New York, NY “He’s Still Dancing! He’s Still Dancing!…He Stopped.”

Okay, first off, Vince Vaughn really is about 73 feet tall. He’s both tall and famous simultaneously. It’s unheard of.

Wake-up call at 5:15.  Fell back asleep until quarter to. Another half hour and I’m in the car on the way to the studio. It’s a six block walk from my hotel, but they don’t take any chances.

"So what’s your thing?" the driver asks.
"I’m going to dance in Times Square."
"You a professional dancer?"
"Not really, no."

The drivers are always great to talk to, cause every day they’re alone with some random new person who did something people find interesting.

"Who’d you have in here yesterday?"
"That American Idol guy. Hicks. I think I’m driving him somewhere today, too."

If you’re not onboard for the name-dropping, you might as well stop reading right now.

Got deposited at the studio in Times Square. Rode the world’s hugest elevator up to the green room (could easily accommodate a van), where the small entourage of Stride marketing and PR folks were gathering.

I can say it now. Stride long-lasting chewing gum. That is my mysterious benefactor. They sent me on this trip. They are very nice people and their gum really does last a long time.

Hair and make-up took all of 10 seconds. I removed my glasses.

The producer asked, "Don’t you wear your glasses in the video?"
"Only when I forget to take them off."
"When I think of you, you have glasses on. Would you mind wearing them?"

Alrighty. I guess we’ll be pushing the nerd angle, huh?

As I was being mic’d (bit of the industry lingo there), the sound guys blasted Sweet Lullaby through a massive speaker outside.

One of the crew yells, "Katie Couric just called. She says to turn it down!"

Turns out this is her last morning on The Today Show a few blocks over.

…soooo I guess I don’t have to worry about anyone actually watching, huh?

They brought me out into Times Square. The same spot I danced in three years ago for the last clip of the original video. I’m turned 90 degrees, so it’s a different Sony Jumbotron, but still huge.

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Awkward.

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Strangely, much less awkward.

I’m not sure I can actually use the clip I got with my camera. It’s across the street and a little too far away. Unfortunately, you only get one chance on live television. Oh, well.

I’m going to wander the city tomorrow and see if I can find any street performers willing to dance with me instead.

After that bit, they took me across for an interview outside the studio.

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I want to know what I did to that girl in the center. Did I run over her dog? Do I owe her child support? Why does she hate me so?

First Charlie Gibson came out. He has a warm, avuncular presence, and jowls that you want to crawl inside of and take a nap in.

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Diane Sawyer was nowhere to be seen. The producer later told me she ran into Vince Vaughan in the hallway and spontaneously started telling him about the dancing guy she’s gotta go meet outside.

These things happen.

I gotta say, she really seemed interested in the whole thing. For a lady who’s interviewed every living US president, she mustered some genuine enthusiasm for my ridiculous shtick.

Or if it was faked, at least I bought it.

Melissa said she seemed like a friend of my mom’s who hadn’t seen me since I was little and was really proud of me.

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Great. So everyone knows which camera to look at but me.

Afterwards I was led inside. Vince Vaughn was there chatting with the weather guy while about 30 production women stood casually circled around him, pretending not to stare but obviously evaluating his every twitch and gesture.

It’s that thing only women and gay men can do: look with the eyes, not the head. Start with their hair, scan down to the shoes, and back up to the top before anyone notices. They pick up more in that 1/5 of a second than I would see with forensic equipment and a University grant.

The hushed reverence with which we regard celebrities…I suppose I’m as guilty as anyone, but it’s really quite silly. And don’t console yourself that everybody’s like that — it’s mostly just us Americans who so readily confuse notoriety with importance.

There’s a reason famous people keep moving to France.

I was directed toward the dinosaur elevator, but Vince Vaughn was blocking my path, so I wedged between him and the weather guy. He’s so damn tall I doubt he even noticed, but the gaggle of gawkers were stunned at my insolence.

Sat around in the green room for a while, then was led into a booth for another interview on Good Morning America radio. You get to talk longer on radio, so the answers don’t have to be quite so measured and concise. It was a pleasant 5 minute exchange.

The guy in the control room is also named Matt and he wanted me to dance with him. He is much better at it than me.

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And that was it. I’m back in my hotel room and left to my own devices until Friday, when I fly home and complete my second round-the-world loop.

My hotel room has a GameCube. No room service, but all the Mario Tennis I can handle. I could be wandering around and enjoying my favorite city, but I really just want to sit on a couch and play videogames until, like, August.

Here’s the segment in super-low-quality video. I have a slight cold, so excuse the frog in my throat and no, I don’t always sound like that.

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Windows Media (10MB)

17 Responses to New York, NY “He’s Still Dancing! He’s Still Dancing!…He Stopped.”

  1. jon

    I’ll have to disagree on it just being us Americans that confuse notoriety with importance. Here in Belgium, most of the famous people here are famous for being famous.

    And almost everyone treats them like they’re special.

  2. Congrats! It’s awesome to see you back on US soil, although it must be totally weird for you. I’m sad that I’m not in NYC anymore, or I’d find you and take you out for a well-deserved beer…

    I uploaded a copy of the video to YouTube for those non-WindowsMedia people; we’ll see how long it lasts there.

    link to youtube.com

  3. Sharon

    Hey Matt,
    Welcome back and thanks for posting the GMA segment with previews of the upcoming video. I missed the broadcast. I agree, Diane Sawyer, actually the entire GMA gang, seemed genuinely enthused by your dancing – hey how can they not be … C’mon!!

    Pretty amazing that you got some big time sponsorship for this trip … hmm … I’m thinking I see movie deal in your future ..hehe.

  4. Katie

    Welcome back Matt! Congratulations on completing your trip. I wish you any continued success you can wring out of this. As a show of support, I bought a pack of Stride gum yesterday.

  5. AMG

    Times Square ! You did it, great to see it – Good Job Matt and now I have to go buy some gum ! Later –

  6. Rich

    Well, I caught the first half. I asked my fiancee to tape the show. She saw segment#1 then figured that was it. I don’t know who the hell Vince Vaughn is and I don’t really care, but I know who Matt Harding is and I do care. :)

    There is just something about your manner that I really, really like. Maybe that you are 100% real and 0% poser?

    I can’t wait to see the actual video.

    Oh, and I’m going to go find out about Stride Long Lasting Chewing gum now.

    Rich

  7. Canada, the real reason people visit North America

    Hello there arrogant american. I hate to say that just because a few bad seeds(probably ex-americans looking for a better place to live)have asked you to come to our country and taint it with your crude brand of so called dancing, does not mean that you are welcome here. I don’t know why but we seem to have this thing against jackasses up here. GO FIGURE! So please, do us and the rest of the world a favor, and stay in your own damn country!! In case you guys haven’t figured it out yet, the rest of the world DOES NOT LIKE YOU!! I don’t think I could make it any clearer but you morons won’t keep to yourselves. Now why don’t you go sleep with your sister, drink a 6 pack of “beer”, and go watch some nascar you hillbilly piece of yank crap!!

  8. I am jealous of you.
    What a wonderful quirky way to become well-known by dancing silly
    all
    over
    the
    place.

    Saw you back when you started and witnesses several spoofs along the way.

    Thanks for posting the video from GMA but have to admit I saw it on YouTube first
    (Jason!)

    Stride long-lasting chewing gum —
    Off to the store to support your cause!

  9. annoyances

    Haha, Canadians… 😀
    Good job on getting coverage and keep on chewing that gum. Hope you get bigger, if that’s what you want, and never sell out, though I think there’s a definite ceiling with dancing, but who knows?

  10. Jena

    I’m old timer to your journal — been a reader for a loooong time, and frankly, you’re the bomb! Congrats on the props.

    WE LOVE YOU!!!
    Jena & Alex

  11. Chris

    You and my father dance very similar. I wonder if you taught him, or he taught you. In either case I really enjoyed your video and admire your view. Keep on dancing!

    P.S. Great choice of song. Make more music videos.

  12. chris

    i challenge you matt to an all around the world trip and everywhere we stop we juggle vegetables and chimpanzees. it’ll be great, together we shall conquer the arts of chimp juggling across nation after nation and when we get back to our origin point we can eat sum nachoes, sound good? lol, seriously though, i wanna dance everywhere……GOSH

  13. Candace Kowal

    It’s so wonderful to see you dance again Matt!

    My co-workers know how much I admire you, and one of them even woke me up bright and early to tell me you were on Good Morning America =)

    I can’t express how much of a happy Canadian I was to watch this! Now I really can’t wait until this newest dance is complete =)

    Have you decided on any particular songs? Or are you going with Sweet Lullaby again for nostalga’s sake?

  14. Alison

    Matt, you take me right back to my traveling days and remind me of those beautiful places and people out there. Don’t EVER change the music – Deep forest makes it just right!!!!! Thanks for restoring my travel memories. I could watch your crazy videos a 100 times over!

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