A video has gone viral on the Internet of a student pretending to have a thick Mexican accent for roughly four months, before making the “big reveal” during his final presentation.
Jose Barrientos does not explain how no one knew his real voice — perhaps he had recently moved– but he seemingly fooled everyone in his speech class. Though he is Hispanic and bilingual, Barrientos is “purely American,” according to Gawker, and English is his first language. (UPDATE: The Daily Mail notes Barrientos was a student at a community college, which could explain the lack of familiarity with his classmates.)
Throughout the entire semester, though, he acted like a caricature of what some think of Mexicans as. He brought in a piñata on the day he had to give a presentation on an object that best describes him, and told his classmates he rode a donkey to school.
Then, after four months, it was time for Barrientos to give his last presentation. He joked that he had the “prototype” for a soft drink that makes one’s accent go away, before slipping into his regular, American accent.
Many in the audience seemed both amused and confused, wondering which one was real. Had he practiced all night to get the perfect American accent?
“We have to learn how to communicate effectively, people. Because if we don’t, we will all be lost in translation,” ended his speech to loud applause.
Barrientos interviewed his classmates shortly thereafter, and many laughed and said how surprised they were.
“I still think you’re the Mexican guy with the accent,” one girl said. Another encouraged him to go back to “normal,” and stop pretending to do an American accent.
Another looked confused, inquiring: “So…that donkey stuff wasn’t real?”
Watch the entertaining video, below (language warning):
“It really wasn’t planned, I was just sitting in class and I hadn’t talked to anyone yet,” he told the Daily Mail. “During the roll call, I decided to give it a try. It was a do or die moment. If I decided to do it, I know that I had to commit to it and I had to do it.”
According to the Daily Mail, Barrientos is an Iraq veteran and has been pursuing a comedy career.
This story has been updated with additional information.