Is a viral video still funny if it turns out to be fake?
Last week, "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" featured another installment of "Pumpcast News," in which a fake newscaster appears on the video screen above a gas station pump and surprises customers. This time, the customer was bartender Will Sims, who gamely sang Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" to win free gas. His fitness-instructor wife, Monifa Sims, laughed inside the car, but was coaxed out of the vehicle to have her own karaoke session to "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." Both turned out to be great singers.
The YouTube video of the segment went viral, racking up 9.7 million views since last Thursday. Host Jay Leno even brought them into the studio to sing with the band.
But as The Smoking Gun revealed, the Simses are trained actors, and Monifa appeared on "Pumpcast News" before!
Before moving to Hollywood, Calif. the couple founded a theater company, and Monifa won a dramatic acting competition by TNT. And in March 2011, Monifa appeared on "Pumpcast News," though she ran around the gas station instead of singing.
The couple insists that they did not plan the second appearance. "When it happened again, I said, 'I cannot believe it!'" Monifa Sims told The Smoking Gun. The show did not mention Monifa's previous time on the segment because producers didn't want the audience "to think we were actors and it was a 'plant,'" Will Sims explained.
"We weren't expecting this at all. But it's been a lot of fun. I'm happy that it's made a lot of people laugh," his wife added.
Still, she "hope[s] and pray[s]" that it helps their careers, Monifa said. "We are in Hollywood."