Video clips spread like wildfire

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Nearly four years after the launch of YouTube, it's startling just how much viral videos have come to resemble a highlight reel (or a gag reel) of recent history.

In 2008, the election was constantly reflected on video-sharing sites -- and sometimes even influenced by such clips. But the year in viral video was not all politics; there was still plenty of room for a litter of puppies, brawling late-night hosts and a lion with an excellent memory.

Here are the year's top 10 Web videos:

1. Tina Fey As Sarah Palin: Ms. Fey's impression of the Alaska governor represented a turning point in the paradigm between TV and the Web. More people watched Ms. Fey's sketches on NBC.com and Hulu.com than on television.

2. The Real Palin: Online, many were obsessed with Gov. Palin's every move, and millions logged on to watch clips of her interview with CBS' Katie Couric, her Thanksgiving turkey pardon and her appearance on SNL .

3. Christian the Lion: More than 20 million have been captivated by the heartwarming (and true) story of Christian the Lion being reunited with the two men who raised him as a cub.

4. Yes We Can : In all the songs and performances devoted to this year's election, none connected quite like will.i.am's music video. Pairing Barack Obama's words with music created an indelible campaign message.

5. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog : The entry to the Internet resulted in perhaps the greatest and most substantial Web series yet. In three parts, the 43-minute film starring Neil Patrick Harris as a wannabe evildoer was distributed for free on Hulu and then for pay on iTunes (and then for free again on Hulu).

6. Paris Hilton Responds to McCain Ad: When Sen. McCain ran a campaign ad comparing Mr. Obama's celebrity to that of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, the hotel heiress jumped into the fray. In a video, Ms. Hilton announced her mock-candidacy for the presidency. More than 8 million watched.

7. Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon: ABC's Jimmy Kimmel got a surprise from his then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman during a show in early 2008. In the video, Ms. Silverman suggested she was sleeping with Matt Damon. By July, Mr. Kimmel and Ms. Silverman really did split.

8. Puppy Cam: The litter is now being dispersed, but while the six Shiba Inu pups were together, they were stars on Ustream.tv's Puppy Cam . More than 4 million watched.

9. Frozen in Time: In a video posted in late January, the comedy troupe Improve Everywhere gathered 200 people to stand frozen in place at New York's Grand Central Terminal while confused travelers gawked. The video has been watched by more than 14 million on YouTube.

10. Late-night Hosts Brawl: In a mock feud over who was most influential to Mike Huckabee's unlikely rise among Republican presidential candidates, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert convened to settle the score. In a hysterical fight (which is still available on NBC.com), the three hosts battled to a perfect tri-knockout.


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