Every day millions of people upload videos to YouTube in the hopes of sharing something meaningful with the world, but few find the success that Leah Kauffman did. About one year ago, the 21-year-old Temple University student, released a spoof of a spoof titled "My Box in Box," with the help of Barely Political production. The video parodies the now famous Saturday Night Live sketch, "Dick in a Box," starring Justin Timberlake and Andy Samburg.
"I created a parody of a parody," Kauffman said, "because I thought it would be interesting to explore ‘Dick in a Box’ from a female perspective."
Her idea was wildly popular and "My Box in a Box" was quickly named one of the most viral videos on the internet. One of the most intriguing things about the video was the secret identity of its star, known only as Bunny. It was eventually revealed that Bunny was in fact two women. Kauffman provided the voice and 20-year-old University of Pennsylvania student, Melissa Lamb provided the body.
"Ben Relles, a co creator of â€˜Bunny’ posted an ad on Craigslist for a model [and] Melissa answered the call," Kauffman said.
The video features Lamb dancing around wearing a gift-wrapped box in front of her "bunny" and lip-syncing to Kauffman’s singing. The lyrics have similarities to "Dick in a Box" lyrics, such as step-by-step instructions to make a box in a box and a list of holidays in which the special gift could be given. These varied from the original holidays used in Timberlake’s version, like Flag Day, and "mi caja en una caja" for Cinco de Mayo.
"My Box in a Box" has gotten wide media acclaim. Rolling Stone magazine called the video "clever" and Inside Music Media said "Leah Kaufman can sing!" Kauffman and Lamb were even featured as the "Most Viralest Video" on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann. "Bunny" has more than 1,500 friends on MySpace and there are more than 1,100 members of the "My Box in a Box" Facebook group. The video has even earned its own article on Wikipedia.
Since "My Box in a Box", Kauffman and Barely Political have released two more videos: "Crush on Obama" and "I like a Boy." Their success is evident with these videos; they have bigger casts and better production values. "I like a Boy" even features Mims, the rapper best known for his hit "This is Why I’m Hot."
Kauffman has also had great personal success in the music industry. "My Box in a Box" was released on itunes and she has signed a record deal with Rock Ridge Music. To top it all she recorded an album, Modern Monster, which is available for listening on MySpace. Certainly more YouTube users will try to get their 15 minutes, like the two female students, but they will have to be as creative and talented as this pair has been.
"We’ve gotten a lot of attention through our music videos," she said, "and it’s exciting to be on the forefront of new media."