Look for the phrase “Chewbacca mask famous” in this year’s list of newly discovered internet terms. Candace Payne, a mother of two from Texas, is the woman behind the Chewbacca mask in a new viral video that is breaking records and warming hearts all over the world. In fact, as noted in an article by U.K.-based outlet Daily Mail, Payne’s bit of Chewbacca mask shenanigans chalked up over 50 million views via the Facebook Live streaming service in less than 24 hours.
“I am really excited to share with you something I got,” Candace says at the beginning of her Chewbacca mask video. She proceeds to explain that she discovered something exciting while returning some items at a Kohl’s department store. As she quickly flashes a Star Wars box at the camera, she can hardly contain her enthusiasm. She tells her audience that her son will surely want what’s in the box, adding that she intends to keep it for herself, no matter what.
When Candace Payne finally takes the Chewbacca mask out of its packaging, it’s all over but the laughter — infectious, copious, and hysterical laughter.
“Now watch when my mouth actually moves,” Candace says as she opens her mouth and a Chewbacca’s trademark roar is heard. “That’s not me making the noise – It’s the mask!” Candace yells before cackling uncontrollably.
The scene proceeds for another minute or so, as Candace laughs so hard she lets out a snort. When she eventually removes the mask, she has to wipe tears of happiness from her cheeks.
Indeed, even Peter Mayhew, who has played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movie series, found joy in Candace Payne’s irreverent indulgence, reacting to the spectacle via Reddit.
“Absolutely wonderful! Cheers,” Mayhew said according to the Hollywood Reporter.
A Kohl’s spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter that the viral video has led to a run on Chewbacca masks in stores, adding that the item can still be purchased via their website.
The online news source Slate notes that the Facebook Live streaming feature just became available to non-celebrity types like Candace Payne around five months ago. In that short space of time, regular folks have used Facebook Live to chronicle all kinds of personal moments, including a California man who accidentally live-streamed his partner giving birth to their child earlier this week. According to People magazine, the video has since been viewed over 120,000 times since then.
It could well be that the unpredictability and irreverent nature of a live streamed video on one of the world’s most-used social media platforms will make Facebook Live a launch pad for scores of subsequent folks who also aspire to be “Chewbacca mask famous” someday.
It’s hard to imagine that an inexpensive piece of movie memorabilia and an unrehearsed video could resonate in such a huge way, especially considering that the internet proves to be a rather fickle forum of popular culture at times. Then again, in a news cycle that includes the heated rhetoric of the U.S. presidential election, the disappearance and subsequent crash of an Egyptian jet liner, and the devastating wildfires consuming parts of Alberta, Canada, maybe some lighthearted fun with a Chewbacca mask is just what folks needed to relax their hearts and minds at the moment.
[Image via Candace Payne/Facebook]