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Super Bowl halftime star 'Left Shark' talks ill-fated performance

2018-01-31

Get ready to be finnspired.

The man who flanked Katy Perry three years ago at Super Bowl XLIX dressed as a massive azure apex predator is finally telling his side of the story.

"Left Shark" quickly became the stuff of legend with his seeming inability to keep up with the choreography of his fellow carnivores as the pop star sang "Teenage Dream," but long-time backup dancer Bryan Gaw told NPR that only was he not fired, it was all "100%" planned.

"So there's a set choreography," he said. "There's also what's called freestyle choreography or, like, you get to move around or play your character as a dancer. ... You have some flexibility.

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FEB. 1, 2015, FILE PHOTO

Left Shark (on left) at Super Bowl XLIX with Katy Perry

(David J. Phillip/AP)

"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."

Asked what kind of "character" he was going for if not a giant aquatic creature with the ability to dance, Gaw responds, "Just an underdog. It's an everyday person. … You don't have to be perfect. Nobody has to be perfect in life."

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Currently working as a hair stylist in West Hollywood after giving up life on the road about a year ago, he says he doesn't swim away from his past as Left Shark. He even lists it right on his resume.

"Actually, I don't get any negative feedback from it," says Gaw. "If anything, people are, like, 'Whoa, that's so cool!'"

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And to those people who criticized Gaw's halftime performance and felt like he jumped himself, Left Shark chooses to take the high road, which is easier for him because he's a fish who also happens to have legs.

"Don't take life so seriously," he cautions. "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 ways. It's great.

"Be you. Do you."