Brookering a deal: The first YouTube celebrity

Know what I hate about American Idol? As a fame delivery system, it takes waaaaaay too long. Auditions? We don’t want no stinkin’ auditions! And who needs Fox and Simon Cowell when you can take it straight to the people via YouTube? Just ask Brookers, Prototypical YouTube Celebrity.

Brookers (a.k.a. 20-year-old  Brooke Brodack of Massachusetts) has Numa Numa-ed her way into the heart of Carson Daly. Millions have watched her viral video of the techno hit since it debuted last fall, and that’s just one of her many well-trafficked shorts. We sat down with Brookers as part of our Internet Fame package, running in the print mag on Friday. She’s a sweetheart. With a LOT of energy. (My favorite by far: "Steal My Sunshine.")

But what am I telling you this for, netizen? You’ve probably already got a clip circulating virally as we speak. I’m the one lagging behind. Let me go dig my old stuffed animals and Heart records out of the foot locker.

One question: Once we’re all famous, does that mean we can all be in Ocean’s 9,763?


Comments (24 total) Add your comment
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  • Amelia

    Don’t worry, Scott. I’m 19 and never heard of her. Okay, so maybe I’m just really out of the loop, but hopefully that makes you feel better!


    Brookering a deal: The first YouTube celebrity

    Brookering a deal: The first YouTube celebrity

  • alanna

    I have apparently entered Old Fogeydom at the ripe old age of 31, because I don’t see anything remotely “cute” about this — though I do see lots of “cutesy” (and I usually love this sort of thing.) It’s a great idea, and I applaud her enthusiasm. But the 4.2 facial expressions and repetitive lip-sync got really old, really fast.

  • ryan

    I looked up a few clips when I read about this and…yea, I don’t get it. It’s lip-synching and Legolas cutouts, right? That’s about it? Hrm. But then again, I don’t get Carson Daly, and that’s so far not been a negative thing in my life. Props to her for scoring a deal and all, not gonna hate on that, but not really sure how this is gonna translate down the line.
    What would be more interesting if production companies such as Daly’s took online, interesting, independent, “viral” content and found a way to expand the viewership of the existing product (while figuring out how to make everyone some coin in the process) versus trying to package it into a more “traditional” media format such as a TV show. Networks as we know it will be gone by the time MySpace kids graduate from college anyways…using Brooke as a model for this new (un)distributed way of delivering content would be interesting as hell. But I probably shouldn’t expect this much from good ol’ Carson.

  • finn

    Is this really what qualifies as entertainment now? How sad.

  • mike

    Everyone so excited about being excited about the next big thing. Will anyone remember her next week when the new YouTube phenomenon gets Carson’s buzz?

  • johnathan

    she reminds me of amanda bynes. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I guess we’ll wait and see.

  • Karla

    Hmmmm…. Brooke is very sweet, but I agree with alanna that cutesy describes her. I don’t see a lot of originality. But as far as I can see, Carson Daly isn’t very instested by originality. So maybe they’ll be happy. I just shudder to think of a sweet, fatherless girl being thrust into fame. Ooh, Brooke, just watch yourself, okay?
    I like the original Numa Numa guy. Him I would watch!
    And how about those nutty Chinese university students singing I Want it That Way? Those two knock me out because they COMMIT to the song, baby! They’re just heartbreakingly wonderful.

  • C

    Weird. I don’t see anything great about this. It was cute for all of 30 seconds and then I was done with it.

  • dma69

    I guess I’m another old fogey because I don’t get what’s so appealing about this. It looked like bad home movies to me. I just don’t get it.

  • fuhg

    Carson Daly is trying to stay relevant by poaching ‘talent’ from the internet and capitalizing on the viral video craze. It’s no wonder, Carson Daly has no discernable talent whatsoever, so it makes sense he’d want to further the career of someone else who wants to be famous but has no reason to be.
    I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing about this ‘Brookers’ girl, because there has got to be another 20 year old girl out there who can actually sing, act, or play an instrument and deserves some attention. God help us when this girl has to actually produce something based on her own material. Maybe I’m juding too quick, but Youtube has several lip synching videos already, so to single this girl’s videos out as exceptional is crazy. In fact, Slate wrote a good article on how most of Youtube’s content is simply this type of stuff, boring people lip synching

    The thing about Youtube is; as long as you are a young, (somewhat) attractive girl, losers will watch your awful videos and then post comments like “wow! ur cute!! you should IM me!!” because they’re pathetic web nerds who think they might have a chance of luring you into their basement dungeon. Any mildly attractive girl can get a million views. Hell, even a butt-nasty girl can post a video of herself and some loser will send her a comment telling her “ur beutiful!! I’m in love!,”
    Here’s a video from Youtube that has almost the same exact stuff as Brookers (see link at end of paragraph). Why isn’t the girl from this clip getting a development deal, she’s equally as talented as Brookers, and she got 5 million page views for this video:
    A lot of the kids who post on Youtube are worse than failed reality show contestants, because having such a large potential audience brings out their inner attention-whore.
    And in that Variety article it says Brookers has “considerable directing skill!” So pointing a webcam at yourself is directing? Oh, she cut to the music’s beat! Guess what, anyone can do that with simple video editing software that comes packaged with every computer.
    I think my generation has some seriously questionable taste.I can understand Youtube becoming popular, but who passes around videos of a girl lip synching and says it’s funny? It’s this exhibitionism thing my generation has, young people all think we care about their blindingly routine lives. They post pictures on webshots of them partying in their dorm and blog about their boring job and fill their myspace accounts with every personal detail as if anyone asked for that information.
    I can understand if your friends want to check out your stuff and use the internet to keep in touch w/ you, but total strangers investing time in this garbage? What happened to real talent? Doesn’t anyone get discovered who actually warrants the type of hype they get? The more i write, the more frustrating it is getting, because every movie, band, or TV show seems directed at stupid kids who can’t pick up on subtlety and aren’t discerning at all about what they listen to/watch.

  • Karla

    Beautiful post, fuhg, and not too long because you done SAID IT! Excellent social commentary, especially on the no talent ass clowns who try to capitalize on the internet vibe, or exploit a person who is actually liked, apparently, because she’s so, um, untalented in a friendly way.
    And thanks for the link to slate, where I got to see more of the Chinese Dorm Boys!

  • Kay

    I just watched her for a minute, and I would like that minute of my life back, please.
    I love the original Numa Numa guy, and the Chinese BSB guys, and especially that hidden video of the air force academy guy dancing, but this is just the worst collection of videos I have ever seen.
    If, as fuhg has stated, that Variety said that Brookers has “considerable directing skills”, well, that’s just about the saddest thing I’ve heard in a very, very long time. Good directing would be more along the lines of Philip Wang, for Yellow Fever:

  • Michael


  • Dean

    I’m an old fogy–I’m 45–so fogyish, in fact, that I didn’t even know YouTube existed until about a month ago. The second YouTube video I ever watched was Brooker’s version of Liam Lynch’s “My United States of Whatever.” I liked it a lot, so I went and looked up the original, professionally-produced version. Brooker’s was better, even though she had zero budget and was working with the most basic video equipment imaginable.
    I was hooked. I began checking out her other videos, and I realized right away that this girl had what the late Pauline Kael called “film sense.” Phil Wang is a funny guy, but he does not have it. Look at the filmette Michael linked to; the visuals are dull as toast. Now look at Brooker’s “Chips,” with its wacky sendup of horror and suspense movie conventions. Hers is obviously the more visually interesting of the two.
    Anyone can stare into a videocam and lipsinc a song, although only a few folks are fun to watch doing it, like the original Numa Numa boy and those Chinese guys. Brookers, in the couple of videocam lipsincs she posts, is also fun to watch–yet she never just lipsincs, but experiments with comedy, too. The video Karla linked to goes well beyond a basic videocam lipsinc; it’s like a semi-pro, if straightforward, music video. But Brookers, in my opinion, in her music covers, comes up with something that’s wackier and more original than that. She’s constantly experimenting, trying out camera angles, effects, personas, costumes. She laughs at herself continually. There’s a reason she became (at least for a time) the most watched female on YouTube without once baring her bellybutton.
    Maybe I’m going too far, but I actually think she’s participating in the invention of a new genre. It’s not exactly a film, or a video blog, or a music video, but something else that doesn’t have a name yet. As one of Brooker’s fans (from Denmark!) has noted, we don’t know what exactly she does, but it sure is entertaining. And she accomplished everything in only eight months, without any professional help or equipment!
    In short, I think Carson Daly’s picked a winner. I wish her well. I urge people to go look at her two most recent YouTube posts, made in the last day, which are pretty sharp sendups of video blogging.

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