Samuel L. Jackson’s latest appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon where he turned Boy Meets World into high art beat poetry got me thinking about other amazingly surprising and hilarious viral videos by high profile actors. The internet is filled with short lived sensations and 15 minute famers, so it is often times surprising to see quality Hollywood actors taking part in these smaller bits of comedy. But when they do, it often times results in a magical piece of work that goes beyond the fleeting internet attention span of the viral video. These are six viral videos featuring serious actors that have endured past their viral fame and are well worth a look.
Epic Viral Videos from Serious Actors
6. Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is known for freaking out. In fact, a recent viral video claims to be the Gary Oldman Freakout Supercut, which is another thing all together. In this video, however, Oldman takes exception to athletes trying their hand at acting and claiming to be actors. Oldman’s freak out serves as an example of how actors can act, how they dedicate their life to the craft of acting just like athletes dedicate their lives to the skill of sport. At the end of the video, Oldman takes a shot with a basketball on the court and misses terribly, another example of why actors and athletes should stay in their own fields.
5. Samuel L. Jackson
Jackson is the subject of quite a few interesting videos and fabulous performances, often in some way associated with his reputation as a yeller, swearer, and overall cool dude. This isn’t really a video, but it is one of the best, funniest, and most adorable creations featuring Samuel L. Jackson. This is a recording of Jackson narrating the audio version of the bedtime story “Go the F to Sleep” and it is exactly what you might imagine Jackson would be like as a father. It conveys all the love and exasperation associated with parenthood and is really one of the most delightful things on the internet.
4. Patrick Stewart
This one may not have caught on like the others, but I remember it fondly as one of the more entertaining Olympic inspired videos. Acclaimed thespian and Shakepearean Sir Patrick Stewart puts on his best Dickensian streetwear and “touts” Olympic game tickets to the highest bidder. Its amazing to see how spry the 74 year old actor is and blazingly funny. The video is a little like a Guy Ritchie version of Victorian street peddling. Throw in an appearance by Simon Pegg, who bumbles his way into competing in the games, and this video is maybe one of the most overlooked of the recent Olympic games.
3. Christoph Waltz
Not long after Christoph Waltz became an American sensation with his role as Hans Lander in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and subsequently won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s Oscar Night Show in a segment called “Der Humpink”. Not only does it parody serious actors who talk about their most pivotal role like its a religion, but also the quirks of European television and specifically the “trololo” guy. Not that anyone thought that Waltz was above a bit of comedy, seeing as how his is perhaps one of the most funny performances in Inglorious Basterds, but it was probably an important PR move for a newly awarded Oscar winner to lighten his reputation with a bit of silliness. And Der Humpink is pretty silly indeed.
2. Michael Shannon
Remember the news story about that sorority girl who sent a nasty email to her sorority sisters? It was the epitome of everything that is wrong with sororities, but hilariously over-the-top and ridiculous. It became a viral news story, and someone in the comments section suggested that Michael Shannon do a dramatic reading of the email – so that is exactly what Michael Shannon did. And that commenter was right; Michael Shannon is exactly that man for a job like this. He delivers an abridged version of the letter in all the intense and crazed splendor of all the best Shannon characters. I imagine that this is what that sorority president sounded like in her own head as she wrote the email to her sisters – but she will never instill the kind of intimidation in her sisters as Michael Shannon does on the general public.
1. Matt Damon
At this point in the game its not just one viral video anymore. It is one of the longest running, most elaborate show business jokes in Hollywood or on the internet and it is ridiculous. The joke is that Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon hate each other, that Matt Damon is a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel show every night but gets bumped because of time constraints. Then this video happened, where Kimmel’s girlfriend Sarah Silverman played him a music video featuring Matt Damon where she confesses to f-ing Matt Damon. As payback, Jimmy produced an over-the-top music video featuring Ben Affleck where he confesses to f-ing Ben Affleck. Then Matt Damon kidnapped Kimmel and took over his show for a night. Then Kimmel had the entire cast of The Monuments Men on the show and made Damon sit in a kiddie chair away from everyone else and never asked him any questions. The details and intricacies of the joke weave through and go beyond just these examples, but the point is that its a pretty epic viral running joke. There’s really nothing else like it out there.