Brett Cohen pranked NYC on the night of July 27th, 2012, and he has video proof: he "came up with a crazy idea to fool thousands of pedestrians walking the streets of Times Square into thinking he was a huge celebrity," and succeeded.
He is not a celebrity—or at least, he wasn't before this video went viral. He's a 21 year old SUNY New Paltz student. Snip from the project description:
This social experiment, of sorts, makes a profound statement about how modern culture is so attracted to pop culture, without any real credibility needed. He dressed up like a typical celebrity and was accompanied by an entourage of two professional bodyguards, two assistants, and photographers pretending to be paparazzi. While the assistants and photographers waited for Brett to exit the 49th street marquee at NBC Studios, they started a buzz that a "big star" was about to walk out, thus making it worth their while to wait and get a picture. Many asked the crew whom Brett was, and no answer was given. They were forced to either make something up, or just take a picture with him in hopes that their Facebook friends or Twitter followers might have a better idea.
As the crew walked over to Times Square, the crowds around Brett grew on each consecutive block. Very few people even questioned who he was, where he was from, or what he does. Brett took pictures with nearly 300 people before the stunt ended. The video even includes interviews with people who had just taken a picture with Brett, and puts them in an awkward position when they're asked questions such as, "Where do you know Brett from?" and "What's your favorite movie he was in?" Many of them were overwhelmingly excited over Brett's walk through Times Square, and it showed.
He hired the bodyguards and photographers from Craigslist, and wore cheap knockoff sunglasses and a shirt from an Express clearance rack.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.