Magazine article Newsweek

The Man Who Broke the Internet

Magazine article Newsweek

The Man Who Broke the Internet

Article excerpt

Byline: Winston Ross

With a widely watched video stunt, Jimmy Kimmel raked in the ratings. But some say the television host damaged YouTube's credibility in the process.

Jimmy Kimmel both won and broke the Internet last week, depending on whom you ask, with his clever punking of the world in the viral video "Worst Twerk Fail EVER." Kimmel won because he tricked everyone into believing a girl trying to make a twerking video for her boyfriend got knocked onto a coffee table by her roommate and subsequently caught on fire. Kimmel broke the Internet because he ruined, uh, people's faith in the infallibility of the Internet. At least that seemed to be the takeaway from some of the more puzzling columns in the wake of the revelation that the viral video was really a prank. So was this a sinister attempt by Kimmel to wreck the Internet? "I wish there was a strategy. There really isn't. We just like to screw around," Kimmel tells Newsweek. The twerking gag came about as a Kimmel challenge to his writers: how many views could they get for a YouTube video without any reference to the Jimmy Kimmel Live show? "I'm fascinated with the process by which a viral video becomes popular," the television host said.

In the wake of Miley Cyrus's cringeworthy performance at the Video Music Awards, the team started batting around words sure to be popular, including "twerk," "sexy," and "fail," Kimmel said. "We were almost picking words out of a hat. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.