As the election of President Donald Trump proved, viral stories, images and videos can possess an unbelievable amount of power — even when they’re fake. Sometimes they potentially help a country elect a businessman turned reality television star as its highest executive, while other viral moments pull at viewers’ heartstrings. And then there’s the celebrity meltdown, a time-honored tradition in Hollywood that smartphones and social media have expedited significantly. Back in 2015, A Dog’s Purpose star Dennis Quaid featured in one such viral video.
At first many believed the vertical video was genuine, though thanks to the Internet’s steadily increasing output of fake content, frequent pranksters like talk show host Jimmy Kimmel were blamed. The Jimmy Kimmel Live host joked with his audience the next day, saying “You play fifty pranks, and all of a sudden, people don’t trust you anymore!” Of course Kimmel didn’t have anything to do with it, as the fake viral video was actually part of a Funny or Die skit, but that didn’t stop Kimmel from asking Quaid about it almost two years later:
“It was a comedy skit for Funny or Die. They offered me five skits and this seemed like it would be really great or a big dud. So we did it and it was a hoax, and we were going to show what really happened a day or two later. I was in New York when it came out in the morning, and I didn’t even know that it had broken. I turned on the TV and there’s Al Roker going, ‘Dennis come in. You need an intervention. You need help.’ Uh oh, I better call my mom. I hadn’t told her about it yet.”
“The acting was so good in it,” said Kimmel, adding he assumed it was real at the time because (1) Quaid’s “performance” seemed so real, and (2) his Jimmy Kimmel Live team wasn’t responsible for it. That’s when the actor reminded his host of his own “pull 50 pranks quote” from two years prior, at which point Kimmel decried the accusations levied his was as being “so unfair.”
Then again, Kimmel is responsible for several annual prank traditions aimed at making children cry over Halloween candy, or fooling the world with he and Kate Hansen’s hugely successful 2014 Winter Olympics prank involving a wolf at the Sochi athlete dormitories. So while Quaid’s involvement with Funny or Die may have, as Kimmel put it, “backfired” on him momentarily, the fake meltdown video pales in comparison to the wealth of funny forgeries the late night comedian has inundated the Internet with.