Anatomy of a masterpiece: 13 reasons why the 'funniest video of the year' is pure comedy gold
It's a video so thoroughly perfect that, had Oscar Wilde lived to see it, one suspects he would have rethought his belief that life imitates art.
Yesterday morning, on BBC News, a very serious interview with professor Robert Kelly about South Korea was interrupted by the antics of his young daughter. And then his baby son. And then a woman, possibly his wife.
The video has gone viral faster than the interview went south – and rightly so. Every beat in its short, 47-second lifespan is on the money – a perfectly scripted comedy of errors.
1. The entirely serious opening
"I would argue that this is a triumph for democracy," says Prof Kelly, expounding on a subject that's about to become incidental.
2. Enter child, stage right
Here comes trouble, in a bright yellow look-at-me jumper.
3. The walk
Prof Kelly's daughter introduces herself with the swagger of an MMA fighter. This is going to be fun...
4. The glance
Watch the Prof's eyes. Has he seen a reflection in his computer screen?
5. The no-look hand-off
Yep, he's seen her. Grappling mentally with the question "what would it mean for the wider region," Prof Kelly reaches out without so much as a look over his shoulder and tries to repel the advances of his offspring.
6. Enter baby, stage right
Oh hello, what's this? A second child in some kind of baby-propelling device seems to have entered the fray, arms flailing as though to conduct the increasing chaos of the piece.
7. That sound (at 0:18 in the video above)
Who's laughing? Is it a studio hand at the Beeb, unable to stifle a giggle? Or is it the semi-maniacal blurt of someone who's promised, promised, to keep the kids on lock-down for just two minutes while Daddy speaks to London in his suit from the spare room and somehow – because, you know, accidents do happen and keeping one child in the same place is tough enough, let alone two, especially when one has access to a rudimentary but nonetheless effective transportation device – somehow managed to let them both escape into the very room they were supposed to not be in.
8. Enter woman, stage right
The moment when every budding comedy writer in the land puts down their pens and starts to look for entry-level admin work on online job sites. Yes, here comes the children's poor carer to rescue the situation – and her face shows she knows the gravitas of what's just happened.
9. The books
Of course, no work of art can live on its gags alone. Which is why the book that falls from the bed as the children are hurriedly evacuated from the scene is so important.
Why is there a book on the bed, you might ask. Good question. Let's rewind and take a look.
Ah, classic. Dad's decorated the bed with books to make the scene look more impressive. Fair play too – we didn't notice the first time around.
Sometimes, it's the little details that elevate a cheap viral video to the status of masterpiece.
10. The long blink
He knows. We know, and he knows. This footage isn't going to be remembered for what he's saying.
11. Exit woman, stage right
She's made it out, kids in tow, but the door's still open. What to do? Better close it, surreptitiously.
12. The wafting poster
Crisis over – and yet not all is still. Now a map gets in on the action, waving to camera with a pathos that infers the world is laughing.
13. The off-camera action
The stage has emptied of three of its players, but that's not to say they've left our mind. Just as you start to imagine the rollicking now being dished out, a child's wail can be heard from behind the wall (O:38 in the video). Those kids are suffering for the art they've given us – and still Prof Kelly goes on, professional to the end, talking about North Korea and VX gas and things that surely are not at the forefront of his mind right now.
We salute you, Mr Kelly, and offer a standing ovation to your family. And we hope you understand, as laughter ricochets around the internet, that our joy is not mean-spirited. We're laughing because we can see on screen a reflection of our own families, in all their hilarious chaotic brilliance.
Perhaps Homer Simpson put it best. "It's funny," said the father-of-three, "because it's true."