Hitler Remixes Are Big -- on YouTube

A critically praised but little-seen movie about the last days of Adolf Hitler is getting a new lease on life online as the basis for hundreds of satirical videos.

Like Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" pop video from the '80s that fueled the "rickroll" phenomenon, a 2004 German movie about Hitler's last days in the bunker is becoming a popular internet meme.

Jokers are dubbing humorous dialogue over a pivotal scene of the movie, Der Untergang (The Downfall), which shows the beleaguered F├╝hrer yelling at his generals when told the war is over.

The Downfall clip has been ironically remixed almost 100 times, lampooning everyone from the New England Patriots for the loss of the Superbowl to gamers banned from Microsoft's Xbox Live service.

"Man, I love the Downfall videos," said Steve Bryant, a critic who covers online video for The Hollywood Reporter and on his popular entertainment site, ReelPopBlog. "They're kind of a Mad Lib for deductive reasoning. Who better to explain why something lost than to put the reasoning on the tongue of Hitler?"

The latest, "Hillary's Downfall," pokes fun at the Clinton campaign. It portrays the disgruntled candidate as Hitler, blaming her generals for the loss of the Democratic nomination (which looks inevitable at this point).

"It's completely over the top," said James Adomian, the Los Angeles-based comedian who spliced together the Clintonian Third Reich mashup. "But we wouldn't laugh if these thoughts [that Hillary would blame her most loyal supporters] weren't in the back of our minds."

First uploaded to YouTube May 7, "Hillary's Downfall" has tallied more than 300,000 views. The bump in views skyrocketed Adomian's account to the sixth-most-viewed comedian slot this week, into the realm of YouTube web comedy staples like Michael Buckley and College Humor's video channel.

The Downfall series joins a long list of online video memes that revel in outrageously odd juxtapositions, like the group of Filipino prisoners performing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance, and "The 305," a spoof cross between British comedy The Office and Frank Miller's 300 that raked in millions of hits.

Likewise, the YouTube set can't get enough of the Hitler remixes.

"Hitler Gets Banned (His Ultimate Downfall)," which follows the notorious tyrant losing access to Microsoft's Xbox Live game service, has nabbed nearly 3 million views since its YouTube debut in late 2007.

Other Downfall videos follow Hitler's reaction to having his car stolen, Fox News reports and tabloid paparazzi.

Adomian, who often performs his brand of political satire at the Upright Citizens Brigade and impersonated President George W. Bush in Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, says he funneled his frustrations over the Clinton campaign into the project.

"I don't have the resources to release my complaints in real time, like on a talk show," said Adomian. "So I thought it was cathartic to imagine what it would be like in Hillary's bunker when they got the bad news [that she'd lost the nomination]."

Of course, Adomian's video, like the others, isn't about recasting the subjects -- whether Clinton, Microsoft or HD-DVD -- as the world's most notorious villain.

"No sober, serious person would ever claim that Hillary is anything like Adolf Hitler," said Adomian.

Adomian says that for the most part, he's received favorable reactions to his video. But he has received some complaints from liberal bloggers and Clinton supporters.

"Of course people say that it's inappropriate, but they're wrong," said Adomian. "It's a joke. It's not too irreverent."

At the very least, he's happy about the way it turned out. It's the least he can do from his couch to make a statement: "She's still in the godd*** race right now though, isn't she?"

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