A braying Chewbacca mask found “on clearance” has shot a Texas mother to internet stardom.
Candace Payne was not expecting to purchase the mask when she went to her local Kohls department store, just outside of Dallas, Texas. She doesn’t even consider herself a huge Star Wars fan.
On Thursday, the 37-year-old mother of two was returning some items and was going to spend her birthday money on some exercise clothes or something “for the kids”.
“That’s just crazy,” Mrs Payne told the BBC. “I’m just laughing – in all honesty, that is ridiculous. I’ve looked at the number of views and it just seems like someone is just playing with a calculator.”
It’s a big number: So far, more than 48 million people have watched Payne laugh hysterically as she shows Facebook her new purchase. (Update: As of early Saturday, the video has had 91 million views.)
The last record-breaking Facebook Live video, of an exploding watermelon, was produced by Buzzfeed and came in at little over 10 million views.
The social media site introduced live stream capabilities to all of its users in April. Users are able to live stream for up to 30 minutes and can save their broadcasts to their Facebook page.
“I could see myself in the camera, and I saw this view and I could not stop laughing at how gleeful Chewbacca looked. I thought ‘Chewbacca’s found his joy!'”
This isn’t her first Facebook Live video. Mrs Payne, who also volunteers as a worship leader at her local church, said she often shares interesting moments with her friends and family on the web.
“When you are a stay-at-home mom, every now and then you just need an adult conversation. Like ‘Please someone else out there in the universe or Internet tell me I’m not the only one who finds this funny.'”
In the case of her Chewbacca mask, she was most definitely not the only one who laughed hysterically.
‘Laughed out loud’
Mrs Payne says she has received comments, emails and text messages from friends, family and strangers praising her four minute video.
But what she found most surprising is that her video helped many viewers on Facebook who were suffering from depression.
“Everyone has been really encouraging. My friends and family are saying it’s not degrading or anything for me. It just makes other people laugh” Mrs Payne said.
“I’m seeing how many people are saying ‘I suffer from depression, and this video is the first time I’ve laughed out loud in like two months.”
Mrs Payne said she is happy to be able to spread that kind of joy to lots of people.
Blog by Shefali Kulkarni