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YouTube Phenom

The Key of Awesome!

The song Tik Tok may have catapulted Ke$ha to pop stardom, but type it into YouTube (GOOG), and the most popular video that comes up is a parody called Glitter Puke with approximately 82 million views. As it turns out, even Ke$ha can’t keep up with online comedy show The Key of Awesome!, which launched in 2009 and has developed into the biggest hit on YouTube’s Barely Political channel. (Alas, a parody of the Glitter Puke parody has been viewed more than 14 million times.) Barely Political has thrived by spoofing everyone from Eminem to Katy Perry—an admitted fan of the site—who had her single California Gurls parodied within hours of its official release. “What’s difficult is taking on people who are already kind of ridiculous,” says comedian Mark Douglas, who writes and stars in many of the videos. “Like Lady Gaga. You can’t really out-Gaga Gaga. It’s like putting a hat on a hat.”

Brady is a senior editor for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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