2012 was a fab year for YouTube. Not only were you treated to the Weeklings! and Verbal Vogueing web series by AfterElton’s leading Anthony Perkins specialist (ahem!), but I think these five viral sensations edified us all in fun, gay ways. Here are my five favorite YouTube videos of the year.
5. Cher and Kathy Griffin taught us about right-wing misogyny and homophobia.
Cher and Kathy Griffin are a sublime pairing to begin with, but when the two divas combined forces to teach us about the dastardly ways of Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, the trauma of election season began to dissipate. My mind is still healing from the months and months of election mania, but now I’ll remember it somewhat fondly thanks to this stellar, hilarious PSA. (Better yet: The reel of outtakes below is a true hidden gem. Love when Kathy tells Cher how to read the teleprompter and deadpans, “This is just like your Come Back to the Five and Dime audition.”
4. Guy Branum’s droll, yet educational web series “The Factuary”
What’s better than learning about the origin of the word “hipster,” the meaning behind M.I.A.’s Sri Lankan shout-outs, and the history of the Batman films? Why, learning about them in an entertaining fashion thanks to genius emcee Guy Branum, the standup comedian who uses droll asides and a clear passion for educatin’ to weave the lovely series The Factuary. Funny, yet informative material is so rare these days. Sincerely, there’s been a gap in pop culture since Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? left the air.
3. So You Think You Can Dance winner Benji Schwimmer’s epic confession
It was six years ago that Benji Schwimmer took home the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer” on the second season of So You Think You Can Dance, but the journey that began after his last tango with Mary Murphy was apparently just as dramatic. In this humongous interview from the web series Mormon Stories, the 28-year-old hoofer reveals (with astounding articulation) his personal struggle with his gayness, his additional struggles with plenty of people he trusted, and a surprising amount of dirt from SYTYCD. My favorite way to watch this is by selecting one of the three sections and clicking on a random moment. Wherever you land, you’re bound to hear an incisive or poignant tidbit. The second and third parts of this interview are embedded below.
2. One man reenacts all 75 Best Supporting Actress winners in one amazing video.
Mysterious vlogger Matt blew my mind this year with his epic imitation of all 75 women to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. His Helen Hayes? Magical. His Meryl Streep? Astounding. And the same goes for his Claire Trevor, Mo’Nique, Vanessa Redgrave, and Kim Hunter. You’ll love it and appreciate his comprehension whether you’re watching it for the first or 31st time, as I am right now. Ha-ha! Cloris Leachman, y’all!
1. The staggering, unforgettable diva throwdown of Got 2B Real
Got 2B Real debuted last year, but its subsequent episodes — including the one embedded above from this year, “Crispy Business” — is truly the most gut-busting thing I’ve seen on the internet in years. It seems like a simple premise: Stock footage of Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Chaka Khan, and more is poorly overdubbed with hilarious new audio, and suddenly these esteemed divas are hurling shade like Ray-Ban salesmen. It is HEARTSTOPPINGLY FUNNY. While I love the Aretha and Dionne impressions, I think my favorite is the Mariah — that fatigued, put-upon, lazily bossy voice is just perfect.
And in case you’re new to Got 2B Real, I’ve included the first episode below. Please prepare yourself for when Patti tells Aretha, “Ease on down the road with your Nipsey Russell-lookin’ ass.” And oh God: Look OUT for Maya Angelou.