I’ve been witnessing how YouTube is taking regionally popular comedians like UK’s Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Borat) and Canada’s Russell Peters and quickly turning them in to international sensations. Borat is is this year’s surprise movie phenomenon. A character well known in the UK, but relatively obscure to North Americans (and the reason why so many in the movie were duped), seems to be all people are now talking about. I was at a coffee shop the other day and I swear at least four tables in addition to us, were talking about or impersonating Borat. In our office, it’s the same thing. And yet I had never heard of Borat up until 6 months ago when a friend of mine pointed me to YouTube to watch one of his outrageous skits. I was hooked. Living in Canada, I am a huge Russell Peters fan and have been fortunate enough to see him live. He has enjoyed an enthusiastic but relatively small fan base for a while now, but again, I have noticed he has begun to catch on. Why? YouTube of course. He was asked point blank what was behind his recent surge in popularity and he answered, “The Internet”. His video clips have been shared virally millions of times – free exposure around the world that’s translating in him getting his own prime-time sitcom in the US. Can’t wait! It will be interesting to see who YouTube’s next breakout star will be. Sacha Baron Cohen has already been offered to $42 million to do another movie based on his gay Austrian fashionista character “Bruno” – do a search on YouTube.
November 15, 2006 · 7:02 PM