7 of the Most Recognizable Viral Videos Ever Posted to the Internet
The internet is filled with billions of videos, but some of this media breaks through to become viral. This means that an incredible number of people have shared in the experience of watching them.
When the topic of viral videos comes up, everyone likely has their favorites that they will point to, as well as they ones they remember as being just too good not to pass along. Viral videos have an important place in popular culture. They often speak to the overall milieu at a given point in history while also recognizing universally funny, uplifting, or just plain entertaining moments.
Some of the top viral videos of all time include:
1. Chewbacca Mom
Chewbacca Mom, a Jukin Media video, went viral more recently. A mother based in Texas purchases a Star Wars mask from Kohl’s and decides to live stream from Facebook while wearing it as a joke.
The video went viral and made her famous even though it was not her intention. Virtually everyone in the world needed the warmhearted laugh that the video provided, it seems. As of July 2020, the video was the most-watched Facebook live stream ever.
2. Charlie Bit My Finger
One of the oldest viral videos is Charlie Bit My Finger, which features two young in a hilarious scenario. The younger child keeps biting the finger of the older one who does seem to learn his lesson and continues to put his finger in his brother’s mouth.
As one of the first viral videos, it was not actually intended as such. The father of the children put the video on YouTube so that their grandfather living in another country would be able to see it. After the video went viral, the father decided to monetize, and the video’s proceeds were used to purchase the family a new home.
3. Keyboard Cat
In its earliest days, YouTube was known for its funny cat videos. In some ways, the company is still trying to shake this image. However, some of those videos still hold up, including Charlie Schmidt’s Keyboard Cat. The video, which has more than 54 million views, features a tabby cat outfitted in a blue shirt while playing a keyboard.
Interestingly, the video makes little sense on its own and only became viral when it was picked up by a video website and used as a follow-up to awkward situations or bloopers with the tagline, “Play him off, keyboard cat!” The video is perfect for adding additional absurdity to a situation that is already absurd.
4. Pizza Rat
Another Jukin Media video, Pizza Rat was first posted to YouTube in 2015. The video, at least on the surface, is about a rat trying to drag a slice of pizza through a New York subway station when the food is three or four times his size.
However, the video has a deeper, metaphorical meaning that points to the urban struggle, which is probably why it went viral. While the video is hilarious to watch, it also points to the human condition. Plus, viewers tend to sympathize with the rat and cheer it one to get the pizza that it worked so hard to claim.
5. Leave Britney Alone
Lest someone think that the only videos that go viral include babies or animals, Leave Britney Alone deserves a place on this list. The video got more than 50 million views while it was on YouTube although the original poster has now closed the account, so the video is unavailable.
However, many people saw it while it was still up, not to mention the many parodies that it inspired. The video stars a person tearfully defending Britney Spears and asking the world to leave her alone during a time when the media was heavily criticizing the pop princess.
6. David After Dentist
The story behind David After Dentist is not that different from Charlie Bit My Finger. A father recorded his son after the dentist when he was still recovering from anesthesia. The video was posted to YouTube but shared only with friends and family for the first seven months.
Then, after the limit for private shares was reached, the family decided just to make it public and it quickly went viral. Now, the video has more than 138 million views. Plus, the family decided to monetize the video. Now, the video has earned enough money to cover David’s college education.
Liam Kyle Sullivan posted his comedic music video Shoes in 2007 under the moniker Kelly. The video is a hilarious take on a teenage girl’s priorities and relationships with family members.
While the video has inspired countless copycat performances, not to mention costumes, it really struck a chord with Americans. Even though the video is more than a decade old, much of the points it touches on still speak to contemporary consumption culture. Sullivan made other videos under the name Kelly, but none had quite the same impact as Shoes.