Sad news! Eduard Khil, a Russian singer dubbed Mr. Trololo or Trololo Guy thanks to a viral video from the ’70s, has passed away. The video in question (above, with subtitles so you can sing along at home) is an example of how utterly bizarre internet culture is: All that Mr. Trololo does is sing the same syllables over and over, but it’s become a beloved meme that’s been mashed up and parodied over the last few years.
According to some interviews with Khil, the video originally had lyrics about riding your horse on the prairie, but he was banned from singing the words because they sounded too pro-America. Rumor has it that he decided instead to just sing these vocalizations: “tro-lo-lo-lo-lo,” “ho-ho-ho-ho-ho,” “yeh-yeh-yeh,” etc. What I didn’t know was that the video became part of the zeitgeist when Christoph Waltz parodied it after his 2010 Oscar win for Inglourious Basterds (start around 0:45):
His dorky affection for this song got people watching the original, and then it got worked into pop culture. Like on Family Guy:
It even made it into one of those Hitler memes:
Sadly, Khil died this weekend after being hospitalized in late May after a stroke. He suffered irreversible damage and succumbed yesterday. He was 77. I only hope he knew that his humor and singing voice were appreciated by so many, even if that acclaim came thirty-five years later.