Daniel Lara became a viral star faster than you can say “D*mn Daniel.”
The most unlikely of online celebrities rose to fame this week thanks to the strangely hilarious “D*mn Daniel” videos, which appeared on Snapchat and spread online. In the videos, an enthusiastic friend chronicles Daniel’s fashion choices while in the hallways of Riverside High School, commenting “D*mn Daniel” at his attire each day.
As Hollywood Life noted, the “D*mn Daniel” videos went viral almost immediately. After being posted by his friend Josh on the Twitter handle @josholzz, they racked up more than a quarter of a million views and hundreds of thousands of re-tweets.
Seventeen explained some of the background, and some of the appeal of “D*mn Daniel” and its star Daniel Lara.
“On February 15, a student named Josh at Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California posted a video of his friend Daniel, well, simply existing, walking, smiling, and wearing some cool outfits. Daniel is hot and has perfectly laid-back California style and extremely clean white Vans, so you’re probably about to fall in love.”
It has also spawned countless imitators, with many taking it on with the same passion as last year, when they were pointing to ugly sneakers and shouting, “What are THOSE?”
One young student even based her math homework off the “D*mn Daniel” meme.
Daniel Lara now has good company in the Internet viral hall of fame among others who became widely famous thanks to social media. Others who blazed the path for the “D*mn Daniel” star include Alex from Target, a handsome young clerk at the retail chain who went viral after an admirer shared his picture on Twitter.
At the time Alex went viral in 2014, some sociologists tried to explain how a person can go viral for seemingly no reason at all.
“There is a whole attempt at making sense of this now,” said Andrew Lih, a journalism professor at the American University School of Communication, told the New York Times. “But I can’t find any. The Internet is more and more like your local high school where inexplicably the crowd picks something that is not that interesting and elevates it to popularity status.”
While some viral videos are easy to explain — like “Charlie Bit My Finger” in its hilarious simplicity — others are not so clear. There was nothing spectacular about Alex from Target, yet someone he ended up getting his picture shared thousands of times and he even did an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
Naturally, some came forward to try to claim credit for his success. An Internet starter company called Breakr tried to take credit for the video going viral. In a LinkedIn post, the company’s chief executive, Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares, wrote, “We wanted to see how powerful the fan girl demographic was by taking an unknown good-looking kid and Target employee from Texas to overnight viral Internet sensation.”
Some believed that Target was somehow behind it as well in a bid for viral marketing, but the company denied it.
“We value Alex as a team member and from the first moment we saw this photo beginning to circulate, we shared that the Target team was as surprised as anyone,” the company said. “That remains the truth today. Let us be completely clear, we had absolutely nothing to do with the creation, listing or distribution of the photo. And we have no affiliation whatsoever with the company that is taking credit for its results.”
Daniel Lara is now famous beyond “D*mn Daniel,” as well. Rappers Little, Teej, and LeBlanc have already turned his viral video into a song, which you can find here.
[Image via Instagram]