The “Chewbacca Mask Lady” Phenomenon

chewbaccamask

(facebook.com)

Why are certain viral videos appealing to some people and not others? I personally didn’t laugh very hard at the recent “Chewbacca Mask Lady” video, which currently has over 150 million views on Facebook alone. When I viewed the video, I did not find it especially outstanding, since it does not reflect its creator’s creativity or dedication; and though Candace Payne, the woman in the video, is very enthusiastic about her new present, I didn’t find her enthusiasm infectious; it made me uncomfortable. To me, the “Chewbacca Mask Lady” phenomenon is a puzzle, though it is also one of the most popular puzzling videos that I have ever seen.

The video was originally posted by Payne on May 19th, with the caption “It’s the simple joys in life…” It records Payne trying on a Star Wars Chewbacca Mask that she purchased from a Kohl’s store that day while laughing continually.

Payne didn’t intend to become an international celebrity overnight—As Buzzfeed reports, she said that “In my wildest dreams I thought, ‘Wow, this may reach 1,000 people,’” when her friends promised to share the video. Still, she did—the day after the short video was posted, it had twenty million views. The fame seemingly kept accelerating, for the day after that, the video passed the one-hundred million view milestone. Payne was a very happy and surprised woman.

“It’s like somebody just pulled out a calculator when you’re [sic] kids and you’re just punching in numbers and hitting the plus sign over and over and over again and you don’t have any clue what it really means,” she exclaimed, according to Buzzfeed’s article.

Meanwhile, the mask that she bought sold out from most major outlets, and Mrs. Payne gained enough international fame to appear on numerous talk shows, such as Good Morning America and The Late Late Show with James Corden. She got to meet Chewbacca’s original actor, Peter Mayhew, and received Star Wars merchandise from various companies—for she, after all, advertised their products to one hundred and fifty million people. An incredible number of remixes and responses to the original have already been posted to YouTube.

Payne, a worship leader at her church, believes that God intended for her to share her joy. I didn’t find her laughter amusing; but I am in the distinct minority, because literally thousands of people have commented on Facebook about how she brightened their days and helped them laugh. She says that “I put my phone down. I turned everything off so I couldn’t hear a single notification go off. I got on the kitchen floor and prayed, and I said, ‘Thank you, God. Thank you, God, for giving me joy, and thank you, God, for giving me the ability to share it with other people,” according to Buzzfeed. Her “fifteen minutes of fame” have come unexpectedly, but she is trying to make the best of them.

To see the original video, go to https://www.facebook.com/candaceSpayne/videos/10209653193067040/ .

 

This article was written by Joshua Fitzgerald.

 

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