Don’t you just love Christmas in New York? The slushy snow melting into your shoes. Countless salespeople trying to stop you in your tracks. The random people dressed as off-brand Hello Kitty, Iron Man, and Elmo frolicking the streets.
For one extremely tall redditor, running through the 212 while wearing Will Ferrell’s Elf costume fit right into the theme of a New York Christmas. In a short YouTube clip, “Elfing Around NYC,” the acting “Buddy” Jonathan Birse reenacts the popular movie montage where Buddy the Elf runs around New York City.
Compared to the real deal, it’s a strong recreation, and still fun to watch nonetheless. Birse uploaded this video in 2011, but dusts it off annually.
Birse told the Daily Dot that he and a friend created the video while on a day trip to visit his sister in Brooklyn. At the time, Birse shared the clip with family and friends, then posted it to Reddit. However, the video really took off when Jon Favreau, the Elf director himself, shared Birse’s video on Twitter.
“It would get a surge of views around the Christmastime—friends and family would repost it on Facebook around the holidays. And I’d post it once on Reddit around the Holidays to see if it gained any traction,” Brise said via email. “This year it happened to get picked up and got another influx of views, going from about [80,000 views] to whatever it is currently at [more than 162,000 views.]”
And throughout the video, even as Birse jumps through hoards of people, rides the escalator incorrectly, and asks to see his father at the Empire State Building, most New Yorkers do not bat a single eye at this strange man’s antics. Because for New Yorkers, watching a Buddy the Elf lookalike eat gum off a subway entrance is just another day.
Unfortunately Birse’s account (TallRedditor) was suspended in less than a day from the video’s posting to Reddit, but he did answer a few questions before the suspension. Birse said he had no idea why his account was suspended, but that it’s probably a misunderstanding.
A Google search of the video’s title also reveals a second video taken in 2012, in which Birse again does other Elf New York things, like finally running through that revolving door (which still wasn’t fast enough). Birse said he ultimately felt the second video wasn’t good as the first, and has left it unlisted on his YouTube account.
So can we someday anticipate a third Elf video? Since Birse’s sister no longer lives in New York he doesn’t have much of a reason to visit the Big Apple, but even then, he’s not sure a third could be as successful.
“I would make more videos, if I thought people would enjoy it, but my concern was that it would just be rehashing the same material that was from the first video—there are only so many things that Buddy the Elf does in Elf that would make for an entertaining video,” Birse said.
At least the internet can enjoy Birse’s first creation for another holiday season.