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U. of Utah video gaining fame for seemingly unintentional comedy

Published June 4, 2014 10:35 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's got lip-syncing. Dancing chemists. An omnipresent sax man.

A video posted last week to thank donors to the University of Utah is gaining momentum online for ... well, you kinda gotta see it.

"Together We Reach-ed" opens with university president David W. Pershing sitting in a wingback chair. Pershing announces the end of the Together We Reach fundraising campaign and tells contributors that the money will make the school stronger.

"But," he says, "instead of hearing from me, let's hear it from our students, who can say it best."

Funk ensues.

The video had nearly 12,000 views Monday night on YouTube. Commenters there and elsewhere on social media seemed torn as to whether the video is sincere, a spoof, or the product of some sort of BYU media infiltration.

"Another loss for BYU in the rivalry. On the plus side, all of BYU's zoobs appear to have transferred to the University of Utah," one commenter writes.

"Is this real or a parody?" another asks.

Also:

"I am a proud alumnus, but that pride took a beating just now."

"So many choice moments in this video."

"Together we retch-ed?"

"I've watched this four times already. Can't stop laughing!"

"Is this the new fight song?"

———

A spokeswoman for the university had a somewhat-abashed sense of humor about the whole thing Tuesday.

"We're happy to see so many people are enjoying it," said Maria O'Mara. "It's unfortunate that in our exuberance we brought a little too much camp to campus, I'm afraid."

The video was created to play at the end of a May 21 thank-you dinner for donors who had given $2,500 or more this year, she said. The song was composed by a faculty member, who was compensated, along with the students who sung it; the U. also paid for studio time. The total cost was $3,495.

"We were hoping to hit heartfelt and folksy, and unfortunately we landed somewhere south of campy and just this side of cheesy," she said. "While cheese is an important food group, I think we filled our quota for the year."

Erin Alberty. Reporter Lindsay Whitehurst contributed.