Real elaborate prank videos are the best, but this one had really horrible improv and some lazy choices on the part of the filmmakers that made us pretty skeptical. Here's a seven-part dissection.
By now you've seen what Buzzfeed is calling "the most elaborate prank-with-a-message of the year": Tom Mabe's "Epic Don't Drink and Drive Prank." It was blowing past 1 million views when I started writing this, and by dinner time your grandma will have seen it.
In the video, a gruff-looking guy wakes up, ostensibly after passing out drunk, and finds himself in an elaborate hospital set, where he's told that he's been in a coma for ten years because of his bad decisions. We all learn a valuable lesson. Share if you hate drunk driving. Like our page for more inspiring vids.
If you need a refresher, here it is:
The problem with this video is that it looks like it might be fake. Obviously the doctors and nurses are fake, and the coma is fake. But the part about the guy "being tricked" is pretty questionable too. That's not a problem if you call this a "sketch," rather than a "prank," but Mr. Mabe labeled this as something with an element of truth and gravitas to it. If this ends up being phony, then I'm going to be plenty pissed.
Here are seven elements of the video that made us skeptical:
1. The part with the mugshots
Judging by his facial hair/garment seam placement, these two mugshots seem to have been taken on the same day. Also, why was he wearing an orange prison jumpsuit at the time of his arrest/booking? Was he drunk driving in a jail?
2. The recorded phone call
The recorded phone call plays over time-lapse footage of Mabe's crew putting together the hospital set, which provides backstory. How hard would it have been for this "Ray" guy, who was apparently out drinking with the drunk guy, to get some phone video of the drunk guy getting wasted right before all this happened?
For that matter, if there were a time-lapse camera over the bed, where's the part where we see Tom Mabe and Co. dragging this big lummox into the room, changing him into a hospital gown, and tucking him into the hospital bed? It's not there because that guy probably walked into the room and got in that bed under his own power. Too bad, because who doesn't want to see footage of people struggling to get a 300-pound drunk guy changed and into a hospital bed? That's comedy gold.
3. The part with Dr. James
The big lug is theoretically hungover, and that's supposed to explain his counterintuitive reaction to all this. He asks, "Where's my daughter at?" I don't care how hungover I am; If I wake up in a hospital and hear there's been a car crash, I would be all over two big questions: "Was anyone killed, and do I have a spinal injury?" He's supposedly been in a coma for ten years, but he's flaling his legs around like a turtle on its back. I don't think anyone is stupid enough to think that he hasn't walked in a decade but still has full use of his legs.
4. The second fake newscaster part
This part is neither here nor there as far as credibility. I just wanted to say that these Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Hillary Clinton jokes are so unfunny it's kind of depressing.
Also, who has an entire fake-hospital set, a green screen, and eight people they can call to help out last-minute and overnight?
5. The slapping part
His WWE-style head bob when the fake doctor slaps him is pretty suspect.
6. The tickle fight part
So two seconds ago this guy thought his life was in ruins, but now he's up for some rassling with his buds? Maybe where these guys come from, this is how you intervene with people's serious issues. You horse around, but make sure to keep yelling how many DUIs they've had.
7. The part where it gets all serious
"Dude you gotta fuckin' stop this shit. Look, you're fuckin' laughin'," is a mercifully brief closing lecture, since all we wanted was a prank video. But if this guy really is drunk driving after five DUIs, intervening is probably the right thing to do. The concerned friend finishing this whole elaborate prankervention by throwing a glove at the guy and storming out just doesn't compute. You can edit out the elaborate group therapy session that would ensue after this if it were real, but at least show us that it happened.
If this video is fake, then I'm sure Tom Mabe wanted to steer people to his YouTube channel with a touching PSA and make a name for himself at the same time, kinda like that whole Kony 2012 thing. Let's just hope Tom Mabe uses his newfound internet fame to bring us something as unintentionally hilarious as Jason Russell's naked San Diego meltdown: