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Starts With A Bang

Weekend Diversion: The Greatest Chatroulette of All-Time

There’s nothing like signing up for a random chat… and winding up with an improv serenade!

“I created this project for fun. Initially, I had no business goals with it. I created this project recently. I was and still am a teenager myself, that is why I had a certain feeling of what other teenagers would want to see on the Internet. I myself enjoyed talking to friends with Skype using a microphone and webcam. But we got tired of talking to each other eventually. So I decided to create a little site for me and my friends where we could connect randomly with other people.” –Andrey Ternovskiy, founder of Chatroulette

Sometimes, the best moments in life aren’t the ones you plan for, but the ones that surprise you. It’s in those moments — armed only with your wits and your ability to think on your feet — that the magic happens the most. Have a listen to musical improv genius Ben Folds, as he sings a song that’s different every time, Rock This Bitch,

while I share with you the story of the greatest Chatroulette in history.

Image credit: screenshot from Chatroulette.

As you well know, Chatroulette was the pioneer in random internet video chats nearly five years ago. In its early days, it became famous as a haven for teenagers to hang out, as well as internet-infamous for the huge numbers of pranks, awkward moments, and unwanted nudity that its users simply encountered.

Image credit: screenshot from Chatroulette.

Since that time, many competitors and imitators have come around, and Chatroulette has taken measures to clean up its site a little bit. But back in the early days, one piano-playing improviser — known as Merton — became a YouTube sensation for his Chatroulette improv sessions. If you’ve never seen them before, they’re incredibly endearing and charming.

But by far the most surprising and entertaining use of Chatroulette came when Ben Folds himself — who many speculated was Merton (he’s not) — took this very idea and ran with it, even donning a Merton-like hoodie.

During one of his concerts, starting in Charlotte, NC.

The results are the greatest thing ever to come out of Chatroulette, I’m pretty positive of it.

If you’ve seen this before, I hope you enjoyed seeing it again, and if not, I hope you enjoyed this now-classic piece of internet history! Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back tomorrow for more wonders of the Universe!

Leave your comments at the Starts With A Bang forum. If you missed our Comments of the Week, be sure and check those out, and if you missed me on Good Day Sacramento this weekend, watch the video, complete with Lori, cohost of the show, completely losing it!


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