Motivational speaker/comedian Judson Laipply found the unlikeliest of successes in a video he made of himself performing various arrays of dances made famous over the past six decades. The "Evolution of Dance," as he calls it, is now the most viewed video of all-time on YouTube with a staggering 80,420,691 views. It's also the most "favorited" and ninth-most discussed all-time. Catch him right here in Geneseo on Friday, April 4 in the Union Ballroom to see the "Evolution" in person. The show starts at 8 p.m.
The Lamron: So, word on the street is you know a thing or two about dancing.
Jud Laipply: [Laughing] I don't know if I'd go that far.
The Lamron: Tell me about the process that went into picking the dances for the "Evolution of Dance."
JL: I was watching another comic making fun of people dancing at weddings. And for whatever reason, within his context he was making fun of how, when a specific song would come on, everybody would run to the dance floor and do that dance, and then the song would end and they'd all go sit back down. So I started thinking about all the songs that have that and I kinda got the idea that it would be funny to put some of those together.
The Lamron: So it just kind of progressed from there?
JL: Yea, and so then I ran upstairs to my room and I wrote down on a piece of paper like the first amount, like the first songs that came to mind, and I had twelve. And after I did those first twelve, I would do those for awhile and people would come up and ask me to add stuff or tell me I should add stuff.
The Lamron: What advice could you give someone else who is in that kind of business where it is extremely difficult to get recognized?
JL: Right. Well, that's one of the biggest questions now, is "how can I make that happen?" And the hardest problem is that what happened to me and what happens occasionally is so few and far between the norm, and it's difficult for people to really get a grasp of what is realistic and what isn't. And so I mean the biggest thing about using online stuff and using online videos and, you know, getting your songs and things out there, is to try to find as many avenues as you can to post it. You know, to get other people to use it.
The Lamron: Going back to the dances themselves, are there any dances you look forward to performing the most?
JL: My favorite ones are, you know it all depends on the age of the audience. That changes for every show. For college students, I love "Apache (Jump On It)." It's my favorite, you know, from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And so that's one that people seem to get all excited for. And then I'm also a big fan of the Brady Bunch one.
The Lamron: Have a least favorite?
JL: No, not usually. I mean, from a physical standpoint, "the worm" is the toughest [laughs]. Flopping down on the ground and then flopping around in the worm is probably one of the harder ones.
The Lamron: Yeah, how long did it take for you to learn that one?
JL: You know, I was lucky. I knew that when I was a kid.
The Lamron: I understand you're currently working on an "Evolution of Dance Part II." What can we come to expect from it this time around?
JL: Well I mean, the biggest obstacles that I've been dealing with has just been song rights, like figuring out exactly who I can and can't use, you know, things along those lines. So my goal is to hopefully have it out this summer, but I don't know if it's gonna make it in time. I've been working on it for probably well over a year.
The Lamron: Are you going to release it the same way you released the first one, just all over the Web and on YouTube?
JL: Yep, it'll just be on the Internet. The nice thing is, if all goes well, I'll probably go back on The Today show to debut it, so we'll have it ready to go. I'll go back on in the morning, dance, do it on there, and then we'll release it.
The Lamron: I did watch that segment, dancing on the Today show. That must have been pretty exciting.
JL: Oh, that was awesome. You know, anything like that is just a great experience. You're in New York, you're in NBC studios, you know, in Rockefeller Square. That was really cool.
The Lamron: "Evolution of Dance" has become your personal trademark. Do you think you'll ever get sick of dancing?
JL: I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. There may come a day when I don't know if I can physically do it anymore [laughs]. But it's one of those things that is so fun to do, because the reaction is so fantastic, and you know, I don't have to speak during it or talk during it, I'm just dancing. And so it's one of those things where, like, you know you've got something that's good, and you like to give it to other people.