7 Viral Videos You Didn't Know Were Staged (and How They Did It)

What's funnier than Homer Simpson getting hit in the face with a shovel? A real person getting hit with a shovel, of course.

Creators of internet videos realize this, and in the last few years we've seen the rise of the staged viral video, regular people faking some spontaneous bit of hilarity to make sure grandmas everywhere will be emailing the link for years. Well at Cracked, the truth still matters. Today we're taking a stand and saying, "Fuck you, Grandma. That shit was staged."

So read on at your own risk, because some of you are about to find out there's no Santa Claus.

#7. Pauly Shore Punched Out On Stage

Behold as Pauly Shore, now working the stand-up comedy circuit in Texas so he doesn't have to live in his car, badgers a redneck heckler. The man takes the stage, punches Shore right in his annoying face, and a viral sensation is born:

This clip showed up in November of '06, got linked on Defamer and then hosted on every site in the world capable of hosting video. Across those sites the clip saw at least two million views and more than a thousand user comments. Fierce online debates raged as observers were forced to side with the violent hick or The Weasel, which is like being forced to pick whether you want to be stabbed in the left testicle or the right.

Sample comments:

"The people in the crowd as well as the guy who went up are nutfuckers. Thats just fucked up."

"lol. sweet justice"

"Gee Pauly what did you expect in Wacko, Texas? It's where men are men and the sheep are nervous. These people have sex with barn yard animals and think that it is OK. Pauly, truly your movies mostly suck big time except Encino Man, which was pretty funny, thanks mainly to Brandon Frazier."

The Evidence:
Frame-by-frame examination of whether or not the punch actually landed doesn't help, with the dark stage and shitty quality.

Above: blob

The fact that no charges were filed was also meaningless, since many legal experts say beating Pauly Shore is not technically a crime.

The cynics among us were undeterred. The fact that this video turned up barely a week after the Michael Richards racist fiasco made us wonder if a publicity-starved Shore wasn't playing the internet like the Machiavellian genius he so clearly is.

Sure enough, a couple of weeks after the video made its way around the net, TMZ.com called the cops in Odessa and asked them about it. They confirmed the whole thing had been set up. Finally, in January Pauly Shore himself uploaded a video with the behind-the-scenes rehearsal of the incident:

The trouble is that as of this writing, that video had only been viewed about 75,000 times, a tiny fraction of the people who enjoyed the original punch. Once again mankind rejects reality to cling to a happier fantasy.

#6. Counter-Strike Cheater Gets His Computer Smashed

What happens when you attend a massive Counter-Strike LAN party and use your hacking skills to cheat everybody? They smash your freakin' computer, that's what!

It's amazing how popular this video got, considering it emerged in a pre-YouTube era when a one-minute video could take 15 minutes to trickle down a spotty dial-up connection. Six years after it appeared, it's still making the rounds (that copy on YouTube up there is fairly recent, and still has half a million views and a thousand comments).

For you aspiring staged viral video makers, the lesson is clear: If you want traffic, try recording yourself performing some kind of unjust destruction of valuable property.

Sample comments:

"These guys are crazy. man this is fuck."

"lol i hate cheaters.. but thats too evil. poor guy."

"This was Real: I was at that LAN party.. The kid was warned twice, The LAN was in Alabama. I was one of the people that where admin'ing the servers at that party. This video was recorded 7-27-99 I know the guy that recorded the video.. When this guys machine was unplugged.. it was anything but done properly. We YANKED! The SVGA just about pulled out the video card. OWNT."

The Evidence:
If you read a lot of video comments (like maybe some creative judge has sentenced you to do that because of some terrible crime you committed) then you'll recognize that last comment. The, "I was there, that's me in the back" guy is a video comment archetype. Usually there are several of them in each video's comment section and usually their accounts conflict.

In this case the person doesn't explain why manufacturers of the cheater's PC seemed to have forgotten to actually fasten the parts together in any way, causing the machine to spill apart on impact. Or, perhaps the more relevant question is in what part of the country is destroying $2,000 worth of personal property not a fairly serious crime.

The story is that back in 2001, a group called LANtrocity (organizers of these huge LAN parties out in Los Angeles) announced a humongous gaming get-together coming the next spring (that's the "Million Man Lan" link at the end of the video up there). They released this little video to promote it, which was shot at one of their Counter-Strike tournaments in October of 2001 using an old computer case with some unused video cards and RAM sticks tossed inside.

This video has been a curse on the organizers of the Million Man Lan events ever since, as six years later people still turn up on their forums every couple of weeks and ask why they destroyed that poor man's computer. These days, asking that question may get you yet another patient explanation or simply a collective groan of dread from the regulars.

What is interesting is the recurrence of the "Hey I saw the video and totally agree with what you did" commenters. Look, we don't want to reinforce a stereotype here, but when you find yourself so into gaming that you think cheaters should be taken in back to have their fingers crushed with a ball-peen hammer Casino-style, it's probably time to turn off the computer. Stand up, stretch, open the curtains. There's a whole world out there, son.

#5. Waitress Crashes Through Window

A waitress is straightening up after hours, when she trips over a stool and goes crashing wackily through a window, at best suffering lacerations and bruises, at worst plummeting 30 stories to her splattering death.

Her stumble and subsequent horrible suffering was good for nearly a million views and more than a thousand comments across various sites. The clip was featured on The Fox News Blast, their mash-up of shocking videos. "This video may be a fake," says the anchor. "But we hope not!"

Yes, friends, Fox News Inc. would much prefer that a real lady be in a hospital bed with stitches in her face and her jaw wired shut, than to think it was simply a stunt. That's journalism right there, ladies and gentlemen.

Sample comments:

"HAHAH AH AHA HA H A : thats what she gets for being a stupid white bitch"

"If that were my restaurant I'd deduct the cost of the window from her paycheck."

"Geez. Sickening how some of you people 'cant stop laughing'. Your complete insensitivity to human suffering puts you on an intersect path with the litany of psycho doofuses who 'snap' and go shoot up a mall or school."

"that was my cousin. its real, the window hadnt been replaced since 1947 thats why it sucked"


The Evidence:
Commenters who analyzed the video frame-by-frame point out a mysterious disappearing stool (the one next to the window, at 11 seconds) as proof that the whole thing is CGI. Could this woman have hired a special effects studio, paying tens of thousands of dollars to digitally enhance her viral video for a mere taste of internet fame?

We were afraid we would never know. After all, the Fox News Blast guys couldn't even track it down, and were forced to throw up their hands and simply hope that the woman bled as much as possible. If the full investigative power of the Rupert Murdoch empire could not uncover its origins, what hope did we have?

Oh, wait. Three minutes of Google searching turns up the clip in its original form:

The moment the "Stools causing you pain?" slogan appears you realize this was originally just a commercial (for DulcoEase, a turd-softening agent). The whole stool thing admittedly is a stretch, but advertising this product isn't exactly the easiest job (you can't just show a guy straining on a toilet in a cold sweat, face beet-red, screaming "OH GOD I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN DULCOEASE YOU COULD BUILD A FUCKING BRICK SCHOOLHOUSE WITH MY SHITS").

So, while the thought of some lady hurdling herself through a plate glass window for the sake of a viral video would have been sad, it's actually even sadder that some dude spent 30 seconds hacking the end off a commercial and passed it off as real. But, hey, it fooled Fox News.

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