by Rachel Swan
Several elements contributed to the success of Epic Beard Man. At three minutes and fifty-one seconds, it's a YouTube video with a perfect dramatic arc: A sixty-seven-year-old white guy makes a racist remark on the back of an AC Transit bus, provoking a fifty-year-old black guy to flash on him. The two come to blows. The white guy (Tom Brusso, known by his nickname, "Epic Beard Man") prevails, and the black guy (Michael) is left with a bruised face and bloody nose. The racial component hooked people in, but it's superseded by other elements in the film -- namely, the back of Epic Beard Man's T-shirt (which says "I am a Motherfucker"), and the white girl with big headphones who watched the whole thing, and never moves a muscle. (She's been rechristened "Amber Lamps"). Thus, it's little surprise that Epic Beard Man quickly became the most popular public fight meme on the web. It spawned myriad animated versions, T-shirts depicting the characters, music video tributes, and Facebook fan pages. Now, Epic Beard Man has his own rap song.
After watching theYouTube footage, Harlem rapper Cam'ron obviously felt compelled to weigh in. He looped some audio from the bus fight, and created a sample that's gone viral in its own right. Fittingly, he called the song "Amber Lamps."