Sorry, world: You’ve been had.
If you’re one of the 9 million or so inhabitants of Planet Earth who watched this video last week and laughed out loud at the spectacle of a girl whose sexy “twerking” home video turns into an epic fiery disaster, then the joke’s on you.
On Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel revealed that not only was the video staged, as many viewers suspected but perhaps didn’t want to believe, but that he was the mastermind behind the viral sensation.
At the outset of the episode, Kimmel maintained the ruse, asking the young woman — who went by the pseudonym Caitlin Heller on YouTube and was, supposedly, joining the show via Skype from Kansas City — how her yoga pants were doing. After some contrived chitchat, Kimmel then joined “Caitlin,” who was in fact in studio, and played the “full director’s cut” of the video that made her Internet-famous.
In it, Kimmel wanders into the room and sprays “Caitlin” — in actuality, a stuntwoman named Daphne Avalon — with a fire extinguisher.
As the comedian explained, he posted the video to YouTube to see what would happen. He didn’t tweet it or otherwise promote it, and yet it received 9 million views in less than a week. As Kimmel gleefully pointed out, the video also succeeded in duping numerous media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, “The Talk,” “The View” and “Today."
“Thank you for helping us deceive the world and hopefully put an end to twerking forever,” Kimmel said to Avalon.
Oh, if only.