These days, a song’s journey isn’t over the day it hits the top of the charts. No, in our Internet-addicted times, a piece of pop culture hasn’t truly made its mark until it’s been the subject of a thousand parody videos, ordinary people riding its coattails for a brief shot at viral fame. The spoofs can range from sharp and scathing to delightfully affectionate, but they all help make the Web a richer, more democratic place. To celebrate this outpouring of creativity, the people at YouTube have compiled a list of the top 10 parody videos of 2013. Watch them all below!
10. “Barack Obama Singing Get Lucky by Daft Punk (ft. Pharrell),” baracksdubs
Barack Obama is not nearly as smooth as Pharrell – nobody is – but that didn’t stop one intrepid YouTube editor from mashing up the Commander-in-Chief’s words to the tune of Daft Punk’s summer hit. The result is presidential leadership you can (almost) dance to.
9. “Macklemore THRIFT SHOP – Rolanda & Richard (Parody),” hoiitsroi
Rolanda is a unibrow’d chola with a crush. Richard is her awkward stalker. Together they act out a hilarious soap opera through parody versions of popular songs. This “Thrift Shop” spoof relies on a little foreknowledge of Rolanda & Richard lore, but even newcomers to the series can appreciate actor Roi Fabio’s manic charm.
8. “Psy – Gentleman Spiderman (SA Wardega),” wardegasa
Psy’s “Gentleman” didn’t inspire the massive culture-wide freakout that “Gangnam Style” did, but that makes the few “Gentleman” parodies that did come out that much more enjoyable, particularly this clip from Polish filmmaker SA Wardega, who reproduced the song’s music video shot-for-shot with Spiderman in the lead role. Why? It’s the Internet, don’t ask questions.
7. “Pot Shop – Macklemore Thrift Shop PARODY,” steveberkecomedy
Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” was basically a parody video itself, so any spoof taking it on had a high bar to climb. This medical-marijuana-themed version seems at first like it’s going to be another collection of High Times cliches, until it morphs into something unexpected: an actual political argument, delivered with perfect flow.
6. “Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop PARODY,” ShaneDawsonTV
Were you, like much of America, annoyed with the antics of Ms. Miley Cyrus in 2013? If so, you might appreciate this brutal takedown by filmmaker Shane Dawson, which takes the former Hannah Montana to task for everything from her drug use to the way she treats her backup dancers. And even if you’re a fan, you can appreciate the way Dawson nailed the look and feel of Cyrus’s official “We Can’t Stop” video – right down to the pasties.
5. “Evolution Of Mom Dancing (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Michelle Obama),” Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Not all parody videos have the clout to get a cameo from a sitting first lady, but that’s the kind of ambition you can afford when you’re a late-night talk-show host. Choosing to avoid the of-the-minute parodies on the rest of this list, Jimmy Fallon and Michelle Obama instead paid homage to one of the Web’s first viral smashes: 2006’s “Evolution of Dance.” The result was a warm-hearted celebration of the women who gave us life, flailing elbows and all.
4. “Mine It Out – A Minecraft parody of Scream and Shout,” AdamzoneTopMarks
Will.i.am is basically a robot already, so we don’t think he’d mind his January hit being remixed into an anthem for players of Minecraft, the XBox game beloved by nerds the world over. Heck, Will.i.am’s a STEM guy – he’s probably played a few rounds of Minecraft himself.
3. “Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop PARODY!! Key of Awesome #74,” barelypolitical
Everyone on the Internet got in on mocking Miley Cyrus this year, but of all the “We Can’t Stop” parodies, only Barely Political added a plot line in which Billy Ray Cyrus wrestles with a skull made out of french fries. Add in sharp lines like “Trying to look sexy but it’s just sad / Is this an American Apparel ad?” and Miley got skewered to the tune of 22 million views.
2. “Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble PARODY,” BartBaKer
Taylor Swift‘s multiple ex-boyfriends, and her habit of writing songs about them, are well-worn topics of parody, but Bart Baker went full fanfic with his “I Knew You Were Trouble” spoof, imagining an alternate universe where Swift’s ex-boyfriends join together in a support group, and use crosses to ward her away. Is Swift the devil? Probably not, but we laughed anyway.
1. “Miley Cyrus-Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version),” SteveKardynal
What does it take to make the most popular parody video of the year? All Steve Kardynal needed was a tank top, a pair of tighty-whities, an exercise ball and a sledgehammer for his perfect recreation of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” video to delight the dozens of strangers watching him on ChatRoulette – but what caused the video to go truly viral was Kardynal’s naked joy (and, uh, other parts). He swung on that ball with love.
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