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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Those Harlem Shake videos are hilarious and I don't care who disagrees

I don't really follow memes. I just don't. I watched the actual Gangnam Style video exactly one time, giggled a little, and then never watched it or any of the myriad parody videos again.

(dear Mom: a "meme" is something -- either a picture, phrase, video, etc. -- that suddenly gets really popular on the internet so everyone makes their own version of it, trying to be the funniest person around. For example, I used a meme just the other day in my discussion of Downton Abbey: the black lady that says "ain't nobody got time fo that." My version of the meme was, of course, not very funny)

Except I obviously have plenty of time for that. Soooo .... yeah.

This weekend, I was perusing my Twitter feed and kept seeing references to this thing called the "Harlem Shake." I deduced, using my incredible powers of deduction, that the Harlem Shake was some sort of dance, and that it had gone viral for some reason, clogging up the internet with amateur videos of people attempting their own versions of it.

(dear Mom: when something "goes viral," that means everyone with an internet connection has sent links to it to everyone they know, because they find it so hilarious that they feel all their friends, neighbors and acquaintances must see it as well. And those people agree that it is hilarious, so they send it to everyone THEY know, until soon enough, everyone in the world knows about it)

Like this f***ing cat, apparently.

I had to know more.

So I did what any too-old-to-know-about-a-meme-but-still-young-enough-to-not-have-to-ask-their-children-about-it person would do: I googled it and read about it on I watched a few of the videos of different people attempting it.

And I laughed.

And I laughed.

And I laughed.

Dudes, I don't care what you think -- that shit is funny.

For those who are old/out of the loop like me, here is what these Harlem Shake videos are all about, and why they are so awesome:

1. A group of very sedate and uninteresting people sits/stands around doing nothing. Perhaps they are working in an office, or eating their lunch, or standing in formation (obviously, members of the military have put together some fine examples of the Harlem Shake)

2. One person, wearing a ridiculous mask of some sort, begins to dance badly. Everyone else completely ignores this person, continuing to go about their business. I am already laughing at this point, because one white guy in a horse mask dancing alone and badly is funny on every level. The person is dancing to the "Harlem Shake" song, which is how this whole trend got its name. (there is also a dance called the Harlem Shake, but that is not at all what the masked white-boys are doing. They are doing the white-boy dance, which is like the macarena only with no choreography and also worse somehow).

3. At the 15-second mark, the music pauses for the briefest of instants, the beat drops, and the video cuts to the exact same angle, but now all the people who were working/eating lunch/standing at attention have been replaced by ABSOLUTE IDIOCY. The scene has turned into a dance party -- the kind of dance party I wish I could be invited to. Everyone is dressed in ridiculous outfits and is holding ridiculous props. They are doing the weirdest, wackiest, and worst dance moves imaginable. 

This goes on for another fifteen seconds, and then it all ends as incomprehensibly as it started.

And I cannot stop laughing.

Now I shall illustrate this a bit better, with screenshots from some of my favorite Harlem Shake videos:

First, the video that started it all (watch it here):

He also stares at the camera while he does it, which is somehow even funnier. Like he's looking into your soul and shouting "hey, watch me punch this giraffe in the face! Try to look away!"

Starting a meme is cool and all, but obviously others are going to take the idea to even further extremes, which will manage to be even funnier. For instance, the costumes have gotten wilder ... and sometimes, the sheer number of people involved is just magical. Like this version here:

It starts with a wizard riding in on a scooter, because duh. He then begins to dance, as usual:

Then, we hit the fifteen second mark ...


Sometimes the cast gets more ridiculous, like this lovely Army one from somewhere in the world (watch it here):

And then the beat drops, and ...

Please watch this one. I can't even point out all the things that are hysterical in this video. You've got a guy in a blue man suit. You've got two guys buttoned into one shirt. You've got guys in sleeping bags flopping around on the ground. On the right, one guy FALLS OUT A WINDOW while another guy smashes his head into the building over and over again. It is beautiful and utterly bewildering. I have watched it at least ten times and I just ... I can't ...

But this isn't even the best one. The best one that I've seen is this one here, put on by those beautiful bastards of the UGA swim and dive team:

Because who doesn't often sit around at the bottom of a pool ignoring a guy in a Storm Trooper mask gyrating on a table?


Ah jeez. Memes. Sometimes, they're worth it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to watch some more Harlem Shake videos. And if you know of any other particularly great ones that you think I might enjoy, please link them in the comments. I'm not over this one yet. I am still laughing.


  1. And THIS is why I love UGA!! haha

    I am crying from laughing so hard. How could I be so sheltered from a crazy internet trend. I have a feeling my night is going to be wasted on this

    1. I kept seeing everyone on Twitter going on about it like it was the worst thing ever. "Harlem Shake proves that Americans are stupid and will waste time on literally anything" and "Harlem Shake makes me weep for humanity." So when I first checked it out, I was expecting something incredibly dumb.

      Imagine my surprise when the Harlem Shake videos (the decent ones, not the versions made by five teenagers in their mom's bedroom) turned out to be THE GREATEST THING I HAD EVER SEEN. Some people just gotta hate, I guess.

  2. Still don't get it. However, the pool one is my FAVORITE!