Two unassuming California teens named Daniel and Josh have found themselves at the eye of an internet hurricane in recent days thanks to a massively viral compilation of Snapchat videos in which the unseen Josh half-teases, half-compliments his friend Daniel on some savvy fashion choices. Mostly, the smartphone-shot video depicts the grinning Josh walking around as his friend affects an excited voice and says things like, “Daaaaaamn, Daniel! Back at it again with the white Vans!” There really isn’t much more to the meme than that, and even Daniel and Josh themselves were at a loss to explain the phenomenon when they appeared on Ellen. Nevertheless, what started as a private joke between friends has now become a bona fide internet sensation with tens of millions of views.
Whatever the meme’s appeal, a flood of “Damn, Daniel” parodies and copycats is inevitable. A Los Angeles-based comedy troupe called Practical Folks has decided to cut right to the chase and invoke pop culture’s greatest fictional Daniel of all time: Daniel LaRusso, the New Jersey-born teen deathlessly portrayed by Ralph Macchio in John G. Avildsen’s 1984 crowd pleaser, The Karate Kid. “Damn, Daniel-san” is the obvious “Damn, Daniel” parody America needs and deserves right now. Conceived by James A. Janisse and narrated by Chelsea Rebecca, the 30-second clip takes footage from the Avildsen film and adds horizontal framing to make it look like it had been shot on a shaky iPhone. Rebecca enthuses over Macchio’s sartorial splendor, from his sleeveless T-shirt to his red hoodie. Even a less-than-chic black eye rates a “Damn, Daniel-san!” here. Macchio doesn’t actually wear Vans in the movie and is, in fact, barefoot during the climactic tournament sequence, so Josh’s signature catchphrase becomes: “Back at it again with the white gi!”