Who is Ylvis?

Until recently, only those of us here in Norway knew about Bård & Vegard Ylvisåker. They have their own late night comedy show called I kveld med Ylvis (Tonight with Ylvis). Thanks to the sudden popularity of this video, people in America and perhaps around the world are asking themselves, “Ylvis? Who is Ylvis?”:

(*Grammar geek alert: although Ylvis refers to 2 people, I feel the word is 3rd person singular in the same way “everyone” is and am using it as such)

“The Fox” obviously capitalizes on the Gangnam style craze, but I imagine its popularity stems from the fact that it points out a valid question: What DOES the fox say? It’s a word we all learn to spell in preschool, yet no one tells us what sound it makes. Ylvis explores the ridiculous possibilities. The real answer appears here:

So, basically, a fox sounds like a dog, which I suppose we all could have figured out if we had actually thought about it. Kinda disappointing.

The brothers Ylvis are from Bergen, a city on Norway’s west coast known mostly for the fact that it constantly rains there. There are many dialects of Norwegian and Bergen’s is one of the worst (along with Stavanger). This, coupled with the fact that they can be a bit obnoxious, means I don’t actually watch their late night show. Sometimes they laugh too much at themselves, which I find off-putting from a comedian.

If you’re American, you are probably wondering how the hell to pronounce these weird names, so let me attempt to make some comparisons here.
Bård = Almost the same as “bored”
Vegard = The ve from “very” + guard
Ylvis = The first syllable is almost like “ill” (although slightly more on the “eel” side) + the same ending as Elvis.

Yesterday, the brothers appeared on Ellen, confirming their viral status and singing a rather uninspired rendition with her. Perhaps they were jet-lagged from the long flight?

Ylvis has made plenty of other amusing music videos before, but the best bit that they do on their show is the Intelevator, where they pretend to be a voice-activated hotel elevator. There are many clips on YouTube, but the following one is mostly in English. (With the old couple who come 2nd, he basically says the wrong number of the floor every time she requests it. Then, he tells them to speak louder. When the guy in the blue shirt yells, he responds, “There is no reason to be fresh.”)

I love how the old Asian man actually takes a photo of the “exhibition”. However, did you notice that this Intelevator video, taped a year ago, also features the fox in the exhibition?? Ylvis is obsessed with foxes!

I am sure the boys will find a way to capitalize on their new fame, but this is a fad like any other and I am sure it won’t be long before we in Norway are the only ones talking about them.

One Reply to “Who is Ylvis?”

  1. I believe you are INCORRECT about the Ylvis brothers being a “fad”. They are gaining popularity here in the US, and I, for one, LOVE them! Their talent is boundless and their humor is refreshing. I especially appreciate the humility each one of them have. Not like the Hollywood “twits” in the US. Best wishes to Ylvis and would love to meet them if I’m ever in Norway!

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