Here, nine YouTube sensations whose lives were upended briefly in the past decade (plus one from the prehistoric web era, before YouTube made its debut in 2005) speak about this odd, relatively new kind of fame. Most embraced the experience, seeing where it would take them. Some ended up in dark places. A couple have made it their living and found themselves with new careers. Others stepped away, opting out of the flame wars. Pay attention: Someday, the accidental celebrity could be you.
Sam and Nia, are the YouTube "stars" whose pregnancy announcement reached the national news in the US. But they are just the tip of the "family vlogging" iceberg.
In 1988, two college students filmed themselves sneaking into the Oscars. It landed them a spot with Johnny Carson.
These are just ordinary teenagers, here and there in ordinary towns, with (at least at first) no particular training, no sophisticated equipment, no teams of writers, no management, no professional editors, and, somehow, literally millions of fans—fans rabid enough to form fandoms and rivalries and elaborate webs of platonic shipping. Fans who have never heard of Brad Pitt. It's an entire economy based on almost nothing but the thrill of saying/seeing whatever you want where your parents can't catch you—where you can be flamboyantly gay or ask embarrassing questions or carve out a social space for yourself or even be cruel to other kids because it makes you feel safe for a minute. Lindy West on the modern YouTube celebrity.
Garry McDonald, aka Norman Gunston, aka the "little aussie bleeder," may be well known out Australia way. For most Americans, however, Norman G remains far, far down under the radar. But he's the forefather of the UK's Ali G; he's Canadian Nardwuar thee Human Serviette's nerdier dad; he's America's Lazlo Toth (US) with a combover and a microphone; he's Jiminy Glick's Jack Sprat. Perhaps you saw Norman long ago in a segment on USA Network's Night Flight variety show. [bonus: many many youtubes of Night Flight segments, courtesy of this awesome website.] But I bet you didn't know he released a KIckaSS single (among others), jammed with Frank Zappa, and was at the right place and time to upstage a piece of Australian History. Not bad for someone whom Keith Moon dumped his drink on and called a "great pooftah." [more inside]
"It’s been six months since a sobbing plea on YouTube rocketed the then-19-year-old from Internet cult status to internationally-recognized icon. Yes kids, I said “icon.”" Previous pre-"leave britney alone" mefi post. [more inside]
William Shatner hawked Commodores. IBM tried the cast of M*A*S*H, but without Alan Alda, who played Atari. Bill Cosby was a Texas Instruments man. Compaq gave us some funny ones with John Cleese. Bill Bixby pushed Tandy with a straight face. Buzz Aldrin, The Pointer Sisters, Tommy LaSorta, and Tip O'Neil pitched the Amiga. I guess I should include George Plimpton's Intellivision spots. Apple's covered by everyone else. Who did I miss?
Mick Jagger joins his little brother Chris onstage in a pub. It's safe to say the 40-odd people in attendance at the The Bull's Head pub in southwest London were more than a little surprised to see the pair performing "Dead Flowers."