Where the Hell is Matt: a silly dance in 42 countries that will make you grin like a fool


Matthew Harding spent 14 months visiting 42 countries in order to produce "Where the Hell is Matt?", a four-and-a-half minute video featuring Harding (and anyone else he could rope into it) doing an incredibly silly, high-energy dance in some of the most breathtaking scenery around the world. This may be the best four minutes and twenty-eight seconds of your week.
Matt is a 31-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is.

A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said "Hey, why don't you stand over there and do that dance. I'll record it." He was referring to a particular dance Matt does. It's actually the only dance Matt does. He does it badly. Anyway, this turned out to be a very good idea.

A couple years later, someone found the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on. Now Matt is quasi-famous as "That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I'll send you the link. It's funny."

The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride gum. They asked Matt if he'd be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they'd be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea.

Link to video, Link to Where the Hell is Matt site (Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)

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  1. Hhhm, isn’t that gleaming blob in Chicago copyraped?

    OMFG, BB is promoting piracy!

    BTW, the guys in the Istanbul segment seem to be a folk dance troupe…they have the traditional dresses of the Blacksea region on, which, of course, no one wears unless they are in a folk dance troupe.

  2. this video begs the question….why did i go to college when i could have been perfecting my nerd dance and hounding gum companies to pay me to travel around the world?

  3. I get “Boom-de-a-ha” and “Where the Hell Is Matt?” in the same week. I am having way too much fun.

  4. Man, the carbon footprint on that would keep a Chinese power station going for 3 hours!

  5. Oh a second by second basis, that has to be the most expensive 4 minutes and 28 seconds of video I’ve ever seen.

    And to all those money-can’t-buy-you-happiness downers out there, it’s pretty clear that other people’s cash was plenty helpful in buying me some in this case.

  6. Might be worth to point out that this is actually his 3rd video … the first was just fun and games, self budgeted and pre-youtube … but it went viral .. then a sponsor showed up and he made his 2006 video .. which was pretty much the same .. a bit more sophistcated .. then he got so popular that he thought ‘heck, for the next video I invite everyone to dance along’ .. and this is the 2008 version …

    great piece .. makes you full of butterflies (or unicorns?) …

  7. That was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. The scene at the DMZ in Korea took my breath away.

  8. If we ever have only 4 minutes to save the world, I vote for this one over Madonna and JT…

  9. I cried, too. I just lost a much-loved cat, and I really, REALLY needed to laugh and cry.

  10. I’m pretty sure that is the best thing I’ve ever seen on the internet. Ever. How can something that goofy be that moving?

  11. Unless things have changed, his site is hosted at Dreamhost, and the site was a winner of their site-of-the-month (‘DHSOTM’) award round about when the second video came out.

  12. As I said to my wife when I sent her the link.

    “This is so stupid that it’s actually AWESOMELY COOL!”

    Damn fun video, there’s something smile inducing about a bunch of smiling dancing a really dumb dance. Positively life-affirming.

    I’m -abs, and I approved this message. (since I can’t have -abs sig line)

  13. Here’s Matt’s outtakes, which are freaking hilarious:

    The songs are “Praam” and the “Dance Outtakes Song.” (The second song is actually “Dancing Outtakes Song,” but iTunes lists it as “Dance Outtakes Song,” and if you don’t give it the wrong title, you get no song.)

  14. frakkin brilliant !!! i laughed till i cried. thanx matt ! thanx boing !
    i’m one giant smiling emoticon. peace.

  15. This has kinda been around a while but its still pretty awesome. And the first time I saw (way back when) I did think it was a fake because I couldn’t fathom someone travelling around the world and video-taping a kooky dance everywhere :P

  16. @Daemon: D’OH! Hit the “M” instead of the “N.”

    Thanks for the name of the singer.

  17. @ Caipirina:
    Thanks for clarifying about these videos.
    I had thought ‘I’m way ahead of Boing Boing on this one’ since I had run across it a year or so ago. But this is a new one.

    The video itself is blocked for me here at work, so I couldn’t see the difference, but the text copied from the website only went as far as the 2nd video.

  18. I actually buy Stride gum because they funded this. It is basically the most life-affirming ad campaign in the world.

  19. I like this video better:

    Some girl does the Hare Hare dance in locations all over Japan. My favorite is the deer park.

  20. Matt and his Happy Feet always make me smile and laugh and cry. For what we are, and what we COULD be.

  21. I am a very jaded and cynical person, but this one video gives me more hope for the human race than anything else I have seen or heard in a very long time.

  22. I was instantly jealous as soon as I saw a few seconds of it. I’ve already been to a few of those places, but oh how I want to quit my job right this moment!

  23. The lyrics of the song are based on part of the Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. The poems won the Nobel prize for literature in 1923. Here is the poem used in the song:

    “The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

    It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

    It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.

    I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.”

  24. Even though I was around my cousins at the beginning of this week, went to Disneyland yesterday, and the fencing Summer Nationals started today, this is still the one thing which has made myself the most happy so far this week.

    @34:
    Although I cannot deny that Haruhi is not awesome, the video you posted still doesn’t measure up to the one posted in my opinion. BTW, that deer park place i’d guess is the island right off of Hiroshima. They’re surprisingly bold. Then again, vendors do sell food to people to give to them, so it’s to be expected.

  25. Love it, love it, love it! How awesome! Particularly all the people joining in and having a great time. People being people!

  26. Man, why couldn’t we have beamed this commercial into space, instead of that Doritos one?

  27. how the fuck did he dance at the DMZ in Korea?

    i went there, and man those US and South Korean soldiers pounced on our asses if we so much as smiled in the wrong direction. if i’d tried to dance near that dude in the UN building at Panmunjeom, i think someone would have shot me.

  28. Beautiful in all the right ways. This is why I visit BB several times a day, from my windowless office. Thanks for bringing the wonderful!

  29. It’s a shame that some people can’t get past their jealousy and bitterness and just be happy…happy for someone who actually DID get a great gig like Matt’s, or happy just to watch some people dance and have a great time.

    I have watched this more times than my boss would care to know, and it makes me smile, every single time.

  30. Love it! I saw this great video on SF Iam where the reporter goes to Seattle to try and track down Internet and You Tube sensation Matt Harding of Where the Hell is Matt.com? Fame:

    http://www.sanfranciscoiam.com/videos/cb1dfa714335

    Find out the origins of Matt Harding’s fancy dance that has become a global InterWeb craze. Man, this guy has been fancy dancing all around the world for 5 years now, spreading happiness!

    Also, SF Iam has a lot of other great videos you should check out.

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