2 Girls 1 Podcast: How Tay Zonday Survived YouTube Virality

The Daily Dot (Licensed)

How Tay Zonday survived being ‘Patient Zero’ of viral YouTube

Some stay dry and others feel the pain.


Matt Silverman


chris boylan

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 15, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 4:10 am CDT

Way back in 2007 (a billion years ago in internet time), a young website called YouTube was finding its footing as a video destination, and the concept of “virality” still had echoes of odd Flash player phenomena like the Numa Numa guy.

Enter Tay Zonday (pseudonym of aspiring singer Adam Bahner), who uploaded the original song “Chocolate Rain” because…well, why not? Then nothing happened.

Then Digg and 4chan found it. And then Zonday was on CNN and Jimmy Kimmel trying to explain his music on national television.

His meteoric rise led to a 10-year journey of identity confusion and eventually self-actualization—an outcome that’s rare for many viral sensations, who get lost in what hordes of anonymous internet commenters perceive them to be, rather than who they truly are.

This week on 2 Girls 1 Podcast, Alli and Jen (actors who perform weird internet stuff on stage) have a long, deep talk with Zonday about viral fame, the evolving culture of YouTube, and his new podcast called Chocolate Pains, which is all about coping with virality and building a sustainable career from it.

Listen to the show:

And while you’re here, be sure to treat yourself to a little chocolate:

This week’s episode is supported by Penguin Random House Audio, which publishes thousands of award-winning audiobooks every year, including your sci-fi and fantasy favorites like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Hank Green’s novels. Download Penguin Random House Audiobooks wherever you listen to your favorite audiobooks (Audible, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) or check out this page to browse their latest selection.

2 Girls 1 Podcast is also supported by listeners. A lot of time and resources go into research, booking, editing, and publishing this show. If you love internet culture as much as we love ’casting about it, consider a contribution of $1 or $2 per month to help offset our production costs. Become a patron of #2G1P and earn some cool perks while you’re at it:

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Subscribe to 2 Girls 1 Podcast wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts and get new episodes one week early on the free TuneIn app!

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If you enjoy this podcast, consider sharing it with a friend or two, and use the hashtag #2G1P. We’ll be watching!

2 Girls 1 Podcast is hosted by Allison Goldberg and Jennifer Jamula, and is produced and edited by Matt Silverman in New York City. Production assistance is provided by The Podglomerate.

Want to hear more from the Daily Dot? Check out the Upstream Podcast, tackling the week in streaming entertainment, and We’re All Gonna Die, our weekly politics roundtable.

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*First Published: Oct 15, 2018, 6:00 am CDT