This Day In Internet History – December 6, 2004: Numa Numa Is Born

(YouTube)

On this day in 2004, a New Jersey man named Gary Brolsma procured for himself something we all long for: Immense fame simply for being a silly goof on the internet. But, like a wish upon a cursed monkey’s paw, it came with a price.

When Gary (or whoever got ahold of the video) pressed the upload button on Newgrounds in December of 2004, did he know that by doing so he would become a viral legend? Did he know that dancing and lip-syncing to the song “Dragostea din tei” by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone would make people freak out with laughter and inspire countless parody videos? Probably not. But he did it anyway. The man took a chance.

(YouTube)

This video, which has over 27 million views, is, as The New York Times puts it, earnest but painful.

A Brief History of Numa Numa

Gary Brolsma was 19 years old when the video hit. And it hit hard. In fewer than three months after its release, it had been viewed more than two million times on Newgrounds. Then it ballooned up to 18 million. From there, the video was copied and shared on countless websites. By November of 2006, Numa Numa was the second most-watched viral video of all time, with over 700 million views.

According to Brolsma, his mom woke him up one day when she discovered news vans from CBS, NBC and ABC parked outside their house. She didn’t know about the video, and thought her son had gotten himself into trouble. No, mom, your boy just went viral.

In a whirlwind of press coverage, Brolsma made appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Tonight Show, and VH1’s Best Week Ever. The Numa Numa video was ranked number 1 on VH1s Top 40 Internet Superstars.

But the attention got to be too much. Brolsma didn’t know how to deal with his unexpected launch to celebrity. The New York Times revealed that he was an “unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity.” He canceled an appearance on NBC’s Today, in favor of isolating himself to seek refuge from fame. He stopped taking phone calls. He quietly sulked around his home.

He didn’t stay down forever.

A supportive story in The Believer made the case that the Numa Numa video “singlehandedly justifies the existence of webcams… It’s a movie of someone who is having the time of his life, wants to share his joy with everyone, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks”.

The story goes on, “Everyone wanted to be the Numa Numa Guy—to feel that un-self-consciously self-conscious joy he felt in his body, flailing around in his chair and lip-synching a stupid pop song in a language he didn’t understand.

He may be shy, but there’s no question that Brolsma is an entertainer. His video made people laugh and forget their troubles for a while.

Time Goes On

Brolsma says he “wasn’t big on fame.” The attention got to be relentless. Still, he made the best of it.

In an interview with C-Net, he says his life essentially went back to normal after the fame died down. He has retained his small group of friends, and it’s thrilling when people stop him and ask for a picture. The marriage proposals are flattering, too.

Brolsma came back in September, 2006 with a professionally produced video, this time using a song written for him by Variety Beats.

New Numa 

(YouTube)

Then he teamed up with some other viral video stars for the “Numa Numa” 10-year reunion. 

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The man certainly knows how to milk it!

Parody Videos and Tributes

Numa Numa on South Park.

(YouTube)

I thought this was Britney Spears. It’s not.

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I don’t really know what this is but it has over 3 million views so who am I to judge?

(YouTube)

I hate this.

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Maybe don’t show this to your kids.

(YouTube)

Speaking of kids.

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So that’s the story of Numa Numa, one of the first viral videos ever.

Let’s close it out on some solid advice from the Numa Numa man. “If you’re doing something and your intention is to be funny and you’re not having fun yourself, it’s not going to work out.”

Now let’s all get out there and dance our weird hearts out!

Father and Son Escape Burning Truck in the Nick of Time

(News Channel Nebraska)

19-year old Minnesota man Kobe Sammons drove 500 miles to visit his family in Nebraska. When he arrived he told to his father, Jeremy, that his ride just wasn’t running right. So his dad hopped in the truck and the two went for a drive in hopes of discovering what the problem was.

A short while later they pulled over when Jeremy noticed smoke had entered the cabin of the truck. The smoke quickly turned to heat and it became apparent the engine compartment was on fire.

That’s when both men attempted to open their doors but they would not unlock.

The father wondered if this would be their final moments together.

“I told him he would have to break the glass or kick the door open. I couldn’t help him.” the elder Sammons told News Channel Nebraska.

But eventually Kobe was able to kick the door open.

“It was in those moments. Just when it had to open, the door opened.” Kobe’s dad said.

By the time firefighters arrived the truck was completely engulfed in flames. Authorities on the scene considered that the fire may have caused the doors’ unlocking mechanism to malfunction.

The truck can easily be replaced, the important thing is that this father and son duo escaped unharmed.

75-Year-Old Volunteer Literally Takes Catnaps at Animal Shelter

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

If you’re a cat lover you’ll probably agree that 75-year-old Wisconsinite Terry Lauerman is living the dream. He spends most days volunteering at his local animal shelter snoozing with cats.

Lauerman begins his day at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary where he brushes any cat that needs it, then ends up catching a few z’s with his feline friends. The cats and staff at the shelter love the service Lauerman provides and so do thousands of others because of a viral Facebook post about him.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that Lauerman never signed up to be a volunteer but just showed up one day, armed with a cat brush and dream to help some kitties.

“He just walked in and started brushing,” Feldhausen said. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

Safe Haven is a cage-free, no-kill shelter aimed at rehabilitating cats with special needs who would likely be euthanized elsewhere. Feldhausen says Lauerman usually comes in for about three hours every day—he’ll start by brushing a cat but usually ends up dozing off.

“He sleeps for about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,”

The cats aren’t the only ones benefitting from his visits, though. “He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them,” said Feldhausen.

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

The post about Lauerman has received tons of positive attention and according to Feldhausen, they’ve received about $20,000 in donations since the post went viral.

While Lauerman is happy to have brought so much attention to Safe Haven, he wants people to know that there are plenty of other volunteers that put in hours of hard work to make sure the cats are loved and cared for.

Unlike them, however, Lauerman can do it in his sleep.

Father Figures: So Be It

“My money is tight living here in Silicon Valley.

My daughters are both really smart and take advanced classes, which takes a shit load of money for tests, materials and such. I too play the ‘money is tight’ card around holidays and birthdays, but I work my ass off and find side jobs. As many as I can to make sure they have the best day possible on those special occasions.

If that means not buying myself anything for the rest of my life, so be it.

They always come first, and I believe they will appreciate the struggles later on in life, and they’ll be better off for it.”

– Mauro Hernandez

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Dad’s Panoramic Photo of Daughter Goes Horribly Wrong and Viral

(Twitter/sc_x_cs)

With new phones constantly boasting advancements in camera technology, it’s no wonder some people have trouble keeping up—dads in particular.

Just ask 21-year-old Twitter user Simran. She recently came to terms with the fact that her father is a bit more technologically-challenged than she realized.

Here’s how Simran appears when she’s directing the photo shoot:

While on vacation her dad attempted to snap a unique picture of her. He insisted on trying out his iPhone X’s panoramic photo mode. As you probably expect, the photo didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“My dad told me to stand by the apples because he said he discovered a new way to take pano pics vertically,” Simran told Mashable. “I agreed to it and this was the result.”

“When he saw them he said ‘they look great’ and then I saw them and completely lost it. I mean, are you kidding me? I look like an Alien,” she said.

A number of people chimed in and made fun comparisons to some pretty unflattering images.

Clearly, Simran has been a good sport and we commend her dad for a bold attempt at harnessing advanced photo technology. But perhaps he should stick with the old fashioned point-and-shoot method from now on?