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Bad Lip Reading is a YouTube channel which replaces the original audio track of music videos and clips of celebrities, musicians and politicians with another that seemingly plays in sync with the speaker’s or the singer’s lip movements.
The Bad Lip Reading YouTube channel was created by an anonymous man from Texas on March 21st, 2011. The owner, sometimes referred to as The Bad Lip Reader, has claimed that he used to mute his television after his mother lost her hearing in an attempt to understand what she was going through. When doing this, he realized that he was not very good at lip reading, misreading what the people were saying. Later in life, he was inspired to make videos of his interpretations after watching footage of a radio talk show where one of the hosts was mouthing words in between talking. While trying to figure out what he was saying, he came up with random word combinations including “bacon hobbit” and “moose potion, poke me.” He then recorded the phrases, syncing this audio with the video and found that it looked believable.
The first video uploaded to the channel was a parody of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” with the phrase"gang fight" dubbed over the chorus. Three days after it was uploaded, on March 24th, 2011, the video was shared on Urlesque and reached the front page of Reddit with 1288 upvotes.
The blogger behind the channel, sometimes referred to as The Bad Lip Reader, has claimed that he used to mute his television after his mother lost her hearing in an attempt to understand what she was going through. During this experiment, he realized that he was not very good at lip reading and often misread what the people were saying. Later in life, he was inspired to make videos of his misinterpretations after watching footage of a radio talk show where one of the hosts was mouthing words in between talking.
Though Bad Lip Reading is one of the most well-known lip dub channels, it was not the first to create humorous dubs of videos on YouTube. A Star Trek: The Next Generation lip dub was created by YouTuber DayJobOrchestra and posted on February 17th, 2009. It consisted of footage from the sci-fi television series with incoherent babble dubbed over to match the lip movements of the actors.
As of August 2012, the Bad Lip Reading channel has 28 videos, 230,881 subscribers and more than 45.6 million views, receiving 86,660 views each day. Bad Lip Reading is also on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and iTunes. Though the YouTuber chooses to stay anonymous, he has been interviewed by the Washington Post, The Village Voice, New Media Rockstars and Rolling Stone.
The channel is most well known for its series of dubbed videos created with various press conference footage of American politicians, including the candidates of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The first Bad Lip Reading remix featuring a politician’s soundbites was uploaded on September 18th, 2011, using footage of Texas governor and 2012 Republican presidential nomination candidate Rick Perry. Several more Republican politician dub videos were subsequently uploaded, including presidential nominee candidates Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney. In April 2012, vice presiden Joe Biden became the first Democrat politician to appear in a Bad Lip Reading video. The poliitcal soundbites have been featured on Rolling Stone, the Daily Kos, Funny or Die, the Huffington Post and Mediaite.
Michael Bublé’s Response
After musician Michael Bublé was parodied on the channel (shown below, left), he posted a response video (shown below, right), stating that he thought it was “one of the coolest things he’s ever seen,” thanking the YouTuber for using his music video for the project.
Search queries for “bad lip reading” picked up in March of 2011, around the same time the Rebecca Black parody video was uploaded. Search volume increased rapidly in September of 2011 after the politician lip reading videos were uploaded.
The Washington Post – Bad Lip Reading- behind the viral videos everyone’s talking about
Rolling Stone – Rick Santorum Gets the ‘Bad Lip Reading’ Treatment
Huffington Post – Mitt Romney Gets Another ‘Bad Lip Reading’ (VIDEO)