Some people who appear in those popular and ridiculous videos on streaming sites will forever be known as “that guy in the stupid video,” and one of these may be the Numa Numa Guy. As a fairly old internet phenomenon, the Numa Numa guy has appeared in what is considered to be the age of antiquity for internet memes, appearing in videos on YouTube as early as 2004. His poorly shot webcam video was a hit with many people at the time.
Otherwise known in real life as Gary Brolsma, the Numa Numa guy rose to fame as early as 2004, where his video was made popular on internet humor sites such as Newgrounds.com. His video was quickly spread across the internet, gaining even more popularity as many people started to realize the significance of humor found on the internet. Mainstream media outlets like CNN and VH1 started to pick up on the phenomenon, and the rest was history.
Origins of the Numa Numa Guy
The Numa Numa guy as we know him today came about in December of 2004, where Gary Brolsma recorded himself lip syncing the song “Dragostea Din Tei,” a pop hit from the Moldovan group O-Zone. This video was recorded with the intention of a fun joke between a few friends, but quickly gained hundreds of thousands of views since its appearance on the internet. This would mark one of the first times a randomly uploaded video on the web gained viral popularity.
The success found with the original viral video brought about a sequel, which also had much greater production values than the webcam-shot original. This follow up appeared in September of 2006 and was titled “New Numa: The Return of Gary Brolsma” which garnered over 12 million hits on YouTube. This video did not have the same cultural impact as the original, despite its popularity.
As the sequel gained more popularity, major companies and media outlets were quick to pick up on the internet phenomenon. The next exploit of the Numa Numa guy made a return to the webcam format with “Numa Three: Crazy Loop.” This video was released in November of 2007, and has garnered over 1,200,000 hits, much less than its predecessors.
However, the Numa Numa guy still managed to gain popularity with corporate entities looking to tap into the viral marketing potential present in these kinds of videos. Geico Insurance sponsored the next incarnation of the Numa Numa guy in Numa 4, released in March of 2009. This video managed to gain over 3 million views, a step up from the previous incarnation of the Numa Numa guy. This video in the series still managed to keep the webcam format made popular in the original.
This video did not just help large corporations and companies to keep up with viral advertising trends, but also helped to catapult viral videos made by regular people as well. The viral power shown potent in the Numa Numa videos gave way to a new era of internet born humor and comedy only made possible by the internet.
Popular Impact of the Numa Numa Guy
Less than a few months after his debut on the Newgrounds web forums, the video of the Numa Numa guy had already been viewed more than two million times. A statement made on the official New Numa website made by Gary Brolsma himself attributes the obscurity and silliness of the dance to “a Japanese Flash animation featuring cartoon cats.” Whether or not the original Numa Numa video was a rendition of another video, its popularity and viral influence has spawned countless tributes and copycats found on the internet as well as on popular TV shows.
One of these renditions can be found in the popular TV cartoon South Park in the episode entitled “Canada On Strike.” Other popular TV shows have also featured this video in short cameo appearances or mentions by the characters, such as in an episode of the sixth season of NCIS.
The Numa Numa guy has also gained recognition with popular media outlets such as on BBC, where analysts report that the Numa Numa guy is the second most watched viral video in all of internet history. Media coverage from talk shows such as Jay Leno and ABC’s Good Morning America have also helped to spread the popularity of Gary Brolsma and his unwittingly comedic rendition of O-Zone’s Moldovan pop hit.
The New York Times also mentions Gary Brolsma’s “unwilling and embarrassed” reaction to becoming an overnight internet celebrity, due to his cancellation of numerous media appearances. However, this did not stop him from creating the “New Numa” video shortly after his new found stardom came to be, where a contest with thousands worth in prize money was hosted on YouTube.
VH1 also lists the Numa Numa guy as the Top 1 in their Top 40 list of Internet Superstars. This list also helped to garner more attention to Gary Brolsma and his internet creation, leading to even more unwitting appearances in other forms of video media such as in Weezer’s top single at the time, entitled “Pork and Beans.” The video featured Brolsma singing along with the band while performing his well known Numa Numa dance.
The Numa Numa guy also made appearances in media outlets overseas on the Japanese media show SMAPxSMAP, featuring members of the show dancing and lip syncing to the song during a show in 2005.