Following Katy Perry’s halftime show at the 2015 Super Bowl, people couldn’t stop talking about Left Shark, the spasmodically dancing shark standing to Katy Perry’s right during a portion of her performance. Why had Left Shark been unable to sync with Right Shark? Had Left Shark been confused, or forgotten the choreography? Was Left Shark in hiding? And most importantly: who was Left Shark? Eventually, however, people decided they could stop talking about Left Shark, and went on talking about one of the many other things you can talk about besides Left Shark. Yet still, these key questions remained unsatisfactorily answered—until today. In a bombshell report, NPR’s David Greene has found Left Shark and revealed his true identity: some guy.
Yes, it turns out that Left Shark is in fact not a shark at all, but actually just some guy in a shark costume. More specifically, that guy is Bryan Gaw, a former backup dancer for Perry who is now some guy who works as a hairstylist in Los Angeles. Gaw worked for Perry for five years, but left the road about a year ago.
Gaw says that the portion of the performance for which he became famous was “freestyle choreography,” in which he was free to express himself as the “character” of Left Shark. Gaw, however, says he found a giant shark to be insufficiently compelling as a character and, perhaps inspired by the football setting, he decided to call an audible.
“I’m in a 7-foot blue shark costume,” he said. “There’s no cool in that. So what’s the other option? Well, I’m gonna play a different character.”
In the interview Gaw says he saw his new character as “an underdog” and “an everyday person.” So, per Gaw, his performance was all by design—a requiem for the common man—no matter how much it really just looks like some guy in a shark suit fucked up and forgot his dance moves.
Gaw says he was not fired for his actions at Super Bowl XLIX—despite the fact that he no longer works for Katy Perry—and that he now even includes “Left Shark” on his resume.
Interestingly, Gaw also reveals that he was a last-minute decision away from not being Left Shark at all, as the logistics of a costume change initially called for some other, lost-to-history guy to be Left Shark.