OSLO - Norway has a population of 5 million, which perhaps explains why brothers Vegard and Baard Ylvisaaker are stunned that their joke video "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" has more than 130 million hits on YouTube.
The catchy video, set partly at an animal costume party and partly in a forest, is in the top 10 of the US Billboard Streaming Songs chart.
The video starts with a question: "Dog goes woof, cat goes meow, bird goes tweet and mouse goes squeak...but there's one sound that no one knows: what does the fox say?" It provides several possible, if improbable, answers:"ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringedin","joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff" and"wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow".
The video hit 100 million views on Google's YouTube quicker than it took Korean singer PSY's "Gangnam Style", the record holder with 1.8 billion, to reach the same mark.
The brothers, who host a talk show on a Norwegian television station, have just returned home from doing the rounds of US talk shows, including "Today", "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show".
"It's embarrassing but every time we meet with somebody we get asked: 'What do you want to do next?' And we say we don't know," says Vegard, 34. "But the meetings opened doors." Brother Baard, 31, joked to Reuters that they may take over the world, or the International Space Station. "We're planning a tour of Antarctica," he threw in for good measure.
"The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" is one of several videos that the brothers make each year to promote their show "Tonight with Ylvis" on TV Norge which features routines like pranking hotel guests with a voice-activated elevator that sings and jokes or a song in homage to Norway's top peacekeeper.
The video was produced by New York-based Stargate, which works with stars like Beyoncé and Rihanna, and owed Ylvis a favour. Now the brothers get crazy requests, like to fly down to New Zealand for a five minute gig, and while they turned that down they are open to suggestions to stay ahead of competitors.
"Any day a Danish wolf song can come and we'll be so last month," Vegard joked.