I'm a time-hardened Internet user. I lived through the days of(it's not a chipmunk, dammit). I've generated my share of custom-captioned doge pictures. It's hard to break through my tough, unimpressed, seen-it-all armor. I haven't laughed at a meme since Grumpy Cat arrived in 2012.
The Internet isn't through with me, though. I've willingly fallen victim to a new viral hero: Calm Owl. All the ingredients for online stardom are there: a short video, a compelling setup, an animal, a surprise ending. I watched it. I laughed. I watched it again. I laughed again.
YouTube user montymintypie uploaded the video of an owl snipped from Australian talk show "The Project," and it quickly became popular on Reddit and popped up on blogs like Laughing Squid. It shows an owl in profile with a narrator saying "Nelly is my favorite. Look how calm she is as well." Right on cue, the owl turns to the camera with pupils open wide.
Nelly's stare is about 1,000 yards deep. You could fall into those eyes and never see sunlight again. The owl was identified by a YouTube commenter as a brown hawk-owl, also known as a brown boobook.
The video was edited down from a longer clip of comedians Bill Hader and Amy Schumer appearing on the show to promote the film "Trainwreck." It involved some raunchy jokes and then a sudden cut to the short owl video. The same interview posted on a Schumer-focused YouTube channel doesn't contain the owl, leaving us with a bit of a mystery around how it made its appearance.
We already have a sound-effect remix video that offers the perfect scare music. Will Nelly achieve the same level of notoriety as Dramatic Chipmunk? How long before someone creates a mashup of the two? These are questions only time and the Internet can answer.