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Point of sentimental privilege, please.

June 27th, 2008 by Bill Corbett · 45 Comments

(Rises.) * Ahem. *

I understand that the video below has quickly gone mega-viral, and it’s already been seen by trillions of people — every one of them before me. So I’m not claiming to have discovered anything here, except perhaps rediscovering the fact that I’m often dead last in picking up on trends.

I’m a skeptic, not a cynic. I think I used to be a cynic, but I got better. Still, even as a proud skeptic, I can honestly tell you that the video below quickly brought tears to my eyes. And by the end I was blubbering like a toddler.

Why? Watch this if you haven’t seen it already, then please indulge me theorizing about my reaction — which was surprising.

Why did Bill weep?

Because it’s such a goofy dance the guy is doing. It’s downright silly. It’s early Steve Martin with the arrow in his head; it’s the Marx Brothers!

It’s the kind of manic, gleeful energy I see and love in my two young kids… and not incidentially, why I have embarked on a life of goofiness. I don’t know that I ever even intended to… but I really had no choice. Goofiness, joy, and hope are interrelated. I was pulled towards it. Thank God.

Jim Walsh of the MinnPost, where I first saw this video, said it very well:

    But this one is no YouTube vanity trip. This one is different. This one feels important, necessary, and artistic; it’s a concrete manifestation of the change that the world’s leaders have been preaching at a time when the human race could use a little pick-me-up, a little jig in its step.

    This one is a high-definition television commercial for hope.

I have nothing to add.

Except, um… bacon!

(runs away, hoping no one sees the cry-snot all over his shirt)

/ sentimental Corbett

[UPDATE Sunday PM: Peter Sagal, host of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," has informed me that he is IN the dance-a-riffic video above. I immediately assumed Peter was the impassive "Korean" guard in the DMZ (master of disguise, that Sagal), but apparently he's part of that big crowd in Chicago, in front of the famous Bean.]

Tags: RiffTrax

45 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tim D on Jun 27, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I want his money.

  • 2 Scooter on Jun 27, 2008 at 11:51 am

    56 seconds- I found Jerry Lewis
    you see because it’s in France….and he falls….

    meh I tried

  • 3 Jacob_Taylor on Jun 27, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Go dancing man!!

    bring your dancing joy to all the countries of the world

  • 4 Finchstalker on Jun 27, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    He blogs as he travels too, and it’s really insightful and fascinating.

    (www.wherethehellismatt.com if anyone’s interested)

  • 5 Finchstalker on Jun 27, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    …Okay, that link’s not working right now, but you can get to his blog directly at:
    http://www.wherethehellismatt.typepad.com/blog/

  • 6 trumpysmagicsnout on Jun 27, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    It’s a strangely wonderful video. At first when he just started the dance I thought “Oh Christ cheers Bill for bringing to my attention another stupid youtube video”. But by the end I felt genuinely moved and I’m not entirely sure why. So cheers Bill for bringing me a pretty damn good youtube video!

  • 7 MikeP on Jun 27, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Viral video? What the hell is a “viral video”? I am aware of all Internet traditions, but this makes no sense to me.

  • 8 Bill Corbett on Jun 27, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_video

    I’ll just go ahead and get off your lawn, now.

  • 9 CinemaslaveJoe on Jun 27, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    The guy’s just dancing in front of a blue screen, isn’t he? :) Heck no, I’m not cynical.

    I agree that it’s a strangely compelling watch. The video contains a beautiful, inspiring message of hope, and the revelation that the world will only come together when we all set aside our differences and realize that *everyone* can dance like Mr. Greenjeans if they really try.

    -CSJ

  • 10 Stacia on Jun 27, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I’d heard of Matt’s blog but never realized what it was about, and hadn’t seen the video until now.

    The Rifftrax blog is the last blog in the world I would have expected to make me cry. No no, I’m not crying, that’s just a banana in my eye.

    Sniff.

  • 11 RemmieBarrow on Jun 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Ok, I am just coming out and ask it, “WHERE THE HELL IS MATT??”

  • 12 Conor Lastowka on Jun 27, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Awesome. I too had heard of this guy but never thought to watch one of his videos.

  • 13 Michaela on Jun 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I wish we could all hold on to that unabashed joy that so many lose as they get older. Damn you, rigid dignity of the adult world!

  • 14 MikeP on Jun 27, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    ‘Twas a joke, Bill. Apparently too meta, though.

    cf: I am aware of all Internet traditions.

  • 15 Doktorsleepless on Jun 27, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Sure do the dance all over the world and become a youtube sensation. Do the dance in some random elevators while whipping it out and now I’m banned from all major Disney outlets.

  • 16 Bill Corbett on Jun 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I bow before you, sir. Humbled. Defeated. Kind of urpy.

  • 17 mathey on Jun 27, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Favorite moment:

    Doing a jig in the DMZ.

  • 18 chrismartindeed on Jun 27, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Perhaps it stirred fond memories of your mad gambol with the Priestess of the Crocodile God… nearly the balmy village of Wongo?

    Whatever became of her, anyway? And how did Mrs. Corbett ever forgive you?

  • 19 Thom_Serveaux on Jun 27, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    AT 3:15 or so, look! It’s Larry the Lemur!! (and some of his extended family) Running away from Matt ‘the dancing fool’ as fast as they can….

  • 20 Marty on Jun 27, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Yea, bacon! No, wait there was a video:

    All the world is a silly, silly place, good to be reminded of that once in a while.

    I thought I was going to make it to the end without tearing up but it hit me about 2/3 in, let’s hope the person that edited that together uses their powers only for good…

  • 21 Mrs. Rittenhouse on Jun 27, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Somewhere, Captain Spaulding and Rufus T. Firefly are smiling.

  • 22 MSTKelly on Jun 27, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    no way! he got to go on the Vomit Comet! now I cry tears of jealousy…

  • 23 MikeM on Jun 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Actually, it’s a private company that sells similar rides, not NASA’s “vomit comet”. I was jealous too, though.

    http://www.gozerog.com/

  • 24 Glyn on Jun 27, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Wow!
    They are dancing as if Bush was OUT of office!

  • 25 Christopher Majewski on Jun 28, 2008 at 6:53 am

    I really loved this video; it’s the first time I’ve seen it.

    I REALLY feel like I’ve accomplished nothing today now!

    I want to go dance in Tokyo, dammit!

  • 26 Mr. Slick on Jun 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Amen

  • 27 Mr. Slick on Jun 28, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Bacon Mr. Corbett, Bacon.

  • 28 Meredith on Jun 28, 2008 at 9:16 am

    That was my favorite too. Now if I ever somehow find myself in the DMZ, I’m going to feel compelled to dance. Goofily.

  • 29 R.A. Roth on Jun 28, 2008 at 10:03 am

    That is the dance of a man who has left a large carbon footprint traveling around the globe. Bravo, I say. Let ‘em know you were here.

    Randy

  • 30 Ben on Jun 28, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve got a scope on him. Just gimme the word and I can take him out.

  • 31 Bill Corbett on Jun 28, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Touche, R.A.

    (…though we don’t know, he may have kayaked around the world?)

  • 32 olso2635 on Jun 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I have always liked this YouTubie!

  • 33 euphoriafish on Jun 28, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    My favorite part was the maid cafe girls in Tokyo. That made me LOL. One of my friends has promised to take me to a maid cafe if I ever go back.

  • 34 Brian O. on Jun 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I dunno, but I identify with the guy on the right in the blue shirt in Brisbane Australia.

  • 35 Onil on Jun 29, 2008 at 5:18 am

    I dunno, I still might be a cynic. That Stride commercial automatically makes him a tool of the multinational corporations with their strangle-hold on all our lives. Where the hell is Matt? Cashing his paycheck probably. The one that paid for his soul.

  • 36 Onil on Jun 29, 2008 at 5:26 am

    This is not to say that I like being a cynic. I’m sort of in the same boat as you, Bill. I want to move away from cynicism and towards being a mere skeptic. And a definite impetus of this move was my becoming a step-dad.

    It’s slow going as you may know.

  • 37 Bill Corbett on Jun 29, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Well said, O.

    I know nothing of this Stride commercial, though. I don’t even know what Stride is, I must admit. I’m kind of a TV-phobe in general, at least these days.

  • 38 MSTJedi on Jun 29, 2008 at 7:50 am

    The way I see it, if a guy can trick the man (Stride) into giving him the money to travel all over the globe to dance like a goober and to compel others to do likewise, more power to him.

    See, I use my cynicism for good.

  • 39 Neb on Jun 29, 2008 at 8:16 am

    This video makes me happy in more ways than one. The plain ole’ dancing vid is tops. The fact that he’s making a living traveling around the world with a video camera, having adventures and getting paid for it? That makes me happy, too! That job would SO have made me happy right out of college…but I wouldn’t have had the courage, confidence, or maturity to have done such a good job with it. Now I’m too tied to my “homestead” to be away for so long at a stretch.

  • 40 zoidberg on Jun 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I didn’t cry when Ol’ Yeller was shot, nor did I when Bambi lost his mom, nor when ET was dying did I shed a tear… This had me a blubbery mess in less than 2 minutes.

  • 41 Au$10 on Jun 30, 2008 at 11:22 am

    That was wonderful. I teared up as well. Don’t tell the cool kids.

  • 42 Eileen on Jul 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    No kidding. I cried too. I must need a nap.

  • 43 CarcinoGenny on Jul 2, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Personally I’ve always been partial to the free hugs video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4
    it starts out seeming a little weird– being a girl whose been to some hippy fests–even offputting…but then it all changes and is goofy, sweet and awesome… I dunno, to each their own sappy youtube meme–and the more the better, probably.

    Matt, wow. I think there’s only one moment where I saw him stop (besides the indian dancer moment when he syncs up, which is a nice touch), but the way it’s edited it seems like he stays in place and the countries change around him!

  • 44 Henk on Jul 6, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    ET touching up the children with his
    “magic” finger had me in tears, still does.

  • 45 Matthew Manard on Jul 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I reacted just like you Bill. Thank you so much for showing me this.