Alex Casey watched in horror as Mike Hosking tried to recreate the Chewbacca Mask video on Seven Sharp.
As it is written in the bible, every viral internet craze can enjoy only a few moments of purity before being sullied by a pack of vultures led by an Animorphs-style Ellen Degeneres with James Corden bringing up the rear in his carpool of absolute buzzkill.
Let that hype simmer for few days or weeks – however long it takes our pop culture carrier pigeon to land safely in Invercargill airport – and we might even see some of kiwi battlers giving it a shot in the name of some noble content creation. This is where the true magic happens, this is the space where I will gladly tune in.
Case in point, Mike Hosking. Just two weeks ago, a mere 400 years after the running man craze had subsided, he entertained the masses with some exceptionally bad dance moves and jeans, delivering only a slightly Brent-ish finish:
Yesterday, social media lit up with the rumour that Hosking would be trying on the now-infamous Chewbacca mask, live on Seven Sharp. Of course I was going to be there. Because I’m a human being with a beating heart, that video means the entire world to me and brings more joy to my crotchety old life than the birth of my two cats. I want to have it playing inside my eyelids at all times. I want everyone around me to wear the mask. The world before the Chewbacca mask feels dull and distant.
Naturally, there is no better candidate to recreate the most joyous occurrence in the history of the internet than a scowling Dementor in his prime time cave. I nestled in with a cup of tea, and waited patiently through the other bulletin items. The nice water tree. The bad ball dresses. And then, just before the ads, there was the tease of the century:
When we returned from the ads, Toni Street looked sunny and cheerful next to a a sullen, deflated Hosking. He furiously tapped his pen on the desk, as if trying to summon a dark ancient spirit from beneath the bowels of TVNZ to urgently release his soul from its fleshy trappings. “This clip has been giving us a lot of fodder this week…” Toni continued, while Mike released a long, final-breath type of sigh.
He looked fed up with this world and everyone in it – especially happy Chewbacca people.
We were shown the original viral clip, and then a flashback to Mike the night before, when he claimed that ratings would go through the roof if he wore the mask. Based on the sample size of my lounge, he was definitely right. The last time I watched Seven Sharp was when Tim Wilson was trying to get people to eat pigeon on Queen Street.
Back in the studio, Mike was cracking the fuck up at himself the night before. It will be a surprise to nobody that the only thing that can make Mike laugh is Mike himself.
Toni told Mike they could actually prove it, and a minion named Hannah presented the almighty Chewbacca mask courtesy of The Warehouse. “Oh noooooooo” Mike droned quietly, “nooooo.”
Toni unboxed the mask carefully before Mike snatched it off her. He peered down at it like an elderly person using an iPad for the very first time. “It’s an actual mask…” he said, straight down the barrel. He simply couldn’t believe it.
Without missing a beat, the mask was sucked onto his face with the exact pace of a certain Jim Carrey character everyone was confusedly attracted to when they were younger (just me?). This was Mike’s moment to bring joy to the masses. Would he deliver on the mask’s promise of hearty laughs? Or would he conjure up a terrifying nightmare zone of high pitched noise beneath a plastic character mask like something straight out of a horror film?
…..I’ll let you decide….
Despite Toni prying open the jaws of the mask to release the Chewie noise, Mike could only deliver some alarmingly shrill complaints from beneath the plastic. No laughs. No tears. No buoyant joy. He tossed the mask back to Toni, questioning the craftmanship of the product and it’s relative retail value. “You must have a weird chin,” Toni suggested, driving the final nail into his comedy coffin.
As a wise man once said, sometimes it’s better to just let the Wookiee win.
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