Could one of the funniest videos you’ve seen in a while actually be a fake? That’s the suggestion by a few sites after it was discovered that the couple in the viral “Tonight Show” gas station singing video have acting credentials.
In case you missed it, her’s the original video that we featured this weekend and has racked up 7.5 million views:
Over the weekend, everyone was talking about it. Even Megyn Kelly tweeted out TheBlaze’s coverage:
But on Monday, some started getting suspicious. The website The Smoking Gun has been leading the charge with facts such as this about the couple, Will and Monifa Sims:
Will and Monifa are both trained actors who founded a theater company in Chicago before relocating to Hollywood. Monifa, whom Chicagoist once described as a “Chicago actress of some reknown,” previously won a nationwide dramatic auditions contest by the cable network TNT.
Additionally, Monifa has been on the “Tonight Show” segment before, in 2011:
The website Gawker piled on:
While this doesn’t definitively prove that the segment was staged, it does raise some questions worth acknowledging in light of the video’s massive success (in just one weekend, the clip already accounts for over a quarter of all The Tonight Show‘s YouTube views).
As for the couple, they told the Chicago Sun-Times that the producers purposefully did not mention their “history” so as not to raise suspicion.
“[The producers] didn’t want [people] to think we were actors and it was a ‘plant’,” Will said. “They were like, ‘You’re a bartender and she’s a fitness [trainer].’”
And on Monday, they tried to put the rumor to rest by giving more information to The Smoking Gun.
In a TSG interview this afternoon, Monifa Sims contended that it was just a fluke that she appeared a second time on “Pumpcast News,” adding that, “When it happened again, I said, ‘I cannot believe it!’” Remarkably, the actress claimed that she and her husband never bothered to actually watch her first appearance on Leno’s top-rated program. “I’m not glued to my TV at night,” said Sims.
Asked why no mention was made of her prior “Pumpcast News” appearance (or her and Will’s acting careers), Sims said “Tonight Show” producers “don’t want people to think that they planned this thing.” She added, “We have been honest with them the whole time.”
Sims said that it was only after she and her husband did their karaoke tunes that Will realized that this was her second time around. Sims recalled, “He asked me, ‘Is this what you did before?’”
“This really is a one-in-a-million chance,” said Sims of appearing on Leno’s show. Well, perhaps two in a million.
So there you have it. Considering all that, do you think it was “probably staged” as Gawker’s headline suggests, or was it simply the couple being in the right place at the right time?