The disappointment of being passed over for a job quickly turned to smiles for unemployed Marcus McArthur when he ripped up the rejection letter in front of his 8-month-old son, Micah — and inadvertently triggered the Giggle Heard ’Round the World.
Little Micah burst into a hearty belly laugh when dad shredded his no-go notice, and Marcus quickly grabbed the videocam. And in the five weeks since McArthur uploaded the 1-minute, 44-second video to YouTube on a lark, the video has been viewed an eye-popping 5.5 million times, with help from TV actress Alyssa Milano.
Appearing live on TODAY Friday with wife Amanda and Micah, now a big boy of 10 months, McArthur told Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira that he’s still on the job hunt as he finishes up his Ph.D. in American history at St. Louis University in Missouri. A stay-at-home dad while his wife works at the university, McArthur said he was sorting through the mail when he opened up a letter containing a job rejection.
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‘He just went crazy’
When McArthur began ripping up the letter, “All of the sudden, [Micah] started bursting out laughing next to me, which was great; it really lifted my spirits,” he said. “I turned and thought, ‘Oh, I’ll grab my camera and tape it to send to mom at work.’ He just went crazy.”
McArthur decided his son’s performance deserved to be shared with the world. “This is actually the first video we’d ever posted on You Tube,” he told Lauer and Vieira. “I just thought, ‘This one is so good, instead of just sharing it with family and friends, I’m going to go ahead and post.’ ”
Three weeks later, Marcus and Amanda, who are both 33 and have been married for 10 years, were quite impressed that their video had drawn 1,013 views. “We thought that was great — we don’t know that many people, what’s going on? That didn’t make sense to me,” Marcus said.
But the video suddenly launched into the viral stratosphere two weeks ago when it was discovered by actress Milano, who is pregnant by husband David Bugliari. She posted a link to the video on her Twitter account, tweeting: “If this post doesn’t make you smile, check your pulse.”
Perhaps it was a case of sympathetic vibrations echoing through the Internet: Micah’s mom, Amanda, idolized the “Who’s the Boss?” and “Charmed” actress growing up. In any event, the view counter began spinning into overdrive: The video has gained a million views just in the past day, and foreign TV shows took notice and requested permission to air it.
And even though his dad is still looking for work, Micah is bringing home some bacon at the tender age of 10 months: The McArthurs are marketing a ring tone of his laughs for 99 cents a pop. “It would be great if we could build his college fund,” Amanda McArthur told Lauer and Vieira.
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While Micah sat contentedly on his mother’s lap, sucking his thumb, Lauer decided to try to replicate Marcus’ feat by ripping up a sheet of paper for the infant. “It’s kind of hit and miss,” Marcus cautioned.
Indeed, Micah smiled but didn’t chuckle when Lauer tried the trick. But the TODAY anchor wasn’t daunted; when Lauer staged a dramatic sneeze, he elicited a laugh out of the tot.Video: Web’s laughing baby visits studio (on this page)
Marcus has only one regret about his video hit: If he had it to do again, he wouldn’t have dressed Marcus in a pink onesie that day, which led many watchers of the video to believe his son is a daughter.
“If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have had him in his pink outfit,” the dad told Stltoday.com. “I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do when Micah grows up.”
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