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Ben Folds Jokes About Online Impersonator in ChatRoulette Set

March 22, 2010 11:42 AM ET

When a pianist named "Merton" began improvising piano ditties for the people he encountered on ChatRoulette and posted the clips on YouTube, many — including New York's Vulture blog — speculated that the hooded performer was actually Ben Folds performing in disguise (the resemblance is pretty uncanny). As Merton's videos became increasingly viral — he's collected over four million views in 11 days — Folds' publicist finally denied the singer is the ChatRoulette star, according to EW. Merton's video description was later updated, reiterating that he is not Folds. However, at a concert this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Folds impersonated his impersonator by performing an "Ode to Merton" live onstage and on ChatRoulette in front of 2,000 fans, penning impromptu odes to the random strangers Folds and the crowd encountered on the video-chat site.

Folds' video, like Merton's, opens with a disclaimer that the clip will feature dirty words. (Folds also says the video was edited to omit all penises, which anyone who uses ChatRoulette knows is a creepy epidemic on the site.) Some of the strangers Folds meets include a man on the toilet and "Bobby," a dude holding a sideways sign that reads, "If you turn your head, I win." Odd, odd characters, and Folds, donning a hoodie, does his best to ensure his own viral ode to a viral video replicates the success of its predecessor. We're hoping both Folds and Merton keep this up, as watching songs about ChatRoulette users is almost as fun as using the site itself. Check out the original Merton clip below:

Related Stories:
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Ben Folds Five Revive "Reinhold Messner" at Inaugural MySpace "Front to Back" Show
Ben Folds Five Reunion: "The Chemistry Is Back"

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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