Where Are They Now: 6 'Stars' Of Embarrassing Viral Videos

Where Are They Now: 6 'Stars' Of Embarrassing Viral Videos

Being famous is awesome. That's what we heard, anyway.

But fame isn't so great for people who didn't ask for it, particularly the ones who got caught on video acting like a dumbass and turned into YouTube superstars overnight. We at Cracked have often wondered what becomes of those people who had their 15 minutes, whether they wanted it or not.

Aleksey Vayner, Impossible is Nothing

If you haven't seen the video ...

Everyone brags a bit on their resume, but no one did it as dramatically or badly as Aleksey Vayner when he submitted this video to banking giant UBS along with an 11-page cover letter and resume. In the video, Vayner shows that he's a dancer, a weightlifter, a karate expert and the least concise yet only correct answer to the question: what is a douchebag?

Online Videos by Veoh.com

The Rest of the Story:
First, let's answer the question everyone asks after watching this video: no, he didn't get the job. In fact, it was probably someone at UBS that took the first step in turning him into a national laughingstock. That can safely be considered the opposite of getting the job.

After this video went viral, Vayner did what any "model of personal development and inspiration" would do: he moved back in with his mother and complained to the press about how he'd been victimized. Vayner said he underwent an "extremely stressful time" after the video was released and took a leave of absence from Yale, prompting Yale to cough douchebag under its breath and deny he ever went there. Vayner then sent a cease and desist letter to the blog that posted the video (IvyGate) to get them to take it down. They didn't. He also said he was exploring legal action against UBS for being the first to decide his video was simply too ridiculous not to share with the world.

So what has the whole adventure taught Alexsey? Well, when he eventually graduated from Yale he did stop sending the douchey video along with his resume when job hunting. What he has added to the resume, though, is the claim to have authored a book called Millionaires' Blueprint to Success. What kind of a man would write such a book before becoming a successful millionaire himself? The same kind who would steal the cover from another book already on the market:

Copies of Vayner's book don't seem to be for sale anywhere, but he did post excerpts on his site, which include the boast that his viral clip "received international publicity" and practically invented the concept of the resume video.

Andrew Meyer, "Don't Tase Me, Bro" Guy

If you haven't seen the video ...
When Andrew Meyer stepped up to the microphone during a forum with former presidential candidate John Kerry, he had resolved to speak truth to power and challenge authority. Authority responded by pinning him down and filling him with thousands of volts of electricity. The video of this incident gained notoriety due to Meyer's pathetic plea to the police, asking them to allow this bro to go untased.

His cry went unheeded, hilarity ensued, and your moronic co-worker who thinks he's so damn funny had yet another annoying catchphrase to recite during meetings.

The Rest of the Story:
Meyer was thrown in jail for the night, on charges of resisting an officer and disturbing the peace. Students protested outside the jail, chanting "Don't tase me, bro!" even though Meyer had already demonstrated they were not the magic words to prevent a tasing. A movement was started online to ban Tasers by campus police, and John Kerry himself said there was no need for the cops to intervene (though we like to think this just means Kerry was armed with his own Taser).

By then the incident was national news. Meyer had public opinion on his side and the moral authority of a martyr. With this ammunition in hand, he courageously tucked his tail between his legs and issued a public apology to the university and the police for behaving inappropriately.

Prosecutors agreed to drop all charges if Meyer would complete a voluntary 18-month probation, though we tend to think that badly violates the definition of the term "voluntary." Meanwhile the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the incident and declared that the cops' actions were justified.

Today, University of Florida police are still allowed to carry and use tasers on campus, the protesters have forgotten about it, and Meyer is back on campus where he presumably spends his days living with the knowledge that the pain he suffered brought about a change, albeit a temporary one ... in the world of 2007 novelty T-Shirt slogans.

Michael Scott, The Lizard King

If you haven't seen the video ...
During a morning newscast in 2002, Michael Scott was surrounded by some of the creepiest reptiles Texas has to offer, and it was a tiny lizard that transformed him from a polished newsman into a stuttering, inarticulate, flailing mess.

The Rest of the Story:

Scott's run-in with the attacking gecko led to national publicity (Jay Leno showed it on The Tonight Show). A few years later, Scott left KAXS (the Dallas TV station where he was the anchor) and eventually wound up at WAAY in Huntsville, Alabama, presumably because there are fewer lizards there. At that point, things again took a turn for the strange.

According to The Huntsville Times, Scott was let go earlier this year after a "dispute with a producer." The Huntsville Times has a serious gift for understatement, because in this case "dispute with a producer" means "committing an act of career self-immolation so complete that he's unlikely to ever get hired in his field again."

According to BET, the "dispute" was that during a commercial break, Scott referred to a co-worker as a Negro. When that co-worker asked him not to use that word, Scott, in an act of mind-blowing asshattery, decided to use the, um, other N-word and was fired shortly thereafter.

Although he's since denied using that word, at this point, we don't think even a humorous response to a dozen lizards jumping on him would resuscitate his career. Though we'd like to see him try it.

Melissa Sander, Grape-Stomper

If you haven't seen the video ...
Melissa Sander was a reporter for an Atlanta TV station in the late '90s, doing a fluff report from a local winery. She participated in an impromptu grape-stomping contest when disaster hilariously struck.

The Rest of the Story:
Memo to parents: If you really want to show your kids that cheaters never prosper, you might want to consider using this video as a visual aid. After being told that time was up, Sander kept stomping and was quickly bitch-slapped by the hand of fate, tumbling over the side.

Her walrus-like screams, while obviously amusing to her co-workers in the studio, seemed to indicate a serious injury. Everywhere this video appears, there's somebody in the comment section claiming Sander broke several ribs and almost died, presumably because they think it's funnier that way. But people at the winery where she fell said she was fine and oh-by-the-way it was basically her fault because they chose to film facing the side without railings.

According to bloggers who've tried to track her down, shortly after the incident Sander left Atlanta for Albany, which we're sure had nothing to do with the fact that the in-studio reporters were barely holding back giggles at her pained yodeling. Her bio page at Albany ...

... makes no mention of a near-death experience due to a pierced lung, which further supports the fact that she probably just had the wind knocked out of her on the fall. In fact, while the bio mentions her time at WAGA-TV, it makes no mention that she's the grape-stomping lady, which is like a biography of Kobe Bryant forgetting to mention he plays basketball.

She also inspired this lovely painting by Jeremiah Palecek

Sander is no longer at that job, and has pretty much dropped off the grid. If her post-stomping career trajectory remained on the path it was following when she went from "live feature reporter for Good Day Atlanta" to "weekend meteorologist" in Albany, she's probably in a small market busily not being allowed on television. We're not sure why she'd be so secretive, all we want to do is follow her around town shouting "Grape Lady!" and imitating that horrible sound.

Lee Paige, Glock .40 Expert

If you haven't seen the video ...
If Melissa Sander proved that cheaters never prosper, Lee Paige put "pride goes before the fall" to the test. Paige's almost instantaneous debunking of his claim of being "the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry this Glock .40," made him a national laughingstock by all who appreciate sweet, tasty irony.

The Rest of the Story:

Paige's injury was not life-threatening, but that's only because another bullet in his pocket stopped the fired round from hitting his femoral artery. So it was probably a millimeter away from making that bullet discharge, at which point we like to think it would have gone flying out of his pants, ricocheting around the room until it came back to hit him in his ass.

We've seen it happen before

The DEA immediately suspended Paige's pay for five days, and according to Paige and his lawyer, took possession of the videotape. A short time later, the clip found its way onto the internet and became a viral video hit, which would seem to imply that once again some nameless person risked their job for a chance to entertain the internet.

Paige filed suit against the DEA, claiming they "improperly, illegally, willfully and/or intentionally" allowed the footage to become public, pointing out that he really can't do undercover work any more since most of the computer-owning world knows his face. Though it seems like having the reputation as being bulletproof can't hurt (he continued giving his lecture after taking the shot).

In the lawsuit, Paige was also claiming the video harmed his reputation as "one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA." No, we're not making that up. The man who took a bullet the last time he made such a boast was right back to his braggart ways. Does fate need to shoot you a second time, Mr. Paige?

Mark A. Hicks, Afro Ninja

If you haven't seen the video ...
Imagine the scene: You're tired and jet-lagged after flying halfway across the world. You get a phone call--the studio wants you to come in for a second audition. You agree, because you need the work and, after all, what can go wrong?

Oh yes, that. You attempt a complicated stunt and flub it badly, careening across the room like a drunken imbecile. Such was the case of Mark A. Hicks, who is better known by his internet-appointed nickname: Afro Ninja.

The Rest of the Story:
Although the video makes him look like a moronic poseur, Hicks is actually an award-winning stuntman who has worked on the Rush Hour films, Terminator 3 and the classic Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. Still, only a handful of the 40 films he's worked on can boast the audience of the Afro Ninja clip (with over 80 million views).

All sorts of back stories have been invented for the clip, but it was actually an audition for this Nike commercial.

And get this: Hicks got the job.

Still, the Afro Ninja clip hurt his career (he believes it's the reason he didn't get the call to work on Rush Hour 3) since those who have seen the video are reluctant to hire a guy best known for perfectly executing a face plant. Unless that happens to be what they need, and as far as we're concerned you don't really see enough of those in movies these days.

Hicks started to turn things around by embracing his internet alter ego, he got hired by Hewlett Packard to do a spoof of the video (he had to recreate the face plant in a studio) and recently appeared in a Weezer video doing the same stunt.

Still, his IMDB page says he has plenty of stunt work lined up, so it's not like he's completely shed of his dignity. Wait, did we mention he's producing an Afro Ninja movie?

Are you watching this, Grape Stomping Lady? This could have been you.

For surprising updates on people who at least meant to get famous, check out The 7 Strangest Post-Sitcom Careers or check out the latest from Those Aren't Muskets, in which they wonder Is it Time For Batman to Tone it Down?.
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