In honor of the ten-year anniversary of the first video uploaded to YouTube (that would be "Me At the Zoo"), we've tracked down ten of our favorite YouTube 1.0 stars to find out how their insta-fame affected their lives and what they're up to today.


Star Wars Kid (2002)

Real name: Ghyslain Raza
Occupation: Law Student

With over a billion views across the Internet since the video of 15-year-old Ghyslain Raza went public in 2002, "Star Wars Kid" is one of the best-known and most parodied memes. It shows Raza pretending to use a golf ball-retriever as a light saber in his Québec high school's studio. He accidentally left the tape at school, where it was discovered by three classmates and uploaded to a file-sharing service without Raza's knowledge. An unknown source uploaded the video to YouTube a few years later, the perfect breeding ground for thousands of parodies.

Unfortunately, Raza was bullied both online and at school to the point where he finished his education in a psychiatric ward. He spoke publicly in 2013 about his experience, and went on to get a law degree at McGill University.


Numa Numa (2005)

Real name: Gary Brolsma
Occupation: Musician, web designer

One of the first viral videos to hit YouTube, the Numa Numa guy's funny lip synch of a seemingly gibberish song went crazy both online and off. The video was made in December 2004, when New Jersey videographer and recent high school grad Gary Brolsma lip dubbed a video of the 2004 Moldovan song "Dragostea din tei" by O-Zone. Two months later, it exploded on flash site Jeff is Cool. It was eventually was ripped from the site on to YouTube, and there have been millions of parodies and mashups ever since.

Brolsma embraced his new stardom, and created a video channel called NewNuma dedicated to remakes of his famous rendition. Currently, he does web design and continues making videos. Last year, he released a 10-year-reunion video of the Numa Numa song.


Leeroy Jenkins (2006)

Real name: Ben Schulz
Occupation: Electrical Engineer

Back when World of Warcraft was at the height of its popularity in the mid-2000's, a guild called PalsForLife posted a video to WoW's official forum that showed a character charging into battle screaming "Leeroy Jenkins!" and getting his team killed. Hardcore WoW fans were not amused, but when it was shared on YouTube by forum users, a different crowd went nuts over it. For a few years, it was a catchphrase over the Internet and the real world used for jumping into something stupid head-first. People have argued that it's staged, but it still hasn't been confirmed after all these years.

The Colorado college student behind the video, Ben Schulz, has done well at keeping under the radar. He made a few appearances at Blizzcon and ROFLCon, but stopped shining in the public light in order to pursue his college education. He's now an electrical engineer, and still plays games (although he no longer plays WoW).


Kelly aka "Shoes" (2006)

Real name: Liam Sullivan
Occupation: Actor

Who better to play a stereotypical teenage girl than a man in his mid-thirties? The neurotic, shoe-loving "Kelly" was brought to life by Massachusetts actor Liam Sullivan almost ten years ago. Even though Sullivan had incorporated her into his stand-up acts a year prior to her YouTube fame, Kelly's first and most notorious appearance was called "Shoes," a music video about shopping for shoes with her friends. The video was featured on Entertainment Weekly twice and Kelly made several appearances on various reality shows. Sullivan also created many more Kelly videos, such as "You Can't Text Message Break Up" and "Let Me Borrow That Top."

For a while, Sullivan continued making videos on YouTube and his website, liamshow.com. However, his accounts haven't been active since 2013.


Evolution of Dance (2006)

Real name: Judson Laipply
Occupation: Motivational Speaker

It was the dance to end all dances. Ohio motivational speaker Judson Laipply put together the routine in 2001 as the closer for his speeches at school and corporate events. The "Evolution of Dance," which covered everything from Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" to Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," was uploaded to YouTube in 2006 so Laipply could add it to his Myspace page. In under two weeks, it reached over 10 million views and found its way to national news networks. "It was amazing," Laipply says. "I'll never have an experience like that again in my life... and you can never get the same type of marketing push that you get from a true grassroots viral video."

Although he had many offers to work with sitcoms and star in reality shows, he declined them all, satisfied with the career path he had already chosen. In 2009, Laipply did a sequel video including other dances like the "Soulja Boy." He continues to inspire students and corporations through motivational speeches and the famous dance. "It goes with one of my lines I like to say during my speeches, 'Life isn't always the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance.' The [Evolution of] dance becomes the piece to help drive home the idea that life is change. It's fun and leaves people talking," Laipply says.


"Chocolate Rain" (2007)

Real Name: Tay Zonday
Occupation: Voice Actor/Musician

Who could forget the bizarre musical composition that confused a nation? Tay Zonday (aka Adam Bahner), a graduate student from Minneapolis, Minnesota, uploaded the song with an unusually upbeat melody, vague lyrics, and a unique side breathing technique (Zonday explains in the annotation on his video that he did this to avoid breathing into the microphone). No one could agree upon the meaning, and even Zonday hasn't given a full explanation. Some sources say the song speaks out against institutional racism, while Zonday only tells us: "I sing about what I can't say. That's the entire point." As a result of the fame, Zonday dropped out of his Ph.D. program to pursue acting for seven years. He currently does voice work and continues working on independent music.


"What What (In The Butt)" (2007)

Real Name: Samwell/Sam Norman
Occupation: Restaurant worker, Musician and Writer

In 2007, we all asked ourselves the life-changing philosophical question of the decade: "What what, in the butt?" Sam Norman, later known by his stage name Samwell, was a flight attendant from Chicago making up a silly song with a good beat 30,000 miles in the sky. With the help of friends who owned a production company in Milwaukee, the over-the-top, special effects-happy music video was released on Valentine's Day. "Nothing says 'I love you' like 'in the butt,'" Samwell explains.

Samwell couldn't believe that he filmed a glossy music video about his song -- let alone that it went on to get so many views and so much hype. He went on to make multiple appearances on South Park, Tosh.0, Lily Allen and Friends, and more. "Once it came out, I thought to myself, 'Oh my god, what have I done? I don't know if it was a good idea to put that out, what would people think?' Samwell recalls. "I wanted to be a 'serious artist.' But ultimately, I think it was the best thing because here we are eight years later and people are still talking about it."

Currently, Samwell serves at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. while continuing to pursue other endeavors, like creating new songs and writing a new sitcom called Simply Samwell, a series about a talk show host adjusting to a new city and new life.


"Charlie Bit Me" (2007)

Real Name(s): Harry and Charlie
Occupation: N/A

Cute videos of kids just being kids always rank high on "Most Viewed" YouTube lists (behind cat videos, maybe). It's no wonder that a clip of 3-year-old British child Harry in dismay over his 1-year-old brother, Charlie, biting his finger made the world laugh. The video was brought to light by CollegeHumor a month after it was uploaded, and has been parodied by countless YouTubers, the Hemsworth brothers on Jimmy Kimmel, and others. Harry and Charlie are now 11 and 9, respectively and the family continues to blog their adventures on both their YouTube page and their website.


David After Dentist (2009)

Real Name: David Devore Jr.
Occupation: N/A

David Devore Jr. had just gotten out of surgery to fix an extraneous tooth caused by hyperdontia when he was still out of sorts from the anesthetics, and his father (David Sr.) taped his reaction. After sharing with his family, he decided to upload it to YouTube a year later, where all sorts of news sites from the Wall Street Journal to BuzzFeed picked up the adorable tangent. "It was quite a week," David Devore Sr. recalls. "It was a very quick, unexpected surprise."

Devore is thankful for the advertising revenue he's made from the video. The nation was in the middle of the notorious real estate crash, which happened to be the industry Devore worked in. The money made from the video allowed the Florida family to keep up their lifestyle and allow Devore to change his career path. He currently works in social media consulting, and he's working on a serious video called "Is This Real Life?" where he interviews people in the same backseat as David Jr. sat in six years ago about their own lives. David Jr. is now a 14-year-old eighth grader who's a great student and loves to play football and video games, although he doesn't share as much of a passion for video as his father.


Keyboard Cat (2009)

Real name: Fatso
Occupation: N/A

The original video was taken in 1984, but this musically-inclined feline wouldn't become a household name for another 25 years. Charlie Schmidt from Spokane, Washington thought it would be funny to put his son's shirt on his mild-tempered cat, Fatso, and put his hands under the shirt to make her play a riff on the electric keyboard. Schmidt uploaded it in 2007 along with various home videos to keep the footage safe from physical damage. It gained even more popularity when blogger Brad O'Farrell used the clip to accompany a video of a man falling down an escalator two years later. No sooner did Schmidt give O'Farrell the video rights did his inbox become swamped.

"That day, my email had 50 pages of new messages that came while I was at the store," said Schmidt. "It was all positive responses to the cat. And then it just took off." From there, the video snowballed. Celebrities tweeted about it and he did multiple interviews with news outlets.

Fatso died in 1987, but has been succeeded by Bento, a distant relative of the cat. Schmidt still makes new videos featuring Bento, who has recently met Grumpy Cat, completed a commercial for Delta Airlines, and played the halftime show at Puppy Bowl X. "I am living the dream," Schmidt says. "[I'm] the definition of what rich is: Rich doesn't mean that you have so much money you can get screwed up and ruin your life. It means what you love to do brings enough income that you don't have to do anything else."


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