SARANAC LAKE - Dustin Drury, of the Saranac Lake High School class of 2002, was sitting in his Brooklyn apartment on Wednesday evening when he saw himself on television.
No, he wasn't a wanted criminal. Clips from his sketch comedy group's musical send-up of a recent T-shirt fad were featured on ABC News' coverage of the craze.
"Three Wolf Moon" is a T-shirt produced by New Hampshire-based company The Mountain. Much like the shirt's title would suggest, it features three wolves howling at the moon. Strange as it may sound, the shirt has recently become a popular subject of snarky Web jokes and, subsequently, the biggest-selling piece of apparel on Amazon.com.
Three Dustin Drury wolves howl to Pocahontas’ singing moon.
(Still image from “Three Wolf Moon” comedy video, provided by Dustin Drury)
Drury stars in his musical comedy video as a guy with a mullet haircut and mutton-chop sideburns who is down on his luck until Pocahontas appears to him and recommends he order a "Three Wolf Moon" T-shirt. Once he dons it, he discovers that beautiful women flock to him, and he is even able to bring a car accident victim back from the dead.
"It all started when this guy made this review on Amazon making ridiculous claims about the shirt." Drury said in a phone interview Thursday. "It didn't really go viral until about two weeks ago, when people started posting tons and tons of satirical reviews about either (the shirt's) power to score women, cure diseases or raise the dead."
Drury said this was the kind of phenomenon that his sketch comedy group likes to capitalize on.
"We're always looking for the next big thing to make fun of," Drury said. "My writing partner and I picked up on all this stuff, and we were like, 'We need to do something before everyone else does.' Mainly, we were thinking we needed to beat CollegeHumor.com, which is usually the first Web site to take any kind of Web trend and make fun of it."
Drury quickly began preparing to shoot a music video: setting new words to an instrumental version of "Colors of the Wind" from Disney's "Pocahontas," collecting costumes and recruiting actors.
"My writing partner and I got together about eight days ago, sat down and tried to put as many references to the Amazon reviews into the lyrics," Drury said. "I called the company that made the T-shirt (and its artistic director, Michael McGloin) actually overnighted me seven shirts for free. He's a smart businessman; he realized whatever we were going to do would only help the craze and sell him more shirts."
On Sunday, Drury's group shot the entire sketch in about five hours. Still, they hustled to get their work online.
"Since we knew it was so important to get done, we started editing it almost immediately," Drury said. "We stayed up almost all night on Sunday editing. After sleeping four hours, we got up Monday morning and continued editing until 3 a.m. the next day."
Drury uploaded the final product to YouTube.com around 11 a.m. on Tuesday. He quickly sent the video's link to everyone involved. This included McGloin, who was being interviewed that day by ABC News regarding the Internet craze surrounding his T-shirts.
"(McGloin) called me to tell me my timing was impeccable because he received the e-mail while ABC News was interviewing him at his desk. He showed it to them, and they shot it," Drury said. "But a lot of stuff gets cut in TV, so we didn't get our hopes up."
Drury spent most of the next day trying to hype his video on the Internet, posting the link wherever he could think of. Then ABC News aired at 6:30 p.m.
"Sure enough, they showed about a full minute of clips of the video," Drury said. "I had the biggest smile on my face. I couldn't even hear what they were saying about it I was so excited."
Dustin Drury is the son of Jack Drury and Carmen Ordonez, both of Saranac Lake. He worked in Alaska as a river guide for a while until he told his parents he was moving to New York City to follow his dream of becoming an improv comedian. He works in television production to pay the bills while he does comedy on the side.
"I think it's great," Jack said Thursday. "He had this dream since he graduated from college."
Jack thinks the video is funny, too, and he doesn't think that about everything Dustin does.
"You know, some of his stuff isn't funny at all - or else it's college funny," Jack said.
Dustin's "Three Wolf Moon" YouTube video had 2,000 total views as of Wednesday morning, Jack said. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, that number was close to 42,000. By 8 a.m. today, it was around 90,000.
That's nowhere near the most-watched videos on YouTube, with more than a million views. It's not even up there (yet?) with his spoof Joaquin Phoenix rap video from three months ago (more than 301,000 views as of 8 a.m.) or his "Jon & Kate Plus 8" parodies of the past month, but still, it's a break in a growing comedy career.
Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley contributed to this report.