- 4.13.09 - 10:00AM
- - by
- Lindsey Weber
Where The Hell Is Matt? - #8 - The 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos
Urlesque counts down the top 100 viral videos in the history of the web.Matt Harding quit his job as a videogame designer in 2003 to travel the world. While abroad, he recorded and uploaded a short clip of himself doing a signature jig-like dance -- described by The Los Angeles Times as "arms flailing and flopping, feet moving as if walking over hot coals" -- in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The video was extensively passed through e-mail and somehow noticed by Stride Gum, who decided to sponsor Matt next trip. "Where The Hell Is Matt?" appeared on YouTube in 2006 and featured Matt doing his special dance everywhere from Angkor Wat to Siberia -- quickly racking up views as it truly became a global meme. Soon, mainstream media took notice and Matt was interviewed everywhere from Jimmy Kimmel Live, to the Today Show, and even featured as one of the 40 Greatest Internet Celebrities on VH1.
Matt went on a few more Stride-funded trips after the first: dancing with Huli Wigmen, with fish when underwater in Fiji, even encouraging fans to come dance alongside him wherever he went. Matt became a bonafide internet celebrity and even one of YouTube's founders, Jawed Karim, called 'Where The Hell Is Matt?' his all-time favorite video.
Proving that sometimes it's just a feel-good clip that can grab the world's attention -- without the shock tactics -- is why 'Where The Hell Is Matt?' tops our list of Iconic Web Videos. What does Harding say about his interweb legacy? He told CNET: "Some people will probably accuse me of spreading humanist propaganda," Harding said. "Everybody knows that we can all be small-minded and petty. But we also like to be reminded once and a while about what we can be at our best."
- Named #1 Viral Video of 2008 by TIME
- Harding joked about how the videos were a hoax
- The videos inspired lots of tributes, parodies and copycats (bottom)
- Matt's Tech Secrets
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