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The Honey Badger is a viral video featuring nature documentary footage with voiceover narration provided by Randall, a self-proclaimed animal lover who has since launched a successful YouTube series of similar videos. The Honey Badger video gained a great deal of popularity in early 2011 for its sassy commentary and irreverent personification of the mammals.
The video, titled “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger (original narration by Randall)”, was uploaded by YouTuber czg123 on January 18th, 2011. The video features original footage taken from a National Geographic special on the ornery and tough honey badgers, which aired in 2007.
Between its online debut on January 18th, 2011 and December 2011, Randall’s Honey Badger video racked up more than 26 million views and spawned a cult following on YouTube. By the end of the year, his channel had over 40,992,000 upload views, averaging out to 20,074 views a day. Randall’s highly memorable quotes such as “honey badger don’t give a shit” or “honey badger don’t care,” coupled with his passionate interpretation of the animal’s adventures made the video an instant hit.
Towards the end of January 2011, the honey badger video was covered by Internet humor blogs like Urlesque, Huffington Post, Funny Or Die, and BuzzFeed as well as mainstream entertainment news sites like PopCrunch and TMZ.
Randall’s honey badger narration also inspired a variety of image macros, remixes and tribute videos centered around catchphrases from the video. Meanwhile, sites and stores like Hot Topic sought to capitalize on the viral status of honey badgers by launching several t-shirts and other merchandise with pictures of honey badgers and Randall quotes.
On April 19th, a brief reference to a honey badger appeared on the popular TV series “Glee,” most likely alluding to Randall’s video:
Wild Wild World of Animals
Inspired by the viral spread and positive reception of his honey badger video, Randall created a YouTube series titled “Randall’s Wild Wild World of Animals” using similar documentary footage of wild animals. Episodes included “The Miracle of the Daffy Jesus Lizard,” “The Great White Sea-Monster” and “The Slowass Sloth” among others.
On February 22nd, 2011, Randall created a video in collaboration with MovieFone in which he provided commentaries in a round-up review on 2011 Oscar nominees using the same style of voiceover from the honey badger commentary:
In March 2011, Huffington Post published an exclusive video titled “The Pigs of Wall Street” featuring Randall’s commentaries on the greed of the U.S. financial industry.
In mid-March, Australian rugby player Nick Cummins stated to the press that his new, more agressive tackling style was inspired by the honey badger “after watching a wildlife documentary.”Although he never specifically mentions the Randall video, the timing of his announcement suggests that it may have been the “documentary” to which he was referring.
On May 31st, Randall released a commercial for Grasshopper in which he provides a voiceover in similar style of other videos. In June 2011, Microsoft’s search engine Bing released an update to the tools they make available to webmasters and SEO experts. They called the update “Honey Badger.”
On July 24th, the Discovery Channel released a promo titled “MythBusters: Randall’s Busters” which previewed scenes from the upcoming season of Mythbusters narrated by Randall in his stereotypical style.
On August 17th, 2011, Bankrupting America, a campaign started by the nonpartisan, nonprofit project Public Notice, launched a PSA video titled “Crazy Washington Honey Badgers” on YouTube, featuring Randall’s voice explaining the debt crisis and the recent showdown in Congress:
On September 30th, 2011, a TV commercial for the snack company Wonderful Pistachios starring a honey badger with familiar voiceover by Randall debuted on YouTube and aired during the broadcast of ABC series Dancing With The Stars. The clip features the “fearless animal” cracking open pistachios with a narration by Randall. Since its launch in 2010, the ad campaign for Wonderful Pistachios has featured a number of Internet sensations and pop culture icons such as Keyboard Cat, Angry Birds and the Annoying Orange orange.
Upon the release of the video on YouTube, several news publications like Forbes, MSNBC, and Entertainment Weekly wrote articles about the commercialization of the honey badger.
On January 6th, 2012, CSN Bay Area reported that the San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had been using the honey badger video as a motivational tool.
On January 10th, The Washington Post published an article in which the honey badger narrator Randall compared LSU’s cornerback Tyrann D. Mathieu, nicknamed “Honey Badger”, to the animal itself:
“He just plays with such heart and vigor,” Randall said. “It’s just very exciting. To me, that embodies the honey badger. He just takes whatever he wants and nothing is going to stop him.”
On January 17th, 2012, the entertainment blog Hollywood Reporter published an article about Canadian production company Six Eleven Media’s plans to develop a Honey Badger animated series.
The project, which soon will be pitched to broadcast and cable networks, will follow an animated Randall, who is the chief professor of life sciences at a dysfunctional university. His course will feature his trademark color-commentary on documentary footage of topics related to science and the animal kingdom while forming an unusual bond with his student, fellow professors and the University mascot, “Honey,” a “nastya–” honey badger.
The story was subsequently posted to The Daily What which pointed out that a Honey Badger book and several iPhone apps were already available.
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