36. “Creed Shreds 3”
Perhaps the “shreds” videos feel like they belong to a bygone era, and Creed has been a punchline for longer than YouTube’s been around. Still, there’s no denying the impact these videos had on the medium, where earnest clips of popular musicians “shredding” lent themselves so easily to parody, and where more polished derivatives like “Bad Lip Reading” remain popular. It’s never NOT funny to watch Scott Stapp grunting and groaning, right?
35. “Cop Eats Pot Brownies Calls 911”
Don’t watch a version of this video that attempts to recreate the story being told by the cop, who has eaten pot brownies and now thinks he’s going to die, through a cartoon or some dramatic reenactment. Part of the magic of this video is the black screen, which turns the cop’s stoned ramblings into an old school radio play, and the minimal, sarcastic commentary that pops up occasionally. (Shout out to the incredulous “AND YOU’RE CALLING THE COPS.”) This is a cop show with more tension and twists than a Law & Order episode. The Red Wings are tied.
34. “Raptor Mascot Double Fail”
Rollerblading down a flight of stairs? Bad idea. Rollerblading down a flight of stairs in an inflatable mascot costume? Even dumber! Yet, the Toronto Raptors’ beloved mascot, aptly named The Raptor, fearlessly took on this thankless challenge one fateful day so many years ago to entertain Canadians the world over. The result was only half predictable, for he wouldn’t fall just once, but twice — first, busting his prehistoric rump, then, when he looked like he was home free, like he’d finally figured out how to cheat this deadly stunt, his flapping maw. “Ow! Right on the hardwood!” This poor dino is everything a good — nay, a great — mascot should be: a beautiful, flailing buffoon. Mr. The Raptor, we salute your stupid hijinks, and we’d take you over that dumbass G-Man any day.
33. “Gimme Pizza Slow”
Nostalgia — especially that which is ‘90s based — is almost always a winner online. “Gimme Pizza Slow,” however, filters that through a funhouse mirror. The original “Gimme Pizza” was no less bizarre: A clip from a 1995 Mary-Kate & Ashley video in which the twins and a couple other girls conceive of ways to ruin a pizza by adding chicken, fish, whipped cream, and other monstrosities. Then, a YouTube user slowed it down so it ends up in uncanny valley territory, an Olsen version of Twin Peaks’ “red room.”
32. “Best Scenes From ‘The Wicker Man'”
The transition of Nicolas Cage from quirky character actor in the ’80s to Oscar-winning and blockbuster-headlining leading man in the ’90s to raving cinematic madman in the ’00s is difficult to chart. An important inflection point occurs in this video, which compiles the “best” scenes from his mostly forgettable 2006 remake of The Wicker Man, the classic British horror film. When Cage screams about the bees, his head convulsing in wildly theatrical terror, he’s channeling a type of demonic energy that would power him through multiple decades of internet obsession. Is he serious? Is it all a big joke? How’d it get burned? We’ll never know.
31. “Flea Market Montgomery”
Local commercials have been afforded second lives on YouTube, reaching markets far beyond what a primetime slot on the local CW could have offered. The more bizarre, the better. Maybe none have nailed the elusive balance between goofy sketch and catchy jingle better than “Flea Market Montgomery,” sung by Montgomery, Alabama radio personality and furniture store owner Sammy Stephens. After Alamaban Kimberly Carr submitted the video to an open call for local commercials on Ellen, this video meandered as a pop culture reference everywhere, including episodes of The Office, The Cleveland Show, and Reno 911, and was reprised in other local commercials for a grocery store and the Atlanta Braves. Sadly, views don’t equal foot traffic — Flea Market Montgomery has closed — but its legacy is forever. Who among us hasn’t sung along to “It’s just like! A mini! Mall!”?
30. “Disturbed Karaoke”
In 2000, when Disturbed released “Down With the Sickness,” listeners were treated to the questionable battle cry lead singer David Draiman delivers in the beginning. That “oh, ah-ah-ah-ah!” was, controversially, said to have been inspired by a trip to the Chicago Zoo. Whatever, who cares. The best part is that whenever people do karaoke of this song — and believe me, a surprising amount do — they have to do their best David Draiman impression. And nobody comes close. Because nobody can David Draiman like David Draiman. Trying to perform “Down With the Sickness” is like trying to do advanced yoga with no training. It’s deceptively hard, and no matter how much effort you put in, chances are your performance is going to be embarrassingly, but entertainingly, bad.
29. “Alex Jones and the Fish People”
If you ever need to explain to someone who Alex Jones is and what exactly he’s all about, just play this video from internet video editor extraordinaire Todd Dracula. It might create more questions than answers, but while you’re asking questions, the evil powers that be are continuing to breed fish people.
28. “TOTINO BOY!”
The surreal worldview of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim has had an immeasurable impact on modern comedy. But their influence on the advertising industry, which has occasionally embraced their manic visual style and even hired the duo to film commercials, is even harder to describe. In addition to Old Spice commercials with Terry Crews, they made this haunting short film for Totino’s Pizza Rolls that must be seen to be believed. It has some of the same energy as their classic “Celery Man” sketch but also includes a saxophone solo, dialogue about the “hardcore punk scene,” and pizza imagery out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In 100 years, this will be a great time capsule of 2014 or all entertainment will look like this.
27. “Children interrupt BBC News interview”
It’s not just every BBC interview that spawns memes and Halloween costumes. Last year, Professor Robert E. Kelly was being interviewed about his thoughts on former South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment when the door to his study burst open and his daughter Marion marched in, followed by his son James, rolling along in a walker. It was a scramble on the part of Jung-a Kim, Kelly’s wife, to wrangle them back out of the room, though by that point it was already too late; the interview was a viral sensation.
26. “dank ass sandboarding son”
It’s unfortunate that it took six years for the magic of the dank ass sandboarding video on the gnarly dunes of Namibia to be truly appreciated for all that it is, but what matters is that is happened. Uploaded in 2008 with the effectively simple description “i smoke weed,” it was discovered and spliced for a Vine in the key moment where a boarder slides by a speed radar gun at a very chill 69 mph.
25. “George Brett shits his pants stories”
So much brilliance can come from a nondescript camera and a shotgun mic. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett, no stranger to famous videos, goofing around at a Kansas City Royals practice, decides to tell a story that he thinks is normal and totally happens to everybody, and no one else agrees. The details are best left to Brett to describe, but it involves a Vegas hotel, crab legs, and a lot of covering up.
24. “late for meeting”
David Lewandowski animates exclusively very normal, not at all rubber-like men walking so normally down the street to “my car” it’s, like, why is this video even on this list because it’s so normal? Lewandowski’s very normal portfolio got him animation jobs on films like TRON: Legacy and Oblivion, and, allegedly, Sony wanted to use this particular video in a sequence in The Emoji Movie. All normal stuff, you can buy normal merch to support Lewandowski’s art.
23. “Herman Cain sings ‘Imagine There’s No Pizza'”
File this one under the uniquely YouTube category of “There’s no way this is a real thing, holy shit, I can’t believe this is a real thing.” Yes, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and onetime Republican candidate for president got on a stage, donned church attire, and sang a version of John Lennon’s classic song with lyrics envisioning the dystopia that would arise in a world with no pizza (“Imagine there’s no pizza / I couldn’t if I tried / Eating only tacos / Or Kentucky Fried / Imagine only burgers / It’s frightening and sad”). Yes, the video survived, and yes, someone shared it with the world. This is exactly what YouTube was designed to do.
22. “How is babby formed?”
Yahoo Answers was the original Quora, which is to say that it’s where some of the most mind-boggling questions were asked under the veil of anonymity. As with many memes, “how is babby formed?” found an audience on the Something Awful forums, pairing it next to another Yahoo babby query that’s somehow even less sensical than the first. Out came this video as a result, a hilariously absurd, vaguely depressing, retelling of a babbies’ life.
21. “Steve Harvey Doesn’t Want To Host Family Feud Anymore”
As YouTube creators have mastered the tools they use to make videos, the actual content has (generally) gotten boring in recent years. Luckily, there are still people out there like Vic Berger, a gifted video editor who continues to push the formal limits of what a comedy video can look, sound, and feel like. While Berger is perhaps best known for his political material, like this devastating tribute to Jeb Bush or this hallucinatory compilation of GOP debate moments, “Steve Harvey Doesn’t Want To Host Family Feud Anymore” might be his masterpiece. We’ve all seen edits of game show hosts and news anchors losing their cool; Berger basically reinvents the wheel here, finding big laughs in the small nuances of human behavior.
20. “Jurassic Park melodica cover”
YouTube spawned an entire generation of remixing jokesters who could dig up humor in a nearly limitless pit of famous scenes and clips begging to be shit on. At the moment Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster reaches its majestic peak, with the main theme of John Williams’ instantly recognizable score about to kick in, a terrible melodica drops instead, leaving Sam Neill and Laura Dern to marvel at the wonder of seeing actual dinosaurs while someone struggles to control a child’s instrument. It’s the perfect mix of brevity, irreverence, and hilarity.
19. “the ting go skraa”
This freestyle heard ’round the world went viral in September 2017. Watching the clip out of context, it seemed like Roadman Shaq (later amended to Big Shaq) performed the worst/best freestyle of all time on BBC Radio’s 1Xtra, spitting lines like “the girl told me take off your jacket / I said babes / man’s not hot” while wearing a puffy coat in the booth, “2 plus 2 is 4 minus 3 is 1 / quick maths,” and the finest onomatopoeic scatting. While 1Xtra is legitimately real, Big Shaq is actually English comedian Michael Dapaah, a reveal that no doubt dampens the sense of spontaneous failure, but you have to give it to Dapaah: it was pretty damn convincing.
18. “Boom Goes the Dynamite”
In the pre-internet era, stumbling on a mistake in a live broadcast was like spotting an asteroid screaming across the sky. Luckily, streaming video helped resurface these flubs — and few are as exquisitely painful as “boom goes the dynamite,” a train wreck of a sports segment that aired on Ball State University’s TV station in 2005. Telecommunications major Brian Collins lost track of the words on the teleprompter and ended up mumbling his way through the updates. Compared to some of the more rage-filled live bloopers you’ll find on this list, “Boom” is almost quaint. You come away rooting for Collins to get it together!
17. “20th Century Fox recorder”
Just one of those things that’s so gloriously, surprisingly bad it’s a thing of beauty.
16. “JESUS CHRIST IN RICHMOND PARK”
The unintentionally hilarious home video has long been a comedic tradition; there’s an entire show that highlights the kinds of PG-rated foibles of regular old families just like yours. While the advent of YouTube made the scope of these videos global, and their content R-rated, there’s still so much pure humor to be found in life’s minor fuckups. Take Fenton, the uncontrollable British dog with the perfect name for an uncontrollable British dog, whose owner, Max Findlay, futilely chases him through Richmond Park, screaming, “Jesus christ, FENTON!” over and over as Fenton ignores him and spooks a herd of deer into a veritable stampede.
“Bustin” is everything the internet does best, namely chew up a piece of beloved pop culture and spit it out as something barely recognizable, but undeniably more fun. Internet video hall of famer Neil Cicierega (creator of “Potter Puppet Pals“) remixes Ray Parker Jr.’s iconic “Ghostbusters” theme music video here, curiously never allowing the song to get to the actual chorus (the word “ghostbusters” does not appear once). Instead, the lyrics go through a blender and the song takes on a whole new meaning. “Bustin” has been accurately described by a friend as “non-sexual edging,” in that you never get the payoff you expect from the original song, but the remix is so cleanly edited and seamless you keep dancing in anticipation anyway.
Before they were on SNL, Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney were uploading sketches on YouTube as GoodNeighborStuff, along with Nick Rutherford (who used to write for SNL) and Dave McCary (who’s a current segment producer). For all of the highly quotable videos of rambly Mooney monologues, the group’s best effort remains “toast,” almost five minutes of an elaborate cheers before going out, done in one impressive shot.
13. “Garbage Day!”
Part of YouTube’s power lies in its ability to strip away context. Watching “Garbage Day!” for the first time doesn’t require any familiarity with the source material, the trashy holiday slasher movie Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, and, in fact, it probably plays better if you know nothing about it going in. You don’t need the parodies, the illustrations, or the memes. You just need to watch a young psychopath say the phrase “garbage day!” and then shoot an unfortunate man as he attempts to take out the darn trash. Not a good day.
12. “KXVO ‘Pumpkin Dance'”
Maybe no one loves the goofs and spooks of Halloween more than broadcast news, and this anchor’s dance, wearing a unitard and pumpkin mask in front of a green screened cemetery, wins the prize for best of them all. Beamed out of a CW-affiliate station in Omaha, Nebraska, apparently this news and culture show had the freedom to do just about anything they wanted on a next-to-nothing yearly budget. Hence, this. The man behind the mask, Matt Geiler, went on to recreate the dance on America’s Got Talent, and now works as a comedian in LA.
11. “I like turtles”
Little did this Portland reporter know that when she asked young Jonathan Ware about his zombie face paint, she was going to be presented with the LeBron James of non-sequiturs. A true tossed-off-the-backboard, posterizing slam dunk of randomness. Forever a classic.
10. “Guy Fieri eating to Hurt by Johnny Cash”
In the more than 10 years that Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has aired on Food Network, Guy Fieri has become an online punchline darling. His kingdom is Flavortown, his culture is not your goddamn prom dress. A decade of the internet doing irony directed at Fieri’s blonde spikes culminated in a 2016 video geniously edited by Cleveland rapper/video guy Mayor Wertz: “Guy Fieri eating to Hurt by Johnny Cash” captures a rapacious ennui that makes this cut both difficult to watch, but even more difficult to look away. It’s unclear if Fieri himself has seen himself putting away oversized sandwiches, et. al., to the emotionally affecting Nine Inch Nails cover, but considering he’s a legitimately self-aware and nice dude, we’d like to imagine that he’d take it in stride.
9. “UF Police Taser Student During Kerry Forum”
The most memorable political event John Kerry was ever involved in as an elected official occurred at the University of Florida in 2007, and it had nothing to do with him. Anyone who’s ever gone to a public question-and-answer event knows the subject of the video: the guy who has a comment, rather than an actual question. It’s annoying and potentially entertaining (usually just annoying), but the way things devolve here are both a horrible nightmare of the second W. term, when it had long become clear that the administration had successfully shifted the context of public discourse to PATRIOTISM OR WEAK-ASS LIBERAL BULLSHIT, and a precursor to the increased attention on excessive force by police. There’s no reason to arrest or tase this idiot, and he does himself no favors by coining a catchphrase etched in the public consciousness: Don’t tase me, bro! You can add all the political remonstrating you want, but a bro is a bro is a bro, even when electricity is passed through his body until he screams bro.
8. “GI Joe – Pork Chop Sandwiches”
Every one of the pleasingly strange G.I. Joe PSA parodies was essential viewing for anyone who ever typed the words “eBaum’s World” into a web browser. Chicago-based filmmaker Eric Fensler, who went on to write for Tim and Eric and currently works for the Portland-based ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, made the videos in 2003 with the help of friends after stumbling upon the PSA’s during a re-watch of 1987’s G.I. Joe: The Movie. “I would just dump all the footage in there, watch it with the sound off, then kinda go from there,” he told the Verge in a 2013 retrospective piece.
He ended up creating a series of gibberish-filled videos that have entertained and confused millions. What makes “Pork Chop Sandwiches” the best of the batch? Like many viral comedy clips, it takes nostalgia-ready elements, in this case the scolding tone of a cartoon PSA, and heightens them into absurdity. (Also, like most comedy, it’s painful to explain it like this but we’ll go ahead and do it anyway.) Two young boys start a fire while cooking and in barges one of the G.I. Joe’s to the rescue. But instead of saying something heroic, he yells out the non-sequitur “Pork chop sandwiches,” and then tells the boys, “Oh shit, get the fuck out of here.” The abruptness of the profanity, the stupidity of the kids, and the deadpan final shot of the hero’s face really elevate this above other remix videos, making it the gold standard of random absurdity. Stoned teenagers from the mid-’00s unanimously agree.
After first being uploaded to the Something Awful forums in 2005 under the title “Fabulous Secret Powers,” this odd, glorious pairing of Masters of the Universe toon hero He-Man and a very goofy cover of 4 Non Blondes’ 1992 hit single “What’s Up” became a viral hit when it was uploaded to YouTube in 2006. It spawned several parodies — like this similarly perfect “BoHeman Rhapsody” and this strange pork one — and evolved into another almost-too-good-to-be-true bait-and-switch troll bomb. Sing on, He-Daddy.
6. “Have you ever had a dream like this?”
Like many great YouTube videos, this one arises as though from a dream itself, originating from the 1999 TV special Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales. How this made it to air, and to YouTube, should probably be left to the purview of Child Protective Services, but the kicker this confused kid lands on is an all-time classic punchline most professional comedians would trade Netflix specials for. Yes, we have ALL had dreams like that.
5. “this drummer is at the wrong gig”
In a world dominated by the two poles of hardened cynicism and corrupt smarminess, it can be difficult to locate yourself emotionally in day-to-day life. Will a skeptical attitude earn you a reputation as a Negative Nancy, held at a distance by your peers? Will overt enthusiasm come off as a social faux pas, turning you into an unwitting Pollyanna? How do you even begin to bring joy, passion, and a sense of craft to your work when you’re constantly fretting about how it will be perceived?
The unfettered zeal of Steve Moore, the Mad Drummer, as he flails and stick twirls to ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man,” inspires the kind of joy we all, at some point or another, wish we could muster in the face of less-than-ideal circumstances. It’s easy to construct a dour fictional narrative of this man’s life: a failed rocker relegated to life as a cover artist, playing fluorescently lit cafeterias, where the only songs the audience wants are tried-and-true classics decades old. In reality, this is partly true: Moore was a struggling musician, sleeping on studio floors, until Rick K. & the Allnighters, a “show band” with an aggressive touring schedule, picked him up as their drummer. The fact that he seizes this opportunity (and the many others that followed in the wake of this video’s virality, including a cameo in a late season of The Office) and provides what he believes to be a small — and what winds up being enormous — audience a sublime moment of happiness is a reminder that no matter the stage, you should always show up in a gold blazer and fucking blow the roof off the place.
4. “Best Street Party Ever – Parents Yet To Find Out”
In 2008, Corey Worthington threw an epic party in Australia, one in which the police were called after attendees damaged neighbors’ property and, eventually, police cars themselves, all while Corey’s parents were out of town. When a local newscaster interviews him for a story, Corey does virtually everything right to cement his legacy as a folk hero: Sporting Pokémon-yellow hair poking out from under a trucker hat, he wears a jacket with no shirt underneath, and yellow-rimmed sunglasses. Remember the sunglasses. After throwing absolute heat in answering the patronizing newscaster’s questions (he hasn’t answered his parents’ calls because they’d probably want to kill him, duh), he expresses very little remorse. These things happen! Kids throw parties! But a great local news piece becomes legend right around the 2:35 mark, when Corey agrees to say sorry, yet refuses to take off his glasses. Why? Because they’re famous. May we all be granted the kind of fuck-you poise Corey Worthington showed when under increasing pressure. Those glasses ARE famous.
3. “Celery Man”
What kind of content does Paul Rudd watch? According to this sketch from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Season Cinco’s final episode “Milk Man,” lots of other dancing Paul Rudds. Beautiful. Nonsensical. Kind of timely — well, at least when it came out. Landing in May 2010, right before Wanderlust and This Is 40, and right after Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I Love You, Man — in other words, right as Rudd was cementing his comedic megastar status — this clip was a home run when it aired, and an even bigger one when it was reborn out of context on YouTube years later. It capitalized on the absurdity that was migrating from New York’s alt-comedy spaces to TV and the web. Now, it lives on as a wonderfully inexplicable precursor to the type of humor that thrives on Adult Swim and its ilk — as well as a “Celery Man” homage site where you can call up your own Mozza-Rell sequences all day long. It’s undeniable proof that Paul Rudd’s computer is way more interesting than the X-Men‘s Cerebro. Hail, Tayne.
2. “Nintendo Sixty-FOOOOOOOOOOUR”
Matching pajamas-wearing siblings Brandon and Rachel Kuzma, aka the Nintendo 64 kids, single-handedly invented unboxing videos, setting genre’s unbeatable standard, in 2006 when Brandon himself uploaded this 1998 home video that captured the essence of pure 9- and 6-year-old joy on Christmas day. Shoutout to whoever was behind the camera for the effortless reaction zoom on Brandon’s face looking like his head was about to explode. (Hot take: Rachel is actually the Most Valuable Kid miming her older brother’s reaction, though no less excited, in that purple veil/crown.) Brandon’s psychotic bulging eyes and unmitigated shrieking have made this video an iconic touchpoint; how many people featured in YouTube clips can say they’ve been sampled by Skrillex or have starred in Taco Bell commercials? For all of the attention the Kuzmas got for this viral video, they seem to have grown up to be regular people with regular career paths. We wonder if they still have the N64.
1. “I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This”
Neither can we.
Editor: Leanne Butkovic
Writers: Sam Blum, Leanne Butkovic, Sean Fitz-Gerald, Alex Garofalo, Karen Han, Dan Jackson, Danielle Jackson, Anthony Schneck, John Sellers, Khushbu Shah, Eric Vilas-Boas, and Esther Zuckerman
Copy Editor: Will Robinson
Editorial Assistant: Danielle Jackson
Graphics: Fredy Delgado
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