As Vic Dibitetto walked from his New Jersey home to his car in February 2013, he spotted a snowflake falling.
Uh oh, he thought. Time to get the bread and milk.
The 54-year-old comedian turned a camera on himself and filmed a 26-second snippet embodying much of the public’s harried, bizarre approach to raiding grocery stores ahead of wintry weather.
“I gotta get the bread and milk,” he says in the YouTube video, growing increasingly frantic. “They said snow! I GOTTA GET THE BREAD AND MILK!”
By the end of the clip, he’s devolved into manic hysterics.
“OH MY GOD! I GOTTA GET THE BREAD AND MILK!”
Boston got its first snow of the season on Tuesday, which meant the bread and milk hysteria hit area grocery stores last night. No video captures the essential ridiculousness of the snowy grocery list as accurately or as hilariously as Dibitetto’s parody, now pushing 14 million views.
In an interview with Boston.com, Dibitetto said he made the admittedly “stupid” video in just one take after noticing a snowy forecast.
“Right there, I thought what everyone else thinks on the East Coast when they see a snowflake: I’ll get to the store and people are gonna be like [it’s] the apocalypse,” he said. “What the relationship is between bread and milk and a snowstorm, I have no idea.”
The obsession with buying bread, milk, and eggs—three food items that would spoil fairly quickly in the case of an actual weather emergency—already borders on self-parody.
Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin, for one, uses a French Toast Alert System ahead of winter storms that “help[s] you determine when to panic and rush to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread.”
Almost three years since Dibitetto posted the video to his YouTube, it still reliably gets shared every winter storm. Dibitetto said he even gets recognized in public fairly often.
“They know they saw me somewhere,” he said. “‘You’re that Youtube–’ ‘You’re the bread and eggs guy.’ ‘You’re the eggs and butter guy.’ They get all flustered, you know?”
Dibitetto said the “Bread and Milk” video, along with his active use of social media, has been a “godsend” for his comedy career.
To wit: Dibitetto recently appeared alongside Kevin James in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.
In addition, he and his comedy group, “The Three Tenors (who can’t sing),” will embark on a 22-city tour that starts in Boston on January 22. He likened his show to “the Italian version of the Blue Collar Comedy,” and said Boston and its Italian population was one of his biggest expected markets.
And it all got a lift from talking about a loaf and a gallon.
“Twenty-six seconds from my house to the car got me more recognition than 32 years of standup,” he said. “It’s just amazing.”
So if not bread and milk, what should people buy before stormy weather?
“I would get batteries and canned soup. I don’t drink milk, and I don’t eat bread. Too many carbs,” Dibitetto said. “Every winter there’s probably cows in a pasture looking at each other like, ‘Why?’”
Gallery: Boston gets its first snow of this winter