When he was 7, he was a viral video star. Now his college acceptance has gone viral.

Star of ‘David After Dentist’ viral video going to University of Florida

After ‘David After Dentist’ YouTube viral video star David Devore’s dad announces the Florida teen is admitted to the University of Florida, alum and strangers alike celebrate the news on social media.
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After ‘David After Dentist’ YouTube viral video star David Devore’s dad announces the Florida teen is admitted to the University of Florida, alum and strangers alike celebrate the news on social media.

Remember that kid from the “David After Dentist” video on YouTube, the one who sat dazed and confused in the back seat of his dad’s post-dental surgery car pondering life?

The cute kid who let loose with a two-second scream of frustration that gave voice to all 138 million viewers?

The 7-year-old kid wearing a University of Florida Gators shirt who asked his Dad and the universe: “Is this real life?”

Nearly 11 years later, his Dad provided the answer on the “David After Dentist” Instagram page:

“Yes this is real life! David found out he is officially a Gator today! So proud of him. Lots of hard work has paid off!”

Yep, David is soon-to-be a Florida Gator. On Feb. 8, he was admitted into UF’s Innovation Academy.

He will start his major field of study at UF in the spring of 2020 — six months after graduating Holy Cross Lutheran Academy in Lake Mary, Florida.

David’s a Gator

David Devore’s post on behalf of his 18-year-old son, also named David Devore, was met with much of the same delight that greeted the world’s introduction to the momentarily confused kid in the car who wondered, “Is this forever?” on the classic YouTube video.

NBC’s “Today” program aired a segment a few days after the Instagram post. The program shared the story of the viral video and the happy outcome a decade later — that David Jr. will attend “his dream college” as a member of University of Florida’s class of 2023.

UF fittingly welcomed David After Dentist on social media with a tweet. And though the young Devore told “Today” that he is thinking of a computer science path next year, UF’s College of Dentistry also opened its doors to the young man should computer science not be real life enough.

“With all due respect, we might suggest David the #GatorDentist, D.M.D. Class of 2027?,” the dental school tweeted in its congratulatory post.

The senior Devore responded to the dental school’s welcome with a comment that the original dentist who worked on the kid’s mouth would probably appreciate.

“Wow! Now we have come full circle with this!,” Devore Sr. wrote. “This is awesome. Well, you never know! One thing for sure this will make him smile! Go Gators!”

UF business administration junior Patrick Murray, 20, told the Independent Florida Alligator he was a big fan of the “David After Dentist” video and had watched the YouTube clip some 15 times over the years.

“I would literally quote the video with my friends so being able to say that I go to the same school as him now has left me speechless,” Murray told the campus paper.

Video’s impact

That original two-minute YouTube clip made David Devore Jr. a viral video star. And it still amuses viewers a decade later, earning the honorarium of “Old School YouTube Gold” from one person on Twitter who, like many, identified with David’s scream.

In the video, after grogginess compels little David to announce, “I can’t see anything,” as he shifts forward in his car seat to gentle admonishment from his dad to stay put. Then the scream. He listlessly slips back against the seat, seemingly exhausted, only to counter with an “I don’t feel tired” response that counters his body language.

Who hasn’t felt like that, even without the effect of anesthesia?

There is also a Kids React to Viral Videos YouTube channel and, of course, “David After Dentist” is the first one they see and respond to.

The original video was shot in May 2008 by the senior Devore from the front seat of his car on a flip top phone for the amusement of the family and their friends after David had a tooth pulled. Dad didn’t post it to YouTube until January 2009.

That year, “David After Dentist,” became the second most-viewed video on YouTube with 37 million views, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Only Susan Boyle’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” on “Britain’s Got Talent” bested the kid with 120 million views. (Boyle’s still ahead with some 235 million views for that one clip and there are others that also show that performance.)

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the surprise hit turned out to be a boost to the family’s finances. Devore earns money for ads that appear before the clip through an arrangement with YouTube, he told NBC’s Today show in 2015.

No other school

As for the source of all this amusement, the UF-bound Devore told “Today Parents” there was no other school for him but that Gainesville institution. His father and paternal grandfather are Florida Gators. So were two aunts and an uncle.

Devore Jr. did mention the old video on his UF application essay, the Alligator reported, but he did say he was ready to move beyond the childhood clip.

“I don’t want ‘David After Dentist’ to be all I’m ever known for. I just want to do more with my life, and UF gives me the tools to do so.”

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.