The Guy Behind Katy Perry's Left Shark Wants You To Stop Taking Life So Seriously

"Be you. Do you."

It's been almost three years since Katy Perry shot across the sky like a "Firework" and made our "Teenage Dreams" come true during the 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show — but whatever happened to the real star of the show, Left Shark? 


NPR caught up with the man behind the now-iconic character, Bryan Gaw, to hear about that fateful night and to, surprisingly, get some solid life advice. Gaw had been a touring dancer with Perry for several years prior and, before you ask, was not fired because of the onstage snafu. That said, Gaw left that life about a year ago and is now a stylist at a hair salon in West Hollywood, Calif.

As for what happened, Gaw said he was doing "freestyle choreography," which allows you to "move around or play your character as a dancer." This, Gaw notes, offers "flexibility because you are your own character." Since he didn't consider a seven-foot blue shark costume all that cool, Gaw really went for it and created a new persona: the underdog, the everyday person.

"You don't have to be perfect — nobody has to be perfect in life," Gaw told NPR's David Greene, saying it was "100 percent" planned … though it was admittedly not rehearsed at all.

"Don't take life so seriously," Gaw added, offering up some advice to everyone. "You know what I mean? Like, I was on the biggest stage in the world acting crazy, and I got a lot of press and a lot of attention for it in the most positive of ways. It's great, you know? Be you. Do you."

These days, Gaw completely owns the Left Shark moment. The costume is still in use on the "Swish Swish" singer's tour, though someone else is sweating inside of it and trying to hit all of the dance moves these days. Gaw's feeling about that? "They'll never be me," he said.

Cover image via Brian Snyder / Reuters


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