Life after the Super Bowl! Left Shark became a viral sensation after Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime performance in 2015 — and now the man behind the costume, Bryan Gaw, is finally telling his side of the story.
The shark mascot rose to fame in February 2015, after stealing the spotlight from his rival, Right Shark, when the two took the stage with Perry during Super Bowl XLIX. As the singer performed her 2010 hit “Teenage Dream,” Left Shark seemingly failed to execute the routine, grabbing people’s attention with his offbeat moves. Now Gaw is revealing that was all part of the plan.
“So there’s a set choreography,” he told National Public Radio in a new interview published Wednesday, January 31. “There’s also what’s called freestyle choreography, or, like, you get to move around or play your character as a dancer.”
Gaw, who had been touring with the Grammy winner for five years, told NPR that he purposely “totally” turned up the goofiness during the performance to show his character as imperfect. “I’m in a 7-foot blue shark costume. There’s no cool in that. So what’s the other option? Well, I’m gonna play a different character,” he said.
Following the performance, Gaw took to Instagram to come forward as the man behind Left Shark. “Yep. The rumors are true. Yours truly. #SuperBowlXLIX #KatyPerryHalftimeShow,” he wrote at the time, alongside a photo of the performance with Perry, 33, and Right Shark dancer Scott Myrick.
The singer’s choreographer RJ Durell spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the moment after the show. “The sharks were given two main objectives. One, perform Katy’s trademark moves to the ‘Teenage Dream’ chorus, which they both did perfectly; and two, to have loads of fun, and bring to life these characters in a cartoon manner, giving them a Tweedledee/Tweedledum-type persona,” he said at the time. “Clearly, that was portrayed with the overzealous shark on the right hitting precise dance moves, while the left shark was playing up the more goofy, fun-spirited sports-fan mascot type, who was just happy to be at the Super Bowl.”
Gaw has since left touring behind him to become a hair stylist. He still maintains a relationship with the “Chained to the Rhythm” singer, and last November, he attended her Witness world tour stop at the Staples Center in L.A.
“Will forever and #always #support my main #bossmom #katyperry @katyperry …… amazing show … duh… 🙄. And amazing night!!!” he captioned the photo.
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While it took Gaw some time to get used to his new fame, he told NPR that he now lists his stint as Left Shark on his resume. “Actually I don’t get any negative feedback from it,” he said. “If anything, people are, like, ‘Whoa, that’s so cool!'”
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