This week I want to discuss a slightly stale phenom- the Jimmy Kimmel twerk fail prank. For those of us that have been living in a safe bubble of healthy media, away from the 2013 VMA’s and possibly even lucky enough to not know what twerking is, here is a breakdown of events:
A couple of months ago a video went crazy viral – 90M views in one week! The video was of a lady in yoga pants and a pepto-pink top twerking (a most vile, upside-down booty-shake) against a door. Then someone walked through the door and the twerker came crashing down on her coffee table, breaking the glass, and setting herself on fire with a lit candle. My reaction: laughter, delight, then self-reproach as I finally thought, “I hope she is ok.”
In the weeks that followed, the video dubbed “The Most Epic Twerk Fail,” and a number of other superlatives, had made national news and had been featured hundreds of times in the media. It seemed my thoughts were echoed times a (million? billion?), idk, a lot. Everyone was sort of glad to see the cautionary tale of twerking gone wrong. “See kids, do this, and you will catch fire, and not in a glamorous Jennifer Lawrence sort of way.”
Ah, but the plot thickens. A few months after the video’s blow-up and the subsequent flood of publicity, my friend (although he doesn’t know he is) Jimmy Kimmel revealed that he was behind the video and that it was a fake! The girl in the video was a stuntwoman. The whole things was staged and then posted only on YouTube, and then “the magic happened” as Jimmy said.
Why talk about this? Well, I think what my bud Jimmy did was sort of brilliant. He played on our thirst for blood. We love watching pranks that involve bodily harm- it is sad but so true. That is why we laugh when our grandma slips on a skateboard. Later we are concerned, but whether it is nerves or just some sick sense of humor some come equipped with, watching something go physically awry can result in exuberant giggles. Accidents caught on tape or pranks that involve a victim produce about the same guilty joy. Add yoga pants and twerking and yeah, we want retribution.
What is more buzzworthy about the Twerk Fail Debacle, though, is that the prank was not in the video itself. Kimmel pranked the media on a huge scale. He staged a prank within a prank and I have to wonder what all those commentators and writers are thinking now. Maybe they are like, “I told you it was a bad idea to talk about that video, we should have stuck with the cat that says ‘I love you’” or maybe they are not at all embarrassed to have been used in the experiment. The stunt-parfait also served as social commentary on what we find newsworthy. As one night show host said after discussing the video, “good thing nothing is happening in Syria right now.”
So here is the video from Jimmy Kimmel Live. Enjoy it as if it was your first time watching the media get burned.
Ok, so being out there, the space Frank talks about, can be as scary as standing in front of a packed house. This blog has hidden, refused promotion, shied away from even a virtual conference table worth of eyes. But no more. She (this blog is female) will be outed, flung into a world of shameless Facebook begging, link posting, and face to face – that’s right – plugging. Who knows? Maybe by December she will have a dozen followers and a steady readership of about 20. “Oh what lofty goals!” she cries, but as author and shameless promoter, I proclaim “It will be done!”
- Jimmy Kimmel Reveals Twerking Girl On Fire Prank (amp.cbslocal.com)
- Jimmy Kimmel pranks the internet with ‘Worst Twerk Ever’ video (peopleschoice.com)
- ‘Epic twerk fail’ girl pulls curtain back on prank (wtvm.com)
- Jimmy Kimmel Steps Up Game, Punking Media With Twerking Girl Video (m.deadline.com)
- ‘Epic twerking fail’ YouTube video turns out to be Jimmy Kimmel hoax (metro.co.uk)
- Jimmy Kimmel reveals he masterminded twerking prank (VIDEO) (boston.com)