Video Hangover: Digital Underground – “The Humpty Dance”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“The Humpty Dance”
Digital Underground, 1990

You got it down when you appear to be in pain.

Get your finger out of that nose — you don’t know where that nose has been
I don’t know what’s funnier: that the band where Tupac got his start prominently featured a guy whose “alter ego” wore a Groucho nose and rhymed “licorice” with “ticklish,” or that silly white kids like me not only memorized said rhymes, but actually believed that the nose was a prosthetic that Humpty Hump had to wear as a result of a disfiguring encounter with a Burger King deep-fryer.

The Humpty Dance Video: An American Tragedy
Has any legitimate #1 single in the last 25 years squandered more potential for video immortality? A guy with a giant fake nose, references to public sex, oatmeal, and fat girls, and step-by-step instructions on how to do a dance that’s supposed to look like MC Hammer on crack — this could have been the best hip-hop video of the ’90s — maybe even the best of all time, in any genre — but it just … sucks. And not the good, Limahl-singing-the-Neverending-Story-is-secretly-awesome kind of sucking. It’s poorly shot (terrible angles in the concert scenes; boom mike visible at 2:30), packed with filler (all the people getting served in the parking lot), and completely lacking in memorable moments (okay, he measures a pickle, but does Humpty even do his own dance?). This whole thing makes me angry. Frankly, I think we can do better. And so I’d like to announce the first-ever completely spontaneous, totally unsanctioned, wildly unnecessary Video Hangover “Save A Video” Contest. Post your ideas (or treatments) for a harder, better, faster, stronger Humpty Dance video in the comments, and we’ll ask Humpty Hump to pick the best one (if, you know, he’s available). Then we’ll get a bunch of money and put it on YouTube (the video, not the money). Let’s rectify this terrible historical error and give the Humpty Dance the video it deserves!

Got a candidate for Video Hangover? Email tips at stereogum dot com.