[Eds. note: This is 100% real. When Jon pitched this story, we kind of just assumed that he was sort of joking, but we've verified it here, here, and here. Not only does this make us feel really out of touch, but it makes Jon our favorite new columnist and levels him up to mage-level trolling, the sort of trolling that transcends the Internetz and becomes pure performance art on the level of Chris Burden or Joan Jonas or something.]
I'm not bragging. On the contrary, this is a confession. I, along with several thousand Internet people, forced his hand and made the otherwise nice-enough lead singer from Smash Mouth eat eggs until he either cried or was sweating so hard it looked like crying. I'd almost go as far as to call it extreme cyberbullying. Yeah, now that I think about it, I guess we cyberbullied the "All Star" guy.
It began on a Thursday night, late last year. I know this because I remember getting pretty drunk before realizing it wasn't Friday. Smash Mouth's account had just been verified by Twitter, but they had no real activity and only 200 followers. Naturally, as things go on the Internet, we accosted it with dumb stuff, but the dumbest of all was a challenge I issued to Steve Harwell, the band's lead singer:
The reason this even became a thing at all is because Smash Mouth is a group of local boys from my town of San Jose, CA, and are arguably the most culturally-relevant young men this place has ever produced. That is, if you aren't counting Screech from Saved by the Bell.
I went to my kitchen and made sure I had a pot big enough to boil 24 of them at once. Of course, this was all in fun and definitely never going to actually happen until a different Twitter user piped up and offered $100 to charity if Steve would eat the eggs. Then another person did that. And someone else. And then 4 or 5 people. And then dozens. I went to bed and woke to find thousands of pledges, promising money to charity if Steve would scarf the eggs.
Who knows what charity they were talking about. It's sort of like how Nas keeps firing out "back-to-Africa" speeches in Belly, without really explaining where on the world's second-largest, second-most-populous continent he wants to go.
Smash Mouth Guy and his band, Smash Mouth.
The band never said a word about it over the course of days, but the flame continued burning in many of us. We'd remind them every few weeks about charity and money and duty and honor, but they wouldn't budge.
One afternoon, though, I got an email from a promoter at a local venue (a fantastic man named Nathan) who had confronted the band about the egg thing and found out that, yeah, they knew all about it and were trying to ignore it until it went away. He did the best possible thing and not only convinced them that it's a good idea, but that he'd set up a causes.com page to track and legitimize donations to a real charity. The band responded with a challenge: Raise $10,000 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and we'd be off to the races.
In a matter of days, we did exactly that. With the money raised, the actual egg thing went down a couple months later. In fact, it was to be the opening ceremony for Guy Fieri's Johnny Garlic's restaurant in Dublin, CA. Yeah, the same frosted-tipped Guy Fieri whose newest restaurant was bludgeoned to a pulp very publicly in a recent New York Times review. Guy and Steve were supposedly old friends and not actually the same man, despite the exact same fashion sense and divorced dad aura. The plain laid out by whoever was now running the show was that Guy would cook the eggs for Steve, and the rest of us would watch in terror. The incomparably kind soul David Thorpe and I piled into the car and drove.
Dublin's a decent distance from San Jose, but Guy Fieri put on enough of a show to make it worthwhile. His bronzed, leathery bod scrambled up a bunch of eggs and asked the audience which ingredients they'd like added. They cheered wildly for things like jalapenos, cayenne pepper, tabasco, and onions, but much less so for things like peppers, cheese, or other human-style ingredients. Steve sat down and quite literally choked down maybe 6-8 eggs' worth of the concoction, all the while visibly pained.
Guy Fieri cracks an egg while Smash Mouth Guy looks on in horror.
I stood onstage behind the whole sad ordeal trying to post videos and photos to prove this was all actually happening, in spite of the fact that the shady company Smash Mouth hired to livestream the thing was a no-show. The shark mascot from the San Jose Sharks hockey team came up and molested me a couple times, and Steve, unable to finish the eggs and wiping his brow constantly, called a couple people up from the crowd to eat the terrible eggs. I had a bite of the eggs at some point, too, and my belly burned like something was smoldering inside it.
San Jose Shark and Smash Mouth Guy.
Steve and Guy snuck the heck out of there, so I grabbed a free Smash Mouth CD from the pile their manager had set out-- their 2006 album Summer Girl-- and took off. In what I assume to be the final act of a cruel genie, my phone (along with all the music on it) died just before the hour-long drive home thanks to all the photos and video I'd taken. Call it a quirk, but I have to listen to some form of music while I drive, or I can't drive at all, and suddenly the only music I had on me was Summer Girl. Which I listened to. In its entirety. Twice, because there was traffic.
My review of the album: 2/5 stars - Not bad for free, but it wasn't all it's cracked up to be.