How a Viral Party Turned Ugly: An Interview With the Fitzroy Garage Boys

The story behind how a non-descript Melbourne pre-drinks became the breeding ground for death threats, obsession and TikTok stardom.
Fitzroy Garage Sesh
Some of the boys from the Fitzroy Garage Party

For a few weeks just before Christmas, a rental house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy – that basically looked like a hole-in-the-wall garage – started appearing on the TikTok For You Pages of people across the English speaking world. Lads in crisp tees, fashionable haircuts and beers in hands danced around an astro-turf space, fist pumping the air while a radio edit of Mella Dee’s “Techno Disco Tool” or “We Are The People” by Empire of the Sun played in the background.


While it doesn’t sound that impressive in description, the pre-drinks, which came to be known as the “Fitzroy Garage Party,” had a chokehold on the online world. It was everywhere, it was going viral and the POVs from different phones and every direction basically gave us a 360 degree view of the party’s various shenanigans.

And for a while, no one really knew why it was gaining so much traction. 

For those overseas, say in the UK and US, there was a bit of confusion: They were just boys at a party, weren’t they? There was nothing that special about it. But it flooded their feeds with intense force. 

For those in Australia, however, the video started a deeper discussion around class politics. It was said to be “everything wrong with Fitzroy'', a suburb, which in the last couple of decades, has become a poster child for the negative effects of intense gentrification. The Fitzroy Garage Boys, in that moment, became a symbol of “rich kids acting poor”.

With the attention came hate: What was once an unplanned pre drinks for a 21st was under fire for being “staged”, “cringey” and “classist”, and the videos just kept on coming. We saw a guy get his head shaved, various people kicking a football in the sun, and an endless amount of photo-taking. 

Then the parodies began. 

There was the “Heathmost Garage Sesh”, the “Scotland Garage Sesh”, the “Classic Girls Pres”, and the “Burleigh Patrol Tent Session”. With a dab of irony, TikTokkers remade the videos in hyper-stylized fashion. Someone even made a T-shirt with the “Fitzroy boys” faces plastered to the front.


But it also started to get ugly. A few weeks ago, someone visited the location of the party to write deeply offensive LGBTQ+ slurs on the garage walls. Someone else made the location “Fitzroy Garage Party” public so that it was searchable and accessible on Google maps.

Understandably, since the videos went viral, the boys from the “Fitzroy Garage Party” have been notably quiet, despite a plethora of news articles detailing their escapade. 

But VICE managed to get in touch with Jordan Menadue (who you might remember as the guy in the green vest that uses the top of the garage door as a makeshift drum) and Mitchell O’Leary. Jordan is 21, has just moved to doing social media full-time and is currently in Melbourne. Mitchell owns a clothing brand and is from Adelaide.

They had some interesting thoughts on making the video, going viral and, finally, what life is like after becoming a meme.

 Jordan Menadue and Mitchell O’Leary at the infamous "Fitzroy Garage Party"

Jordan Menadue and Mitchell O’Leary at the infamous "Fitzroy Garage Party"

VICE: So, Jordan, you’re doing social media full-time. Was [the Fitzroy Garage Party] your brainchild?

Jordan: Wait, what do you mean by that? 

Well, I guess I just wanted to know if it was planned? Was it staged?

Jordan: Oh, was the Fitzroy Garage Party planned? No, not at all. We didn't even expect any views. Like, when people were saying, “Oh, they all planned this”, that's not what it was. We all like to create content, we enjoy filming stuff and posting stuff on our socials. That's how we all met each other. So Mitch and I actually met online through Instagram. We've always liked to just take photos of everything we do. Who doesn't? It's 2023. Who doesn't like to take photos of what your mates are doing? Like, especially if you're at a party.


But to answer your question, it was not planned at all. We just took little snippets of the afternoon and put them together at the end of the day. I don't know how it got so much traction, but yeah, definitely was not planning that.

Yeah, cause I saw a lot of comments on the video being like, “This is completely staged.”

Mitch: Yeah, that’s what we saw as well. Three of us are from Adelaide and then two of us are from the Gold Coast. It’s funny that we got stereotyped as being that “Fitzroy, Melbourne person”. Like, not one of us is even from Melbourne. So it was very funny reading those comments. But we just left it that way, we were just like “Yeah, we’re from Melbourne”. We were encouraging it.

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Jordan: And yeah, I think Mitch, you were the first one to post something and you just texted the boys and you were like “Go look at the comments. I’m getting roasted right now.” Once we saw that we were getting a bit of traction, we’re not gonna lie, we did give it a bit…we encouraged it a little bit… but we did not expect it to become a worldwide meme. Like the UK, New Zealand, Canada.

Mitch: I had a mate on Christmas day be like, “Mate, what’s the go? Are you okay? Everyone’s talking about this Fitzroy Garage Party and I saw you’re in it”. But we definitely encouraged it. I think that’s why everyone got angry as well, because it’s the same snippets every time. 


Jordan: (laughs) We were actually just having a good time. We were enjoying ourselves and we’d film everything.

How many videos did you actually end up making?

Mitch: I think I posted about 5 in the end. I was just rinsing it. I was going, “I’ll just do another one. Might as well”.

Jordan: I didn’t even do a Fitzroy Garage Party one. I just did a pre’s one. Like it wasn’t actually a garage party. I think that’s the reason it went viral, though, because [Mitch] captioned it “Fitzroy Garage Party”. If it didn’t say that, it would just be mates enjoying pre’s.

Ah, yes, that was a genius marketing move without even knowing it.

Mitch: Yeah it was pretty funny. I guess it just worked out. It just went that way so we ran with it.

So why were there no girls in the videos?

Mitch: (laughs) There was one! There was one girl. 

Jordan: I don’t know, it was for my 21st and I just have a good, solid group of mates that I enjoy being around. There were probably six of us that are just blokes. Like, the pre’s were just to hang out with really solid, good mates and talk about stuff that you can talk about with your close friends and not just have heaps of people there. 

It wasn’t the main event, because we were going to a nightclub in Melbourne that some of us work at. So we had heaps of people going there, so they all came later on that night at the nightclub.


Mitch: Most of us were just hanging out through the day as well. We went to Fitzroy markets. We hopped off the plane. Obviously we’re not from there, so the boys picked us up, took us around for the day. And it sort of carried on all day, and then we headed off because we were going to this night club.

It’s such a different scene to what we do in Adelaide. At our house all our mates just sit by the pool in Summer for pre’s with quiet music on. So it was a different thing. We had a cool set-up, we were just kicking the footy. Everyone was just getting up and meeting people. So we were just hanging out there, videoing it cause it was just so fun, and we’d never had pre’s like this before.

Jordan: And because we all get along so well, we all have the same type of fashion sense. We all sort of look the same, that’s why I think people in the comments assumed that we all lived together. The comments that we were getting, people would assume our lives in two sentences. They knew us like the back of their hand. And we just thought it was funny because none of us are from Fitzroy, it was just a mate’s house.

So I think it was your video, Mitch, that got the most amount of parodies made out of it. Like shaving the head, and Jordan hitting his hand on the garage door [correction: that was Andy Davies video].

Mitch: Yeah, ridiculous. 


Jordan: Yeah, there was Mitch’s and Andy Davies one. That was pretty popular as well, he was the one doing that [does the praying hands action]. 

Mitch: Someone even made us a shirt. 

Oh, I saw that on TikTok as well.

Mitch: So when that came out we were like “Jeez, there are actually people that have seen this”. And commenting on it and ripping into us.

Do you ever get recognised on the street?

Jordan: Oh yeah, yeah. Always.

Are they mostly nice? 

Jordan: Yeah they’re mostly nice. Like 90% of the interactions I get are from people just being drunk, like wanting a photo, which gets annoying at times. But what can you do? If you put yourself out on TikTok you have to expect that. But the online comments aren’t so nice. Because they’re behind the phone.

Mitch: Yeah, behind the screen. I think that was one thing as well, though. There’d be people with higher followings who were commenting, and it was encouraging more people to comment as well. Their followers would join in, so [the negative comments] became almost acceptable.

Jordan: Yeah, they were mainly taking the piss, or jumping on the train. Like, you’re supposed to support each other, so we didn’t expect that from them. 

I think one of the biggest aspects of the backlash that I noticed was the “Fitzroy, gentrification argument”.


Mitch: I had never even heard of that word before this. So I was clueless.

The Fitzroy Garage Party

Some more shots from the "Fitzroy Garage Party"

Yeah, I think when everyone was trying to figure out why it went so viral one aspect of it was like…There are these “rich boys” trying to look poor in this heavily gentrified area.

Mitch: Well I didn’t understand, and I didn’t realise what the Fitzroy culture was. Obviously being from Adelaide, I was so clueless. But I get when people know the culture behind it, and then we become an easy target. And when there’s one comment doing it and then another does it, it builds up.

Jordan: Yeah, I think when a hate comment gets so many likes, you’re just going to jump on it to get more attention. I think Jake was wearing a Nike skirt. Because we all went to a market. It’s 2023, he can wear whatever he wants. Like, I don’t think he should get roasted for wearing whatever he wants. Especially in Fitzroy, because the fashion is so diverse, you can really wear whatever you want. I think that’s what’s good about Victoria. But a bloke wearing a vintage Nike skirt, it was an easy target for people.

Mitch: It helps that we all grew so close from it as well. It was a pretty big thing. You’re getting death threats…

Death threats?

Mitch: Yeah, all these comments telling you to end it. Some horrible messages. But it’s like, we were all able to check in like, “Boys are you all okay?” and we were all together. But we were saying if you were on your own, it would be hard.


Actually, I did see a video where someone had written pretty horrible slurs all over the garage doors.

Mitch: Yeah, but that was the thing, we’ve got cameras there and we have them all on video, but that’s out of our hands now. But then we copped the hate saying that we graffitied the wall, trying to get more attention.

Jordan: It was so stupid. Vandalising someone’s home for views is pretty low.

Whose house actually was it? Was it a rental?

Mitch: Yeah, just a mate’s house.

Is he kinda worried now that the location is available on maps?

Jordan: Yeah 100%.

Mitch: All these boys went to Beyond the Valley, and we’re not from Melbourne, so when we saw it we couldn't help to cover things up.

Luckily, these boys were still there one day and were able to help spray black paint over it. But then it went on maps we were like, “We’ve got to try and remove this”. It’s someone’s house and people are just rocking up. And we know it’s a trend, people are going to get views from it.

Jordan: It’s died down now… enough for people not to go there. Like: it’s someone's home. 

Mitch: Well, that’s what we realised now: How the internet is and how quickly things can change. But it definitely gives you an idea of who all your close mates are when it goes on.


It’s good that you’re so positive, especially with everything that’s come after.

Mitch: Yeah, I think we have to be. Otherwise you’ll go down a slippery slope. Realistically, I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong. We just had a little pre’s.

Jordan: No, that’s what we kept emphasising to each other, is that we actually haven’t done anything wrong. Like… it’s a trend to hate. We can go out in public and no one’s actually going to start us or have a bad interaction because we threw a party because they would just look stupid. 

Mitch: Like, people do this every weekend, people do pres every weekend, they might not post it as much…

Jordan: But they do. They do, right? They will post it.

I think because the videos have a certain perfection to them. They almost don’t look real, almost fake, too perfect.

Jordan: (laughs) You reckon? [To Mitch] How long did it take you to put together that video?

Mitch: It was just a few clips. 

And where did that walker come from, I feel like that was also an element that became a meme in itself.

Jordan: So one of the brothers had a dress-up party a couple of weeks before. I think he might have just bought it from an op shop. I can’t remember what the costume was but that’s why the walker was there.


Mitch: It was used as a seat. It was a pretty comfy seat to be honest.

Jordan: I just love that everyone was like analysing every little bit of the video.

Some people have a lot of time on their hands.

Mitch: They were using way too much time to analyse things, and rip into you about certain things, where it’s like: we tried to be as unfazed as possible.

So what about life after. Have you been offered any brand deals, does Fitzroy Garage Party have a future?

Jordan: Yeah, yeah, 100%. We’ve had a couple of things offered to us. You know the drink 196, the lemon one? Because we were drinking them in the video. A lot of people were saying we should have been drinking Little Fat Lamb – but nah. Them and a couple of places have hit us up. But it’s just more traction to your name. So of course opportunities are gonna come from it now. And we just got to take it as it comes. And take advantage of it. Roll with the punches. And, obviously, Mitch has a clothing brand so it gets more eyes on them.

Mitch: And it was pretty scary as well, when it was going on. People would go stalk our personal accounts. And I was seeing videos popping up where they were saying, “a couple of people from Fitzroy Garage Party own this brand. Cancel this brand.” That’s what I was worried about. It’s something I’ve been working on for the last two years and we could have easily been cancelled overnight, because we were having fun. It’s gone, but we've got our fingers crossed that it stays that way.


Jordan: I think that once the hate died down, we saw a lot more people backing us up. Like positive comments where they say “You taking the piss out of them is more cringey than the video itself”.

Mitch: I mean, there’s not much we can do. It’s out of our hands. But we’re going back up to Melbourne this weekend. So we might throw another one (laughs). But yeah, it looks like it at least made it to Sydney, where you are.

Well, places like the US and UK as well.

Mitch: That’s the weird thing. When there was a news article about it, that’s when we were like, “What’s going on?” That was crazy, there was a UK news article as well. But that’s when my mum and dad and all the family started seeing it and they were like, “I just saw this news article with your face on it. What have you done?” And I’d be like “We haven’t actually done anything. It’s just a TikTok trend”, but they don’t understand what that means. They were worried about our safety. But a good support system makes it all better.

Just make the most of the opportunities that come out of it, I guess.

Mitch: Yeah. When was the last time that someone we knew did this and went viral on the internet? We’re just rolling with it. It probably won’t happen again in our life, so let’s just make the most of it while we can. 

Yeah, well it seems like it’s slowly dying down now, which could be a positive.

Mitch: (laughs) Well we might have to lift it back up this week. 

I’ll be waiting for it on my FYP.
Mitch: We’ll see what happens.

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