Paolo Mottola

Update: There’s now a ‘Shit Seattle People Say When It Snows’ Part 3. Embedded below…

If you’re like me, all this #wasnow #waice #snomg madness has got you in need of a good laugh.

Enter social media strategist Paolo Mottola, creator of the meme-tastic “Shit Seattle People Say When it Snows” parody videos (embedded at the bottom of this post — go watch them, quick!) that have helped keep snowbound Seattleites from losing their minds this week by serving us a dose of our own silliness.

Together, the videos have racked up close to 200,000 views since Paolo posted them Tuesday.

GeekWire: What convinced you to do that first video? A conversation? An inspiration? A hunch? A comment that made you want to tear your hair out?

Mottola: The video was sparked by a Facebook group. Madeline Moy (Digital Media Manager at SAM) initially suggested the spoof, a couple people chimed in with anecdotes and I took it from there. I improvised most of the lines based on what I hear around town. The format for that meme was basically set, so I just needed to fill in the blanks.

GeekWire: Fellow social media geek Wade Rockett said on his Facebook page that, and I quote, “Paolo became a Twitter star by tweeting jokes from his 10-hour snowbound commute. When it snows in Seattle, it becomes Paolo’s city – we just live in it.” Response? ;)

Mottola: I grew up in the Northwest, and I look at snow in Seattle like Christmas. It happens once a year, sticks around for a day and then you have to wait another year for it to happen again. I guess I just like to make the most out of it!

GeekWire: How would you define (it’s easier to parody, I know) this attitude Seattleites have toward the snow that makes us say these things?

Mottola: Seattleites are relatively deprived of seasons. I mean, we live in a moderate climate, so we jump into swimsuits when it’s 70 degrees and put chains on our cars when there’s snow in the forecast. We get so overwhelmed by the associated emotions that we tend to talk, tweet and text about the weather non-stop. With all that conversation, we are bound to say the same or weird statements that proved to be worth poking fun at.

The Facebook thread that started it all.

GeekWire: Ready for the cliché question? ‘Did you ever think the video would get THIS many VIEWS?’

Mottola: Heck no! I was hoping for 1,000 views total. My best friend called and told me he first saw the video through a co-worker I’ve never met. When you hit that wave sharing online outside the people you know and everyone your Mom has on her email list, something is working. I’m fairly certain my Mom was a driving force though.

GeekWire: Which of the parody lines in your videos stands out to you as the most characteristic of this attitude Seattleites have toward the snow?

Mottola: “I drive a Subaru Forrester…” A lot of people own great AWD and 4WD vehicles that don’t really serve a purpose except for these rare occasions of inclement weather, and we’re relieved to finally use them for that purpose. We proclaim it. Seattleites are cautiously over-prepared and a little proud of it.

GeekWire: How’d you shoot the videos? What camera, and who helped? How long did it take you?

Mottola: I shot half of it with a tripod, just me with some curious neighbors walking by. My brother, Sergio Mottola, is a professional photographer and he helped me with the other half of the shots and I used his Canon gear. We shot all of the shots in about 20 minutes and editing took about four hours.

GeekWire: Did you see The Oatmeal’s cartoon about this? Hilarious.

Mottola: YES! We were on the same wavelength, except The Oatmeal produces brilliant ideas every day AND draws them with a trademark style. One parody video doesn’t stack up to that volume of work.

GeekWire: If you could do another video parody of Seattle, what would you parody?

Mottola: I’d parody attitudes toward the suburbs. A lot of people migrate in and out of the city, many people who live in Seattle are from out-of-state, and yet you get these strong attitudes about the suburbs that would be fun to illustrate. Seattlites act insular but rely on the surrounding suburbs for economy (Eastside) and eventual affordable real estate (cities to the north and south). A lot of people talk shit about suburbs that they’re from or moving to, and I love the irony of it. I guess that makes for a good “Shit Seattle People Say About the Suburbs.”

And now, Part 3:

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  • Ariel

    Thank GAWD Cliff Mass got a shout out in the second video — that was the only thing missing from the first one. I couldn’t go five minutes without hearing SOMEONE talking about “Well, Cliff Mass says…”

    • Monica Guzman

      It is amazing how influential he’s become. I respect how he tries to explain the “why” behind weather, beyond the jargon many weather casters use as shorthand to make their point and move on.

  • Guest

    Congratulations and thank you to Paolo on creating this hilarious meme!

  • Guest

    “UGGs are not snow shoes…”  :)

    • Monica Guzman

      That one hurt, ’cause I’ve SO BEEN THERE. Went to Sundance one year and walked around with Uggs in inches of slush. BAD call. Walked in water the whole day.

  • Stephen Medawar

    Other things I’ve heard Seattlites say:
    “I should have bought a sled” 
    “I want to sled down Queen Anne”
    “I live on a hill”
    “I just came back from a 2 mile walk to Starbucks”
    “I’m snowed in….ya, there’s like 3″ of snow RIGHT outside my door.” 
    “I wish I had four wheel drive”
    “It’s just gunna melt and freeze into a sheet of ice….and on these hills….”
    “Man…everyone in Seattle freaks out in the snow….what? No, I’m not driving in it.”
    “It’s the other cars you have to worry about.”

  • Andrea James

    I love these videos — gosh what a great city we live in. He totally gets Seattle people and snow.

  • Spencer Rascoff


  • Lucyintrbl

    luv this, 4 days of local tv weather reports? preempting every show? 5 min. on the hr, not enough? peeps home , aren’t on the road- no Today Show,GMA,Ellen de Generes? i am stuck w /an illness, ok, no pity, just, WTF, u have got to be kidding, this wasn’t a nuclear holocaust…shut up already… now l.a. ,u shut up,too,what do u know bout any weather, hills, anything, so u , enuff,too.

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