- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2006

PHOENIX

It’s just a man, three tennis balls, and John, Paul, George and Ringo singing “Carry That Weight.” Yet the 4-minute video of Chris Bliss juggling to the last three songs from the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album has become an Internet sensation.

Nothing about the video is shocking, scandalous or outrageous. Mr. Bliss doesn’t wear gaudy costumes, and he doesn’t toss knives, axes or chain saws.

“It really kind of works in its absolute, utter simplicity, its kind of stripped down Zen-like quality,” said Robert J. Thompson, a Syracuse University professor and a leading authority on American pop culture.

In about 40 days, the video was viewed an estimated 20 million times, said Brian Reynolds, chief technical officer at VideoBookmark.com, the Redondo Beach, Calif., company that hosted the video before Mr. Bliss took it to Google on April 6. Google would not release download or traffic numbers on the video.

“I haven’t seen anything like it yet,” said 41-year-old Geoffrey McPherson of Gallatin, Tenn., who received an e-mail March 1 with a link to the video, and has sent it on to about 60 people.

Other video clips that became Internet sensations have included a digital dancing baby from 1997.

Asked what makes his juggling video so appealing, Mr. Bliss said: “I don’t know. It’s hard to put your finger on it.”

Mr. Bliss, a stand-up comedian from Phoenix, said he posted the video on his Web site four years ago for corporations looking to hire entertainment for company parties. Mr. Bliss figures someone was surfing the Web a few months ago, found the video and forwarded it, and so on and so on.

Since January, he has been receiving hundreds of e-mails a day. The attention has put Mr. Bliss in demand, and he has made TV appearances and given interviews. He said the response the video has gotten is overwhelming. But he has no complaints.

“When happiness comes knocking at your door, open the door and don’t ask too many questions,” he said. “Get it a nice cold drink, some tapas. Because if you try to analyze happiness, it’ll just go away.”

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