A YouTube poop (YTP) is a type of video mashup or edit created by remixing/editing pre-existing media sources often carrying subcultural significance into a new video for humorous, satirical, obscene, absurd, and profane—as well as annoying, confusing, or dramatic purposes. YouTube poops are traditionally uploaded to the American video sharing website YouTube, hence the name.
YouTube Poop is a subset of remix culture, in which existing ideas and media are modified and reinterpreted to create new art and media in various contexts. Forms of remix culture have existed long before the internet, with DigitalTrends's Luke Dormehl listing the cut-up technique of William Burroughs and sampling in hip-hop as examples. Dormehl also says that "aesthetically", YouTube Poop is similar to the "frenetic editing style" of MTV in the 1980s, which featured "fast, non-linear cuts" that focused less on character or plot than on evoking a feeling.
YouTube Poop also draws on elements from the vidding scene, in which fans of a piece of media would create music videos using footage from the work. Observers have also proposed influences from a more modern, internet-based practice similar to vidding, the Anime music video (AMV) – particularly from more comedic variations of the AMV.
The genre began in the early 2000s. The video regarded as the first YouTube poop is "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 REMIXED!!!" (now commonly known as "I'D SAY HE'S HOT ON OUR TAIL") by the creator SuperYoshi, originally uploaded on December 22, 2004, preceding the creation of YouTube by a few months. It remixes clips from the 1989 animated television series The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 as a primary source, using the video editing software Windows Movie Maker. Media scholar Randall Halle suggests that the name "poop" as used to refer to videos like SuperYoshi's referred to the purported low quality of these early works.
In the mid-2000s, YTP became one of the most popular types of video on YouTube. YouTuber EmpLemon describes this era as being characterized by popular recurring memes and in-jokes in the community. According to Halle, the 2010 video "jonathan swift returns from the dead to eat a cheese sandwich" has been cited as "a work that moved YTP towards artistry", with heavy use of video in video editing and other methods of distortion.
The YouTube Poop genre declined in popularity during the 2010s. eMarketer principle analyst Nicole Perrin speculated that the reason why the genre had "fallen to the wayside" was as part of a larger YouTube "shift to glossier more corporate-friendly content."
Luke Dormehl wrote in 2019 in relation to this loss of mainstream popularity that "as with every other corner of the internet", YTP had undergone fragmentization from a large single community with a shared set of sources into a series of sub-communities, each with their own preferred source material. However, this has also allowed each individual sub-community to develop its own set of convoluted "references-within-references" even further. Additionally, YTP has followed the general YouTube trend of increasing professionalization and editing, with lots of special effects and elaborate writing.
YTP has had a large influence on much of modern meme culture and internet culture as a whole. Many stylistic traits of YTP have entered the editing vocabulary of mainstream YouTubers, such as rapid editing and sudden drastic changes in volume for comedic effect. Many mainstream YouTubers even hire YTP editors to edit their normal videos.
Some videos may involve completely or partially repurposing sources to create or convey an often self-aware story, while others follow a non-linear narrative, and some may contain no storyline at all, instead regarded among the lines of surreal humor and artistic experimentation. To this degree, a YouTube poop may even consist solely of an existing video, sometimes modified, repeated in a slowed or remixed loop. Associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, Michael Wesch, has defined YouTube poops as "absurdist remixes that ape and mock the lowest technical and aesthetic standards of remix culture to comment on remix culture itself".
YTP can often be derivative in the sense that the work of one creator (or, within the community, pooper) is sometimes used as the underlying work for another video; this can be recirculated and lead to the creation of "YTP tennis" videos, named for how they exist in rounds where the original video accumulates edits and alterations. Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, compared this aspect to a form of call and response, here seen as being prominent within remix culture.
A YTP "collab", or collaboration, is a common practice, and involves various creators joining together to produce a single, sometimes very long, video.
A subgenre of YouTube poops is YouTube Poop Music Video (YTPMV), which involves clips from different forms of media remixed in a musical form, often in a fast-paced and editing-intensive manner.
While essentially any audiovisual media is "fair game" for source material, some of the most sources of YouTube poops include television shows, anime, commercials, other YouTube videos. In particular, YouTube Poops often use 1990s cartoons, particularly critically disregarded ones such as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. The work of children's poet Michael Rosen has also been used. These diverse media sources, from different time periods and styles, are often combined in YTPs.
The cutscenes from Nintendo games released on the Philips CD-i - most notably Hotel Mario, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon - which have been widely criticized for their bizarre animation, voice acting, and scripts, are also frequently used, and have achieved more widespread notoriety as a result.
A typical YouTube poop uses visual and auditory effects to alter the underlying work, as well as rearrangement of individual clips. The edits are often "abrupt and jarring", with lots of quick cuts and time stretching leading to an "often-frenetic" pace. Ruth Alexandra Moran interprets the style as producing "aesthetics of malfunction".
The most common type of rearrangement is "sentence-mixing", a form of editing in which dialogue is rearranged or chopped up to form new, often humorous or vulgar dialogue. One famous sentence-mix from the YouTube Poop "Robotnik Has a Viagra Overdose" by creator Stegblob takes a scene from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog in which Doctor Robotnik accuses his henchmen of "snooping as usual" and cuts out everything but the second and third syllable to leave only the nonsensical word "pingas", which was construed to resemble the word "penis". Over the years, "Pingas" has since become one of the biggest memes related to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in general and has been referenced in both the Archie comic and the Sonic Boom television series. In an interview, Sonic the Hedgehog co-star James Marsden was asked a question about the word, in which he erroneously guessed that it was Doctor Robotnik's original catchphrase.
Some techniques are more abrasive, like the "stutter loop", in which a short clip of video is repeated over and over. An abrasive auditory trope is the sudden extreme increase in volume to shock the viewer, known as "ear-rape" or "ear rape". This term has entered general internet slang referring to a loud or unpleasant unexpected noise in any medium, intentional or otherwise.
As YTP is a medium built on repurposing copyrighted media, it has been particularly vulnerable to copyright law. YouTube poops have often been subject to copyright claims on YouTube. Political scientist and author Trajce Cvetkovski noted in 2013 that, despite Viacom filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube in 2007 explicitly concerning YouTube poops, in particular "The Sky Had a Weegee" by Hurricoaster, which features scenes from the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Shanghaied" and Weegee (a satiric caricature based on Nintendo's Luigi as he appears in the DOS version of Mario Is Missing!), it and many others have remained on YouTube.
Copyright law in the United Kingdom allows people to use copyrighted material for the purposes of parody, pastiche, and caricature without being seen as infringing on the copyright of the material. Copyright owners are only able to sue the parodist if the work is perceived as communicating hateful or discriminative messages, and modifying the intended purpose of the copyright owner's material. If the case is then taken to court, judges are advised in jurisdictional terms to decide whether the video meets these criteria.
British children's poet Michael Rosen issued a warning on his website in 2012, saying, "Quite a few people have fun taking my videos and making new versions of them, known as 'YouTube Poops'. Many of these are not suitable for young children. I am not responsible for either the words or pictures of these." Circa 2015, Rosen put a similar warning on his YouTube channel's "about" page. In 2021, a British teacher accidentally sent her students an extremely vulgar YouTube Poop of Rosen's poem "The Car Trip" instead of the original poem, mistaking it for the original.
In 2019, Rosen claimed there were "about 4,000 YTPs" of Rosen performing his poems and stories. He stated, "Some are very funny... I'm fond of the funny ones. I have tried to get the racist, antisemitic ones taken down."
Vista la tipologia dei montaggi, possiamo ipotizzare che questo genere di video dalla comicità caotica e nonsense abbia avuto una grossa influenza sulle cosiddette YouTube Poop (abbreviate in YTP), create proprio in quel periodo. Pochi anni dopo nacquero le YTPMV, video comici con remix di musiche e scene di film, anime, videogiochi o talk-show, spesso fatti con un ottimo livello di editing e con un ritmo frenetico.