5 Disturbing Pop Culture Misunderstandings

Life is full of misunderstandings. This is even more true for entertainers, whose lives are much stranger -- and stupider -- than ours. In fact, sometimes these misunderstandings go way past "Oh, I didn't know that I had to pay my taxes every year" and move into the realm of the extreme, the absurd, and the downright fatal. Look at how ...

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5
Tupac's Pals Only Thought They Smoked His Ashes

Rapper Tupac Shakur was a real, fleshy man before he graduated to hologrammathy, and when he was alive he ran with a group called the Outlawz. Like any good crew, the Outlawz loved Tupac, and when he was murdered, they wanted to honor his memory. This meant smoking him, as one does. For context, Tupac rapped the line "smoke my ashes" in the song "Black Jesus," which his crew took as a literal last request.

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Tupac was cremated, and according to Outlawz member E.D.I. Mean and others, the very next day they went to the beach to send their friend off in style with chicken wings, drinks, and most importantly some pot. This was the most important part because they rolled up Tupac's ashes in the weed and smoked it. At least, that's what they thought until Tupac's mother disputed the claim that any of her son's ashes left her possession. And so the obvious question became "Uh, whose ashes did you smoke, then?"

A statement from E.D.I. Mean implies that the cremains were either someone else's that they had merely mistaken for Tupac's (obtained from ... where?), or maybe not ashes at all? Either way, the fact remains that they smoked what they believed were specifically identified human remains and later learned that was not the case. This raises so many questions, and no one is talking. Where did they get the ashes from? Why did they think they were Tupac's? Did they smoke a stranger? There are many possible answers, and none of them are good.

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4
Ozzy Osbourne Didn't Realize He Was Biting A Real Bat's Head Off

Remember Ozzy Osbourne? He was a musician before he became the phantom that haunts the abandoned amusement park that used to be MTV. But way back when he was still a musician, he had some pretty intense stage shows. This is no more evident than with the one that took place in 1982, during which he bit a bat's head off onstage. So before we continue, let's just get this out of the way: Fuck you, Ozzy Osbourne. You're gross.

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The journey to the bat-biting has some debatable details, though. For instance, this incident happened in Des Moines, and the city's local paper commemorated it 25 years after the fact with an article that heavily featured the input of Mark Neal. Neal was 17 in 1982, when the bat his brother had brought home a few weeks earlier died. Neal, knowing Osburne's penchant for eating things (he'd previously bitten the head off a dove), put the bat in a bag and brought it to the show. Then he hurled the half-rotten bat onstage, where Ozzy chomped down on it like a cartoon rabbit with a carrot.

To hear Ozzy tell it, the bat was actually alive at the time, but he had assumed it was a rubber prop. So he did what any man with a rubber bat does: He tried to eat it. It was only then, as gloop filled his mouth and the head twitched, that he realized it was a live bat. Ha ha, the ol' "Oh shit. The fake bat I'm eating is actually alive" mix-up. Classic!

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I'm going to assume the owners of the bat were correct in believing it dead, and that the thing thrashing around was Ozzy's freaked-out imagination playing tricks on him. What know for sure is that Ozzy thought it wasn't real at all, then realized it very much was real, and went to a hospital to make sure his internal organs weren't now crawling with rabies. Also, can I point out that it's not exactly sanitary to bite a fake bat that a stranger has thrown at you? There's like an 80 percent chance they've have had it up their butt.

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3
People Keep Mistaking Comedians' Heart Attacks For Comedy Bits

What's the funniest gag in the history of comedy? The old squirting boutonniere? The spinning bow tie? You may not be aware of it, but there's a recurring bit that seems to always get laughs: dying of a heart attack in public. It takes some prep, and I'm not convinced anyone's ever done an encore performance, but it happens more than it should. Comedians have heart attacks, and people laugh because they think it's a joke.

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If you're too young to know Sanford And Son, you need to Google that and have a watch, because that was funny shit. And one of star Redd Foxx's classic bits was dramatically clutching his chest, pretending to have a heart attack. So when Foxx was doing rehearsal for a new show in 1991 and started having a heart attack for real, the cast and crew enjoyed the hilarious spectacle of an old man painfully dying in front of them until he was well and truly fucked. Apparently it was only when the joke got old that paramedics were called. He died four hours later. Rimshot!

The same ridiculous thing happened to comedian Tommy Cooper in 1984, and it happened on live TV. Cooper, a magician and comedian, was on a variety show called Live From Her Majesty's. His assistant had brought out a big ugly robe and helped him into it, and he was playing up the pervy "Hey, a hot lady is helping me get dressed" angle. The audience laughed. Cooper then fell to the floor on his ass. The audience laughed. He slumped backwards. The audience laughed. He produced a snort. They laughed. Cut to commercial.

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Near as anyone can tell from watching it, none of it was part of the act, despite everyone thinking it was. He was just having his heart attack. He was dead before he got to the hospital. Once you've finished slapping your knee, let's move to the next paragraph!

Dick Shawn, a comedian who was famous in the '60s, was performing on stage at UC San Diego when he collapsed right in front of his audience due to a heart attack. Now here's a fun thing to do: Imagine you're at a comedy show, and the comedian takes what you think is a hilarious pratfall. How long do you let him lie there motionless before intervening? One minute? Two? It was five. Poor, not-joking Shawn was laid out for a solid fiver before someone thought, "This joke has been going on for a whi- OH DEAR GOD."

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This is worth keeping in mind if people ever tell you that you're funny. If something bad happens to you, you're screwed, and the last thing you hear will be laughter.

2
Cops Opened Fire On An Actor Playing A Robber

Calling the cops in 2018 seems to be like a game of Russian Roulette. Will it be a helpful interaction, or will you get shot a whole bunch of times? For this reason, it's probably not wise to go around pretending to be an armed criminal, even if you're just shooting a movie. Running into a street with a gun and a ski mask is just asking for bad news regardless of the situation, but it can be slightly improved if you let the cops know beforehand.

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If you're reading this article on a Blackberry or whatever and can't watch this video, it's body camera footage from Indiana cops who see actor Jim Duff exiting a bar wearing a ski mask. The cops yell at him to drop his shit, he yells that he's filming a movie, and they shoot at his ass anyway.

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Luckily for Duff, the cop was a bad shot, so his brains stayed in his head. Once the cops became aware that the man was just an actor, and then fired a shot, and then listened to what he said, the matter was quickly cleared up. But let that be a lesson to you kids out there: Please tell the cops ahead of time if you're filming a movie. Do this even if your movie doesn't involve guns -- it doesn't take much to make the neighbors nervous these days.

1
Video Game Companies Keep Triggering Bomb Squad Calls

To promote the release of their game Watch Dogs, Ubisoft had the clever idea to send swag to some local newsrooms. The swag arrived in a tiny little safe that required an electronic combination, and inside was a copy of the game and some hats. But to get the combination, you needed to check your voicemail for a message from Ubisoft. However, the employees at the Ninemsn office in Australia didn't have access to voicemail when they got the safe, so they just punched in random numbers.

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And then the safe started beeping.

Now, in 2018, it's obvious why a beeping mystery package in a newsroom is a bad idea, but it was still a bad idea back in 2014. The news team shit a collective kitten and called in the bomb squad. On the upside, no one blew up. And on another upside, they got a free copy of Watch Dogs, which is a pretty good game. There was no downside, unless you count the brief fear of exploding -- and if you're like me, you have that every day anyway.

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This is hardly the first time that weaponization of video game merch got someone in hot water. Some guy in Ireland, likely in an effort to achieve max cool, had tricked out his Xbox 360 controller with some custom buttons. You can buy them on Amazon for $10. They looked like bullets! Isn't that cool? Bullets!

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Except when the controller got left in an abandoned house and the next person to enter saw a pile of ammunition lying around, they called the cops. Now sure, that sounds like a bit of an overreaction to an Xbox controller with half-bullets sticking out of it, but then again, why in the hell would that even be a thing? "Improvised booby trap" is just as reasonable an explanation as what it actually turned out to be.

The bomb squad showed up and the property was cordoned off as investigators sent in their greatest Xbox disposal technicians to ensure that there was no threat to the public. The lesson: All gaming companies should strive to make sure their gear is so badass that it makes everyone who sees it think they're going to die.

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