“Trololo”: A Russian nesting doll of wackiness

The hypnotic singer and unlikely viral sensation emerges from obscurity, and he's still smiling

Topics: YouTube, Television,

"Trololo": A Russian nesting doll of wackiness

We have seen this year’s Rick Astley, and his name is Eduard Khil. Khil, aka the Trololo man, has become the latest unlikely viral sensation, ever since a vintage clip of the singer grinningly, gustily belting out a Soviet-era vocalization earworm popped up on YouTube a few weeks back. The song, “I Am Very Glad Because I’m Finally Going Home,” features such lyrics as “Ye ye ye ye ye ohohoho!” and if it has somehow eluded you thus far, suffice to say,  you’ve just found your new ringtone.

How weirdly, infectiously popular is the clip? Stephen Colbert has delighted in it on “The Colbert Report,” and after winning his Academy Award, Christoph Waltz appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this week in his own hauntingly unnerving rendition. And Waltz is far from alone — there are dozens of homage versions, look-alikes and remixes out there.



But Khil himself, like the meaning of his song, has remained until now something of a puzzle, a mystery lost perhaps forever underneath a fallen iron curtain. Yesterday, however, he at last came forward to respond to the hoopla. For an interview for Russian television, the 65-year-old, still smiling, still wearing the widest tie this side of Minsk, dryly critiqued his imitators. He declared that Waltz’s rendition “almost reaches” and named himself “the main parodist.” He also, to his infinite credit, saw the good-spirited fun in it all, noting how “full of feeling” his Khil wannabes are, calling the whole business “benevolent parody.” Watching Khil watching the videos inspired by people watching his own video is surely the most pleasurable bit of meta you’ll get today; and the payoff, in which Khil reprises his star-making hit, is sure to put a rictus of joy on your face. We cannot WAIT for the “Glee” version.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Rose Jay via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Labrador Retriever

    These guys are happy because their little brains literally can't grasp the concept of global warming.

    Hysteria via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    German Shepherd

    This momma is happy to bring her little guy into the world, because she doesn't know that one day they'll both be dead.

    Christian Mueller via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Golden Retriever

    I bet these guys wouldn't be having so much fun if they knew the sun was going to explode one day.

    WilleeCole Photography via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Bulldog

    This dude thinks he's tough, but only because nobody ever told him about ISIS.

    Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Beagle

    This little lady is dreaming about her next meal-- not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Labrador Photo Video via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Yorkshire Terrier

    This trusting yorkie has never even heard the name "Bernie Madoff."

    Pavla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Poodle

    She is smiling so widely because she is too stupid to understand what the Holocaust was.

    Aneta Pics via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Boxer

    Sure, frolic now, man. One day you're going to be euthanized and so is everyone you love.

    Dezi via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    French Bulldog

    He's on a casual afternoon stroll because he is unfamiliar with the concept of eternity.

    Jagodka via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Rottweiler

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be this care-free? But we can't because we are basically all indirectly responsible for slavery.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>