I spent a day with VIRAL MEME STARS 2


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-This show is sponsored
by BetterHelp Online Therapy. Visit betterhelp.com/padilla
because sometimes existing is exhausting. My name's Anthony Padilla and last year I spent a day with the viral meme
stars behind kombucha girl, hit or miss, and chocolate rain, and today I'll be spending a day
with the viral meme stars behind David after dentist, the overly attached girlfriend,
and the bald guy to dig even deeper into rising to fame, becoming a sensation to millions
overnight. By the end of this video, we'll find out how it feels to go viral
as an eight-year-old, the most bizarre thing
a fan has ever done, and how they react when someone asks them
to reenact their meme on the spot. Do these viral me stars bask in the fame that they've received for their memes, or have the pressures of this
unexpected spotlight buried them under a mountain of uncertainty
regarding their livelihood and their entire sense of self? -Hello, David.
-Hi, Anthony.

-Laina.
-Hello. [music] -Seth Everman.
-Anthony Padilla. [music] What's the meme
that you're most well known for and how many times do you think
that was viewed? The overly attached girlfriend. The meme is actually a screenshot
from a video and the video has 20 million views
for years and years. Someone took a screenshot from it
and posted it to Reddit, and they named it
the overly attached girlfriend. I think most people that know
about overly attached girlfriend know about the photo
more than they know about the video. The first one is the Still D.R.E piano
transition. The audio has probably billions of views. -Billions of views?
-Billions. Holy shit. The other one for a more the bit younger
crowd is my Billie Eilish video where I made a cover of her song, Bad Guy. I'm the bad guy. Duh. Do you know how many times
this one was viewed? I'd say it's like a few hundred million,
but I wouldn't say it's a billion. David after Dentist, the last time
I checked, it was 148 million views. I still remember the moment
that I first saw that video, one check mark
in the history of the internet that I hold within this thing and there you are a lot of,
"Is this real life," and, [screams] Is this real life? [screams] I cannot give that image out to my head and I just want to thank you for that.

You're welcome. The funny thing is you probably
remember it better than I do. [music] -How long ago did that meme first blow up?
-June of 2012. -12 years since the video uploaded.
-The Billie Eilish one. That was probably 2019. What was the story
behind the creation of that? I had another video in the same style
where I basically take household objects and turn them into a cover of a song. When I heard that Billie Eilish song,
I was like, this is a very simple song. I can definitely take
the separate elements and use household objects
to recreate them. It was really just so my mom
could see the video. It was a first big procedure.
I was seven years old. She couldn't be there.
She just wanted be there. That was how my dad reported it.

The idea was to share it with family. I'll just make it public,
and then three days later it went crazy. Justin Bieber had this song
that just came out called Boyfriend and he was having this contest
where he asked people to make a parody of the song Boyfriend but from the girlfriend's perspective. There's that long instrumental part
in the beginning.

On my last take, I decided to make
the creepiest face I could and stare right into the camera. That is the moment that went viral. How quickly did that end up blowing up? -Straight away.
-Right away. I uploaded it on a Super Bowl Sunday. By that Tuesday, it was three million. I had no idea what three million people
looked like. It was just a number to me.
It was like, "Oh, it's a lot of people." [music] Do you remember the moment
when you realized that this meme was first going viral? When I hear from friends that I haven't talked to for 10 years
and they're like, "Is this you?
I remember you from high school." Then I know it went viral, viral.

This guy in one grade above me,
he came and he was like, "I saw you on MTV. Why were you on MTV?" I was like,
"Dude, I didn't even know what MTV was." I was like, "I have no idea." Justin Bieber addressed the meme. There was a commercial on TV
where my face was in the commercial and he made
the overly attached girlfriend face next to my face on the computers screen. -Oh my god.
-That was pretty crazy. Wait, that was in a commercial? The winner of the contest got to be
in a commercial that aired on NBC. I didn't win, but I was a runner up and they put us in the commercial too. Do you remember the moment
when you realized, "Oh, this is so much bigger
than I thought it would be?" I tried for so long to become a YouTuber, specifically ever since
I started watching Smosh. -What? [laughs]
-I finally felt like this is something I can do.

It was just amazing to see
all those notifications. I kept refreshing my feed.
That's when I was like, "I made it. This is what I'm going to do." Over the years, I slowly
started to realize the magnitude of it. I went on the Today's Show
that first time. That was like, "Oh, wow.
This isn't like your everyday experience." I even got to walk the red carpet
at Ralph Breaks the Internet. My life felt like it changed
pretty quickly. I was in school at the time to become
a teacher. I had taken a semester off to figure out
what I wanted to do and then this video happened. I feel like that was the point
where I realized like, "Okay, maybe I could do this full-time." [music] What do you think it was
about this meme that allowed it to blow up so quickly? I don't actually think it would have gone
viral had it happened today.

I think it was something
about YouTube at the time and just that people weren't sure
if it was a character or not. Memes were just most of them were a photo with text at the top text at the bottom. Now a meme is so many things. There's an innocent kid
and then he's also on drugs, those don't really go together
in the same video. As we watched you, we got to see you go throughout every single
aspect of realizing just like how happy– When I screamed, that was genuine anger. I do remember that. [laughs] Because in your head,
you're like, "This very well may be
the next 85 years of my life." You just take a kid who's still learning
how to live in this world and throw them in almost
a completely different one. It's those pure unadulterated questions. Billie Eilish was definitely blowing up
times a million at that exact time. People were searching
for that song Bad Guy and saw my video.

I did ruin Billie Eilish's comment
section for that one video. You had the first comment ever
with one million likes. And still the world's most-liked
YouTube comment. Holy– YouTube sent you a plaque to commemorate this comment
with over a million likes. It says something like, "Congratulations
for reaching one million likes on Billie Eilish's Bad Guy." Do you like that you went viral
for that meme? Yes. I would have had it go
the exact same way it did. I don't dislike it. It's cool. It's not something
that I'm embarrassed of or ashamed of. To me, it's just this funny thing
that happened. I do and I don't.
When people see me it's like, "Oh, you're the bald guy.
You're this person." That's what I hear the most
in the streets. It's like, "You're the bald guy." [laughs] If you had to change one thing
about the meme, would you change anything? I can't picture it being anything
other than what it is.

It just wouldn't be the same. I don't think I'd change anything. I worked so hard over and over
looping those stupid 40 seconds. I think that's good. Not necessarily about the meme itself. Maybe a little bit
about the hate I guess that my dad got. I would never do this to my kids.
I think it's a little exploitative. I don't want voyeurism in my family. There was a little bit of a frustration
at the beginning. The video was not at all him
taking advantage of me to make something funny. Did your dad ask you if you
wanted to have this video be put online? He asked me about everything,
even down to David After Dentist, like "What do you think about that name?" [music] You must get recognized all the time now? Yes, and it's always good experiences.

I'd say 99.9% of the time
it's great experiences. In the beginning, it was all the time. I don't think I look so much like the photo
maybe as I used to or I don't know. Maybe just [crosstalk]– Well, you're not walking around going like–
[music] -If you did that-
-[laughter] -Yes, you nailed it.
–if you ever want to get recognized, -that's all you got to do.
-That's true, yes. -That'd be a very weird thing to do.
-[laughter] When I get that desperate, yes.
[laughs] First trip we ever took to New York,
these guys in a limo, they were sticking out of the sunroof
of the limo just screamed like, "You're David After Dentist."
This is the weirdest thing. What's your most bizarre fan experience? Everyone always wants to feel
my head in public, just random people. Like, "Let me feel your head." Have you ever let anyone
touch your head in public? Only one person.
He was begging and it was at the bar. I was drunk and he was
very drunk. I'm like, "Yes." What's your reaction when someone
asks you to recreate your meme? I do it.

There, it's been done. [laughs] My reaction is to be very deadpan
and just say no. Recreate a meme right now. No. I do Cameo and people
have asked me to scream on Cameo. -Do you do it?
-Oh, yes. [screams] I feel like you are very different
than your online persona. Is that a choice to be different
in your content than the way you actually are
in your life? It's actually very simple to explain. When I filmed my very first videos
that went viral, it's like I was sitting
and playing the keyboard in my lap over and over again,
doing takes after takes, being really just sick of it,
but I wanted to get the perfect take. Every video I'm in, it's just like, -"Not this." Then I'm like, "Takes 40."
-[laughs] -Your iconic look became just you exhausted.
-It literally is.

[music] How do you think your life
has changed most since becoming a meme? There are experiences that I've had
that I would've never had otherwise. I had a staring contest
with Jessica Alba once in Singapore, and that's got to be
the weirdest fun fact about me. All the opportunities I have
in life are basically from that time, self-employed now.
It was my main goal my entire life. From birth, I was like,
"I'm going to be a rock star before I'm 18 or else I'm going to kill myself." -Holy shit.

Did you really just say that?
-Yes, and that didn't work, but I became a YouTuber.
That's like second best. Getting to do supercool things
with Anthony Padilla. -You trying to borrow me up?
-No, seriously. I used to watch you
when I was a kid with my cousin before David after Dentist
I think actually. Where do you think your life would be now
if you never went viral at all? I think I might have been happier. Really? I could definitely have had a job
and just had a very stable, steady life. My whole goal the entire time
was to be self-employed, be my own boss and work from home.

I'd be on vacation.
I'd be free at all times, but instead, I'm at work at all times. So you think that you would have been
happier with a nine-to-five job because you would be able
to clock in and clock out and not be at your work
at all times of the day? I'm sure the job itself would be boring
as every other job, but when I'm off work,
I would be off work. Do you ever have people imply
that you're just a one-hit wonder? Before we continue learning
about the world of viral meme stars. Oh yes.
They don't imply it, they just say it. They're not totally wrong. I'd like to thank Mint Mobile
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Again, that's mintmobile.com/padilla
to support this series and to cut your wireless bill down
to just $15 a month. Huge ups to Mikey, by the way, for coming up
with this brilliantly dazzling idea. It only took me
eight hours of bedazzling. Time well spent. Here she is as Mikey Myers, and I can confidently say I have never before looked at Michael Myers
and felt the feelings that I felt.

Now back to the world of viral meme stars. Do you ever have people imply
that you're just a one-hit wonder? Oh, yes.
They don't imply it, they just say it. They're not totally wrong. I started with this viral thing that I know that nothing will ever
top that experience and that's okay. I think there was a long time
when I wanted to do better than that, or I compared everything to that, but then I just reached this point
where it's like, "Well, this really cool thing
happened to me and maybe that's the coolest
and most successful thing I'll ever do and that's okay." When I first left Smosh, I was like,
"Oh, that's all I will ever be known for.

That's what I was good at." I'm now this irrelevant person
who just tries so hard to live some of that same glory
that I once rode. It got so bad because I was receiving
so many comments calling me irrelevant
that one day I was like, "You know what? Fuck it, I am blocking
the word irrelevant from my comment section.

I don't need to see that anymore." It's really hard.
Then it's hard to feel irrelevant and then feel silly for caring. I will say the thing that felt best was when a year or two ago
I went in and removed that word from my filter list
and I didn't have to worry about it. I didn't receive
any more comments like that. It was weird.
It was like, once I stopped caring about if people perceive me as a relevant, they no longer called me irrelevant. People aren't stupid. They pick up on so many subtle
things and they know. I feel like when I still
had years to go on YouTube but wasn't all in
and wasn't fully feeling it, people knew
and then they told me that they knew. After seeing so much success
with going viral, do you feel this pressure
to constantly have things that are just as viral or more viral
than the things that you've created? Always.

I just care about, oh,
what if I did my best video before and this is worse because
it's not getting more likes and views? Yes, absolutely because my first video
immediately went viral. Everything I did after that,
I compared to that. Does any part of you wish
that you would have slowly but surely attained the fame that you have rather than it being
this huge thing initially right away? Especially when I was doing
YouTube full-time, I had a lot of moments
where I was just like, "Man, I wish I did this slowly over time and felt more confident and sure of what I was doing
before everyone was watching me." Realranboo wants to know
if you like or dislike that your legacy will always
live on attached to this meme.

I'm sure at my funeral someone's
going to make a David After Dentist joke. I'm sure someone will and I love that.
I think that would be funny. "The day I met David, I was like,
'oh, is this going to be forever?'" -Something like that. I don't know.
-[laughs] We found out the answer today. That was no, not forever. Yes, that'd be a good one.
Not forever. Kitsumi wants to know if you ever
made any money on your viral meme. 0.0% of what the video could have made. People re-uploading
and also copyright claims from sounds that other people have made
and all that stuff. I go on Tiktok and someone's uploaded
my Still D.R.E sound, just ripped it from my video. I scroll through that sound
and it's got like 500,000 Tiktoks. The top ones are like
three million likes, six million likes. They're all huge ones by big Tiktokers
and celebrities and stuff. No built up resentment
or trauma attached to that? No, I'm fine.

I just hate
all the people, all the 500,000 people -who uploaded it to Tiktok and all the–
-[laughs] A couple of years ago, you announced that you were going to be quitting
YouTube officially, and a large portion of that was talking
about how a lot of what you experienced with your viral meme helped contribute
to a lot of anxiety and depression. Can you get into how your fame
affected your mental health? A year and a half or so into making
YouTube videos full-time, I started struggling a lot with depression
with a lot of negative thoughts. I put so much pressure on myself. The way that the fame
contributed to that is just, I felt like I was suffering
through this thing and I had to hide it from everyone or maybe everyone knew and
could tell and I didn't want that either. Going through all of those feelings
and experiences and then turning my camera on
and being like, "Ha-ha hello." Pretending to be happy,
that really started to affect that. I think it's pretty common for people
that do achieve any success to feel guilty if they are feeling
anxious or depressed or any other kind of debilitating
mental health issue, they feel like,
"I have no rights to fuel this feeling." Then it becomes
this shame cycle of guilting themselves.

It was like, I should be doing really well because I have these material things, I have this life I've always wanted
and other people want. Why do I feel this way? What terrible person hates their life
when their life is so good? What do you do with your life after seeing
what viral success can give you and then leaving that in the past? What do you do now? I spent a lot of time building up
to that final decision. When I did walk away, I was ready
to do it and it was very emotional. I almost had to grieve a loss. Since walking away, it's a lot of focusing on me
and my happiness and my private personal world and enjoying the things that I didn't give myself time
and energy to enjoy before. I live a pretty boring normal life now, but it's cool. I like it. [music] If there's anyone watching who
wants to become a viral meme like you did, is there any advice
that you want to give them? -Yes, don't.
-Simple.

Also, if you try to be yourself– Oh, this is already way too lame. -I can't even finish that sentence.
-[laughter] If you're being yourself just filming,
having fun in the process of making something
and it happens to go viral, that's great.
That's just what you should do. Do you have any advice for anyone
watching who has seen viral success, something that just struck them overnight and is dealing with the mental health toll
that all takes? Spend time alone with yourself,
figure out who you are, and most importantly, be happy, accepting, and okay with who you are.

Don't put everything into this thing that is only going to be here
for a moment in time. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Remember who's important in your life. It's not always the people
on the internet. You've got five seconds
to shout out or promote anything you want directly into camera. Go. If you want to follow me in Instagram,
it's @laina. -That's it.
-This is my new band Nirvana. You can find them on Spotify.
Thanks for watching. Shout out to my family,
my friends, my girlfriend, Lauren, all the support that they've given me
throughout this process of this video, as I've gotten older, and also
Anthony's videos on mental health, very important.

Thank you, man.
I really appreciate that. I wasn't expecting
a self-shoutout in this. There you have it.
I spent another day with viral meme stars and I feel like I understand how having
your legacy attached to a meme can change your entire life,
how it's easy to feel your self-worth is attached to your success, and how sometimes
there may be way more to any situation than what appears on the surface. [music] -I'm a Smosh stan.
-You're Smosh stan? I was. In 2007, I ordered a brown Boxman. It's my homeboy shirt that
I possibly still have somewhere. -I'm sure my mom has it saved.
-Oh, shit. You got the classic Boxman shirt. That's the only merch I ever bought
from any YouTuber for 10 years. I was specifically a Smosh stan like no other YouTubers at the time. Holy shit..


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