Woman in Chewbacca mask sets the record for most-viewed Facebook Live post ever
A Texas mom's Chewbacca mask just gave rise to the most popular Facebook Live post in history
Candace Payne is not a celebrity.
Nor has she shared live footage of someone giving birth without their knowledge.
Payne is a mom from Dallas, Texas, who really appreciates "the simple joys in life" — like Star Wars merch and making videos in her car.
And yet, with zero resources outside of her phone, a personal Facebook profile, and one very fun Chewbacca mask, she managed to master something this week that brands and publishers across the globe have been sinking their all into for months.
Payne has crushed the record for the most-viewed Facebook Live post in history.
The roughly four-minute-long video, titled "It's the simple joys in life..." currently boasts a view count of just over 114 million views as of Saturday afternoon.
Buzzfeed's famous "watermelon elastic" stream held the title previously with about 10 million views, according to Tech Insider, despite the attempts of many publishers to build up bigger numbers since Facebook Live rolled out to non-celebrities in April.
So how did a 37-year-old mother of two become the most successful user of Facebook's live-streaming service in history?
It's hard to know, exactly, but Payne's infectious laugh, positive attitude, and surprisingly life-like Chewbacca mask are certainly making a lot of people happy right now.
My favorite thing about viral Chewbacca mask woman is that she went into the comments to continue laughing <a href="https://t.co/CE6UCIORSC">pic.twitter.com/CE6UCIORSC</a>—@CaseyNewton
Listening to other people watching the "laughing Chewbacca mask lady" video over a conference call is the best way to experience that video.—@missingwords
The woman with the Chewbacca mask might be the best thing I've seen all year. Just pure unmitigated joy—@christopher0583
"For Payne, the simple joy came in the form of a Chewbacca mask," writes Slate about why the video might be such a hit.
"For us, it comes in the form of a rare viral video that isn't a cynical play for views and that's funny at no one's expense."
There's also something to be said for the value of organically-produced internet content – especially when much of what see on Facebook now is designed to generate likes, shares and clicks.
"I'm just laughing – in all honesty, that is ridiculous," Payne told the BBC on Friday of how popular her video has become. "I've looked at the number of views and it just seems like someone is just playing with a calculator."
Payne also explained that she hadn't originally even planned on buying the mask. She decided to pick it up while returning some things to her local Kohl's store. She's not a huge Star Wars fan, but it was on the clearance rack and she liked it.
When she tried it on in the parking lot after leaving Kohl's, she realized that she more than liked it. She loved it.
"I could see myself in the camera, and I saw this view and I could not stop laughing at how gleeful Chewbacca looked," she told BBC News. "I thought 'Chewbacca's found his joy!'"
Kohl's responded with a video of their own — showing up at her house to thank her with a slew of Star Wars merch for her kids, including some Chewbacca masks of their very own. The company posted that video to its Facebook page Saturday morning, where it has already racked up more than 10 million views.
At least a few of Payne's new fans are now seeking out the joy of a Chewbacca mask for themselves.
According to Forbes, the "Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Chewbacca Electronic Mask" by Hasbro, (which was already marked down from $44.99 US to $17.99 online) was sold out at Kohl's by Friday afternoon.
Chewbacca mask sales are up an astounding 916,298% on Amazon after that viral video <a href="https://t.co/u5LWd5iWJp">https://t.co/u5LWd5iWJp</a> <a href="https://t.co/8C2eTE7K2q">pic.twitter.com/8C2eTE7K2q</a>—@passantino
Nobody is a better authority on being Chewbacca, however, than actor Peter Mayhew, who literally plays the character in every Star Wars film.
"Absolutely wonderful!" he wrote on Reddit after seeing the video Friday. "Cheers."