The history of the Internet's first viral video


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  1. Download viral video for 30 minutes.

What? Codec error message!





I definitely remember this first:


Um, actually, the progenitor of South Park, Jesus vs. Santa, was the first viral video on the Internet.

Or that dancing baby thing that ended up on Ally McBeal.


Came here for this. Am not disappointed.


this is the first one I remember but I’m pretty sure that was after 1997?
No, you’re right, it was 95-97 on the internet because 97 was when the show premiered on Comedy Central:

In 1995, after seeing the Jesus vs. Frosty film, Fox executive Brian Graden paid Stone and Parker $1,000 to make another animated short as a video Christmas card that he could send to friends.[1][2] In turn, the duo created Jesus vs. Santa.
Graden initially distributed the video to eighty friends in December 1995.[citation needed] After months’ being passed around on bootleg video and the Internet, the film caught the attention of cable network Comedy Central, which hired the pair to develop the South Park series, which premiered in the United States with “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe” on August 13, 1997

I was at my friends’ apartment, one of whom had a new-ish computer and modem. When talk turned to “Jesus vs Santa” and I hadn’t seen it, they immediately sprung into action connecting to it because they knew we were in for a wait. I think we waited longer for it to load than we did actually watching it. But obviously it was totally worth it.

dunno about the whale being first but I wouldn’t rule it out.


Exploding Whale is still the best reason for having the internet, and was my second.

This was my first:

ETA: The first streaming video I recall seeing was this Rolling Stones / Severe Tire Damage concert.


They had Internet in Soviet Union?


Hamster Dance was the first viral Internet meme I can remember…but I guess it’s not really a video so maybe doesn’t count.

(Now THAT was an earworm!! You’re welcome.)


Memory is often deceptive (of course). I remember this one as being a lot older than it apparently is.


Hamster Dance was made into a dance song with an accompanying video. They had people dance to it on TV in Canada, on a live dance/club show called Electric Circus. I am certain that there will never be nostalgia for that.


So the first viral video was staged fake news? Somehow perfectly appropriate for our culture


did we all collectively choose to forget tub girl and goatse



(goes to browse for dancing hamster)


Wow. Never seen that before.

(Backs away slowly.)


I remember goatse as a photo. Please don’t tell me it was also a video!


jesus christ i think you’re right… though I’m sure there were animated gif versions


Dude, they had cybernetics in the eighties, according to metal gear solid 5…


What Greatest Paris said…I uh, need to go to the shop.



Of course this video was staged. I wanted to believe.