Not everyone can be Judson Laipply.
The Lakewood resident and motivational speaker’s “Evolution of Dance” video hit YouTube (www.you
tube.com) and became a fleeting phenomenon, lifting him to “Today” and “Good Morning America.”
But most YouTube users share their short videos with no hope of even momentary celebrity. The beauty of the site is the democracy of it all. All clips are created equal, good or bad. And once you start clicking through, you find hours of your life disappearing minutes at a time.
We recently sought out some Cleveland-born clips on YouTube. Search by title to see them for yourself (or visit www.clevelandmagazine.com). Just don’t forget to clear your schedule first.
Number of Views: 102,964
Synopsis: Hilariously bad is the only way to describe Denny “Blazin’ ” Hazen’s self-produced rap video. He sent a copy to MTV and it sat in a closet for 17 years before someone found it and uploaded it to YouTube.
Best Moment: Is it the stonewashed jeans, the mullet, the Casio keyboard, robotic rapping or Denny’s shirtless showcasing of his basketball skills? Take your pick.
If You Like This: Alternative versions of “Average Homeboy” pop up on YouTube, as do other videos Denny himself has uploaded since he became an online phenomenon. Now, if only we could tell whether he’s in on the joke.
Norton Furniture #1
Length: 30 seconds
Number of Views: 9,688
Synopsis: In a whispery, three-pack-a-day voice and flanked by creepy statues of a tiger and police officer, Marc Brown of Norton Furniture declares, if you can’t get credit in his store, “you can’t get credit anywhere.” The overall “Twilight Zone” quality of the local late-night TV spot makes it unforgettable.
Best Moment: Marc’s stiffly choreographed hand-gesturing.
If You Like This: Last Call Cleveland’s Mike Polk spends a day picnicking, flying kites and getting Marc to recite his commercial to people they meet along the way in a video titled “Marc Norton Creeping People Out.”
The Jedi Knights of Cleveland
Number of Views: 103
Synopsis: Are you in the mood for mock lightsaber fights and adults dressing up as their favorite “Star Wars” characters? Too bad it only comes in glimpses. This documentary-style video is mostly interviews with a handful of members of this local social club, which makes it feel more like an infomercial than an action-packed recruiting film.
Best Moment: A clip of someone dressed as Boba Fett riding a John Deere lawnmower.
If You Like This: Check out “Andrew Mazanac vs. Andrew Baran,” a campy 78-second backyard lightsaber battle by the same director.
Cleveland Browns Final Game in Municipal
Number of Views: 8,282
Synopsis: The video starts with an antlike army of spectators throwing a row of wooden seats onto the field and documents the scores of jilted fans who secured souvenirs and took out their frustration about the team’s move by destroying things. Industrial rock-group Ministry provides the backing track.
Best Moment: As the camera pans across a sea of saddened Browns fans, it catches the Modell regime’s parting words on the scoreboard: “Thanks for being part of something very special. Thank you very much.”
If You Like This: Looking for cheerier memories? Check out the “Jim Brown Tribute,” a compilation of footage of the famous running back, breaking dozens of tackles and racking up thousands of yards.
“Sopranos” Opening: Cleveland Ohio
Number of Views: 3,722
Synopsis: There are many spoofs of the famous driving-home-from-work opening credits to HBO’s mob drama on YouTube. But this one artfully mixes Alabama 3’s song “Woke Up This Morning” with footage of our city’s industrial grit and landmarks, even if the route depicted would have you driving in circles.
Best Moment: The full-length reflection of the Terminal Tower in an adjacent building.
If You Like This: There’s no lack of armchair directors who try this stunt in their own cities. Maybe the funniest on YouTube is “E4 Sopranos Parody Trailer” a British cable spoof that involves English landmarks, cows and one huge cigar.