In Italy, every single February, we have this super huge festival in a city called Sanremo and it’s basically five days of pure trash, italian music, awkward interviews and some more trash.
It’s really important over here, television literally stops when it airs, newspapers don’t talk about anything else and people goes at the Festival dressed like you would go at the Oscars or something.
The winner is the one who gets to go to the Eurovision.
This year, Francesco Gabbani went there with a person dressed as a monkey dancing behind him while he sings for the first night. The second night, the dancer dressed as him and he dressed as the monkey.
And so, he danced. He danced like no one was watching. Since it was a CW affiliate in Omaha, it’s very likely that no one was watching. There was no glory in it. He uploaded the video to the show’s YouTube channel, and that was that. Just another day on the job. And then it became a viral hit for reasons every one of his sweet, sexually enticing dance moves makes abundantly clear.
That was 2006. YouTube was only about a year old. The concept of a viral video star was in its infancy. Matt Geiler had no idea people would love his silly dance. He had no idea that people would mash up his dance with an array of songs and other memes.
So what’s the dark twist of his post-viral fame? That’s what’s great about Geiler’s story: It doesn’t have one. No downward spiral into dancing with the pumpkin mask for food or the sexual pleasure of Russian oligarchs. There isn’t much to say about his life today, save for one heartwarming detail. At 12 years old, his son performed his dad’s dance at a middle school talent show. That same son regularly seeks out cheap imitations of his dad’s dance that people have posted online and corrects commenters who think it’s the original video. He isn’t embarrassed or ashamed of his father. He’s proud to say that his dad was the guy in the pumpkin mask dancing like an idiot just to kill some airtime. What a great kid.