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Ned: So how'd the fight go?

Mark: Oh you know, it was pretty even, basically a draw...

Ned: Really? On YouTube it looked like you got your ass kicked.

In modern fiction, characters will post embarrassing videos of each other on YouTube (or something eerily similar). This functions just like public humiliation, but instead of just their friends and family, it's everyone in the entire world.

Typically, the video will become a viral sensation, getting millions of views in a manner of days. Although not as common as depicted in the media, it is Truth in Television.

Compare Instant Web Hit and Stupid Statement Dance Mix.

Examples of Instant Humiliation - Just Add YouTube include:


  • This Mountain Dew ad featuring none other than Chuck Norris.
  • In an ad for AT&T cellphone-with-internet where the Catch Phrase is "it says...," there's a man in a hospital surrounded by his family. The son is looking at his phone replaying the video of dad wiping out on a snowmobile. "It says you have 4 million hits."
  • There was a Dare Iced Coffee ad in Australia that was a montage of all the awkward things your girlfriend might want to tell you over coffee. One of them was, "Remember that video we made? It went viral."

Anime and Manga

  • A Darker and Edgier version of this trope, in Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest, in which Haguro kidnaps Aoshika, has her raped, posts it online, and makes Akira watch it to draw him out in retaliation.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 does this to taunt the NASA Aliens coach after he cancels the US vs. Japan American football game, in order to badger him into going through with the match.

Comic Books

  • In Empowered, our heroine is filmed while just getting conscious after being beaten down earlier. Unfortunately, she was drooling a bit, and her "mmhwhuh?" doesn't help. Neither do her Jerkass teammates who use the "youtoob" screenshot as their new monitor wallpaper.


  • In Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a video of Miri in her "granny panties" becomes an instant sensation, inspiring the characters to try and make a movie.
  • In Hellboy II the Golden Army, one of Tom Manning's jobs is to deny the existence of Hellboy and the BPRD. So the fact that videos of Hellboy keep popping up on YouTube is indirectly embarrassing for him.

 Tom Manning: I suppress each photo, cell phone videos, they cost me a fortune, and then they show up on Youtube... God, I hate Youtube.

  • Happens several times in Sex Drive. Felicia is taking a piss in the car's radiator to give it some needed fluid - a car comes by & one of the kids in the back takes a picture which ends up on Ian gets a boner at an abstinence rally and people video & post it. Etc.
  • In Hancock, PR executive Ray (Jason Bateman) shows Hancock (Will Smith) YouTube videos of the objectionable actions he takes as a superhero. In one, he grabs ice cream from an ice cream truck nearly-naked with his clothes burnt off. In another, he's shown grabbing (by the tail) a whale that had beached itself, and tossing it out to sea hundreds of yards away, smashing a small boat.

 Hancock: I don't even remember that.

Ray: Greenpeace does. Walter [the whale] does.

  • In 17 Again, the main character gets in a fight at school, which he loses badly. He tries to tell his "father", Ned, [1] that it was a draw, but Ned says he saw it on YouTube.
  • In Brazilian film, the starting point is a sexual failure of the protagonist being put on Youtube and turning him into a local mockery.
  • This seems to be the entire plot of Never Back Down.
  • Near the beginning of Iron Man 2, Tony is Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee because he refuses to share his signature Powered Armor with the US government. Thing is, Tony not only hacks into the Senate computers to reveal surveillance footage of other nations/organizations trying to make their own versions of the Iron Man armor (and failing) but goes on to say things like being forced to share Iron Man means being forced to share himself (since he's Iron Man) which equals "indentured servitude and/or prostitution, come on!" and that he did a world a big favor by successfully privatizing world peace (he actually said this to the audience, receiving a massive applause in return). By the time he got home, his antics causing the subcommittee to make a complete ass of themselves is already on Youtube with 1,890,873 views, much to Tony's amusement.


  • Artemis Fowl does this to one of the main villains in one book.
  • Vampire Mine by Kerrelyn Sparks has this. One of the villains uploads a video to youtube showing one of the vampires turning to dust upon dying to prove that vampires exist and, essentially, ruin their existance.
  • In Troy Rising, Comet earns her callsign by shooting the gap of a closing bay door and surviving a "hard landing" against the back wall of the bay with zero passenger casualties. This happened to be the main bay of Troy, the largest battle station in the solar system with a kilometer-thick door made of solid nickel-iron. Video footage of her (heroic, life-saving, incredibly necessary) stunt goes viral. The evening news considers it to be more exciting than the subsequent battle against the alien fleet that forced her to do it in the first place.
    • The humiliating part of it is that her CO doesn't know whether to promote her or court-martial her. She is finally reassigned to Thermopylae so she can figure out why they are having such a high rate of hardware failure, which is a punishment.

Live Action TV

  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon gives a drunken acceptance speech for an award banquet. The video was up on YouTube and went viral.
  • On Glee, a video of Sue Sylvester jazzercizing is uploaded to YouTube and becomes so popular that it leads to a duet with Olivia Newton John.
    • Subverted when Sue threatens to post an embarrassing airline safety video the principal was in. Turns out he had posted it himself and it only got three hits.
    • Played straight again in "The Kiss That Missed" humiliation at Nationals and the "Mercedes Inferno" performance of Disco Inferno.
  • On Men of a Certain Age, an embarrassing commercial Terry was in from the 80's is posted on YouTube. It gets millions of viewers, inspires remixes, and becomes so popular that the company wants Terry and the original actress to reprise their roles.
  • Saturday Night Live had a one-off (so far) Show Within a Show "I Didn't Ask for This," where people with embarassing videos posted to youtube came on and said "I Didn't Ask for This." One of them did something embarassing on the show and the others took cellphone videos of it and posted it.
  • While apparently falling in a clip on The Colbert Report, Stephen shouted "Please nobody post this on Youtube!"
  • Lie to Me: In "Killer App", Cal leaks an audio clip of Zach being an ass onto the Internet. Cal trying to be hip by using the latest buzzword announces that it went viral.
  • One episode of Thirty Rock shows the 1-900 sex line advertisement Liz did early in her career. It's ... special.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation uses this in season 5's opener. Manny's drunk, and she strips off her top and bra and says "I'm going to be an actress, Academy Award winning, and you can sell this for a million dollars because I. Am. Going to be. FAMOUS!!!!" in front of Peter.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Marshall discovers that there's a video of him interrupting a college news report by running in naked and drunk, calling himself Beercules. He finds the guy who posted it and tried to get him to take it down, but it ends up happening again. There are also Robin's old videos as Canadian teen pop idol Robin Sparkles. Videos of Ted breaking down while giving speeches at weddings are a minor YouTube hit.
  • Discussed briefly in QI. The panel were discussing the folding of paper, and what was needed to fold a piece of paper in half X number of times. Stephen Fry said "What you need is length and thickness", to which Alan eventually replied:

 Alan: That's gonna be snipped out, straight on YouTube.[2]

  • In Noob, one of the players gets his avatar stuck in dancing mode by a hacker on regular basis and a guildmate that hates him films every single occurrence to post it on her blog.

Newspaper Comics

  • In a Zits strip, Jeremy tries to tell a friend about something embarrassing that happened to him in the school cafeteria, only to learn that it has already been posted on the internet.

Stand Up Comedy

  • In Bill Engvall's bit about his colonoscopy, he notes that as he's being led out of the doctor's office by his wife, still loopy from the drugs and walking funny he stops for a moment to turn to the hospital staff and say "I better not see this on Youtube!"

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Fairly Oddparents
    • In "Information Stupor Highway", Timmy stumbles across the scene of Crocker being forced to try on a red dress by his mother and records it for future humiliation. The file (instead of video evidence of Timmy's fairies) is eventually uploaded to every media outlet in the world and the entire planet gets a laugh out of it, much to Crocker's embarrassment.
    • In the Wishology movie, Timmy uploads a cartoon of Dark Laser making farting noises (with the help of a woopie cushion) to get him to come down to Earth so they could use his spaceship.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "World Wide Wabbit": a video of Mr. Herriman doing his "Funny Bunny" routine for Madame Foster gets posted on the internet and becomes a hit.
  • Happens to Dr. Doofenshmirtz in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Tip of the Day", when an old video he made in high school of him roller-skating in his underwear and getting his head stuck in a toilet wound up on the Internet. "Always check the box, Perry the Platypus..."
    • Candace sees the Instant Web Hit that the boys put on their website in "Lights, Candace, Action" as this-- it wasn't malicious in any way, though; The Stinger from that episode showed that others thought she was really cool for playing the "Swamp Monster of Danville".
  • Bender and Fry's twitter battle on Futurama ends with Fry releasing a video of Leela's singing butt boil to the world. To make it up to her, he releases a worse one of himself diving into a hot tub full of two-headed goat puke. And failing. And then falling in anyway.
  • This is the basis of the Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Spew Tube."
  • Kick Buttowski tries to take the #1 spot on "rank of awesome" and eventually succeeds; and every time Brad embarrasses himself in front of a crowd, it ends up with a video uploaded to the internet.
  • In South Park, when Randy Marsh stupidly says the N-Word Privileges on Wheel Of Fortune, Cartman later notes how many times he watched the clip on youtube.


  1. actually his friend, who is acting as his father due to his Time Travel; It Makes Sense in Context
  2. It was, the very next day.
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