MadV (YouTube cultural icon)

Every now and then I stumble across something on YouTube that seems to have a huge group of followers… that nobody else knows about. I previously posted about Ramady’s Michael Jackson dance lessons, Pui City Basement’s beatboxing tutorials, YouTube community in-jokes, and Terri Naomi and the number of covers of her song “Say It’s Possible“. I think all these groups really reflect the sort of interactions that a personal Internet can create.

One community that really struck me was the group that formed around MadV, an illusionist and entertainer who seemed to capture the imaginations of a lot of people looking for something amazing. He wears the same stylised Guy Fawkes mask as the character V as portrayed in the V for Vendetta movie (based on the comic by Alan Moore).

MadV left YouTube over six months ago (to pursue a career in television) and a lot of fans mourned his departure. Recently, he returned to start a “One World” video contest in which people wrote messages on their hands and submitted videos of themselves showing their hands to the camera (“speak to the hand!”)… not sure it did much for me… a little too melodramatic. Anyhow, the response was impressive. Here’s a video compilation of his videos that he uploaded as a goodbye message to his fans:

A number of people have tried to pick up the MadV mantle. A lot of people replicate his floating card tricks, but few try new things with the same style. The most prominent is probably MadVapprentice (he wears the same mask, but a black hoodie instead of a grey one). He seems to have a similar flair, but I haven’t found his tricks as appealing. This card trick (labelled “one of the best card tricks today”) is a little too obvious to me. This ring trick is neat though. I look forward to more from him in future.

27 thoughts on “MadV (YouTube cultural icon)”

  1. Mad V just has something…he was always compelling, for no reason I could articulate, but I’m glad to see him back. I just wish I knew what he’d been doing in the meantime. Seems such a waste just to put the guy on ice for six months.

    One interesting aspect of the Mad V phenomenon is that, although I believe he’s American, his biggest following is in the UK and Europe. Strange that in a so-called global village, we still differ in who and what we select for celebrity.

  2. Yes. Very difficult to articulate.

    I hope that he’s decided that he can engage a broader audience on the web (rather than on television) and that he can make enough money to have it make sense (like PurePwnage).

  3. madv is wicked, but i dont understand why people think i am him??? just ecause i put a video on youtube and my user name was *madv1988* people think he is me, i knoe nothing about magic! but he is one cool guy!!!

  4. I no the real madv and he is one of my best friends. hes english by the way. Icarnt believe hes made this many ppl tlk about him on the net.ive been trying to get him to teach me some magic for years but all he taught me was the egg cup triklol:(. Bye

  5. yeah explain that! I mean, an american couldnt POSSIBLY be in England, nor could he possibly travel to England for a holiday! Seriously if this guy is smart enuff to learn these magic tricks, then sure hes smart enuff to ask a backpacker if he could read a few lines, and get 50 bux out of it. Honestly raincoaster, i think your just not trying hard enough…. puto…

    Victor Montoya

  6. Victor, you’re an ass. But you knew that.

    Who knows where MadV is: MadV is universal, which is why that’s the only video with voice and he seems to have killed it. I like the mystery, I like the universality. But I can’t pretend that was an English voice I heard.

  7. The “english” you are referring to is taken from a “Waking Life”

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0243017/

    It’s taken from the movie, that is NOT MadV’s Voice.

    Google is your friend 🙂

    Quote: “The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity is that I think it has something very important to offer us… I’m afraid were losing the real virtues of living life passionately in the sense of taking responsibility for who you are the ability to make something of yourself and feel good about life. Existentialism is often discussed as if it were a philosophy of despair, but I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre, once interviewed, said he never felt once minute of despair in his life. One thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance, of feeling on top of it, its like your life is yours to create. Ive read the post modernists with some interest, even admiration, but when I read them I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as being fragmented of marginalised, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. And when sartre talks about responsibilty, he’s not talking about something abstract. He’s not taling about the kind of self or souls that theologians would talk about. Hes talking about you and me talking, making descisions, doing things, and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are six billion people in this world, and counting, but nevertheless -what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms, to other people, and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we shouuld never write ourselves off or see each other as a victim of various forces. It’s always our descision who we are.”

  8. i must say that i am infact a huge fan of madv, i only wish i could do the things he does, but however he does it its crazy. Just out of curiosity though, the commenter named madv’s friend, how do we kno your really his friend, for all we kno your just some random person who found this webpage like i did and desided to say u were his friend, if u are then thats pretty cool, lol i wish i was his friend but if you arent then thats just low………….by the way what is this video “to the haters”, i have never seen it how do i find it,
    Gram….

  9. I can only say one thing about MadV and that is WOW! He has touched my life so much and it is amazing that finally someone in this world has steped up and spoke the truth. MadV will always be a great icon and a leagend that will carry on! ONE WORLD!

  10. actually he’s American
    if u check the name “zerhynn” on youtube u will find its madv’s other profile
    he doesnt have a European accent
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjiy_wlevkU
    chek that link and u will find that the entire setting down to the clothes are madv’s
    he is not european
    SCORE FOR THE USA
    i KNEW IT creativity like that and it had to be american

  11. None of you guys know anything about the REAL MadV. He sat next to me in my math class… He isn’t french, nor is he european. Almost no one knows who he is, including his parents (they’ve never heard of MadV and he intends to keep it that way.)

    Hey, to *MadV’s friend*- he never taught you anything. He doesn’t know who you are.

    And he doesn’t have any photos anywhere for the fear of being discovered. I can put a picture here though. Again, not his real face. These are from his personal profile. (I’m not giving you a website. Deal with it.)

  12. who ever it is, whatever nationality he is, or country he’s from,
    it shouldn’t matter, he does good, thats all we really need to think about, if we knew who it was behind the mask it would somewhat ruin the effects of his videos, he sends out a good message and thats what should matter

    not to mention I true magician will never show their face
    🙂

  13. The fact that his video is mostly about inspiring people proved that he’s a believer of the good in human. I am sorry to say that he is a rare species, not many noble man like him exist anymore

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