Exclusive: YouTube personalities Juan Bago and ‘O’ spoof beloved Latino cure-all: Vicks VapoRub
This ointment is the solution to the world’s problems.
Who grew up with Vicks VapoRub?
For many Latino families, the mentholated topical ointment is also called Vivaporu - and it’s something that was slathered onto my chest as a kid - for any reason. You have a cold? Vivaporu. Your head hurts? Vivaporu. It can fix anything.
I still get flashbacks… and apparently so do NYC-based funny men Juan Bago (his real name is Michael Diaz) and ‘O’ (his real name is Oscar Martinez), who just dropped a new video titled ‘Vivaporu’ that spoofs the Latino cure-it-all cream. The duo is known in the upper Manhattan community for their hilarious spoofs - most notably last year’s “Pan Con Queso,” which garnered more than one million views on YouTube.
Today, Juan Bago and ‘O’ are dropping two new spoofs - “Vivaporu” (which pays homage to Kanye West’s song “Cold,” originally “Theraflu”) and “Hooked On Hookah,” about the trend that is smoking flavored tobacco. In “Vivaporu,” Juan Bago and ‘O’ discover the miracles of Vicks VapoRub and kick off a crusade to heal the world, eventually landing them in an infomercial. I’m a fan - I just wonder what Juan Bago and ‘O’s mothers will think when they see it.
In a phone chat, Juan Bago spoke to Univision News about the duo’s project, and the influence Vivaporu has had on his life. I’m not kidding.
Read our full interview below:
I assume you grew up with Vicks VapoRub…
I did. My father refused to take me to the hospital for anything. He thought that VapoRub could cure everything. The first time I encountered the miracle of VapoRub was when I was in second grade – you know those icicles hanging off the houses? I opened the door and an icicle cut me and gave me a gash on my head. My mom freaked out, but my father was like ‘No, it’s okay. Clean it up’ and put a wad of VapoRub and a Band-Aid on me and sent me to school. So I had this little fro that was cut in half. Literally for two days, I was smelling like VapoRub with this Band-Aid on my head until it healed.
When I was 10, I would put VapoRub on my chest, neck, under my nose, and forehead because I had this fear I would die of a heart attack at night if I didn’t. Did you develop that same fear?
I was a sensitive little kid. I grew up doing everything possible to avoid it because of the way it was so hot at first and my eyes would get runny. It was such a strong, powerful thing and the thing people really don’t talk about is the after effect – it becomes waxy and cold. So it was almost like I was going through menopause at a young age. Every time I was sick, my mother would cover me in VapoRub and tuck me into the comforter, and inhale it.
The beloved Vicks VapoRub… or “Vivaporu” for Latinos.
When did you realize that Vivaporu doesn’t, in fact, cure everything?
A teenager. I knew it fixed stuff, but my parents took it to another level. My parents thought it could cure everything. The video Vivaporu is really tongue-in-cheek… how Dominicans think this is the real thing.
Has your mom seen the video?
She has not seen it yet, but I know that she’ll be cracking up. One of the cool things about this video is that no one has done a hip-hop version making fun of Vicks VapoRub. We really wanted to push it out there – this is the miracle drug. My mother enjoys the videos that we do, but I think she will be able to really relate to this one.
Judging from the songs you have paid homage to in your past spoofs, you and ‘O’ seem to be fans of Kanye West.
Kanye’s beats have been really good to us – maybe we can get a cameo from him one day. We’ll go through Kim.
From your experience, what makes a video viral?
What makes something viral is timing, but we don’t just pick up a camcorder or run into the studio… it’s a process. We’re working on that. We did “Pan con Queso” and “Dominis in the Heights”so quickly… the beats are obviously still fresh. It’s something that people still vibe to. It’s a combination of the topic that we pick, the beat, and the timing. When you have all three together, it has that viral potential.
And finally, below is the brand new “Vivaporu” video:
(Lead Photo: courtesy of Michael Diaz and photo of VapoRub jar: Facebook.com/VicksVapoRubUS)