'Hide your kids': Viral stars dish on ups and downs of instant fame

Viral fame is a fleeting and unpredictable thing. Antoine Dodson became famous for a funny interview he delivered after an intruder broke into his home.

See Full Article

Shirtless jogger Ethan Renoe captured hearts around the world when he stopped for a TV interview. And Jordan Axani became a huge topic of watercooler conversation for a couple weeks, with his offer of a free trip around the world for one lucky woman with a very specific name.

On Thursday, the "Bed Intruder Guy," the "Shirtless Jogger" and the "Trip Around the World Guy" joined CTV's Canada AM to reflect on their respective rises to viral stardom, and on what comes after that fame fades.

Axani became Internet famous when he launched a search for a travel companion with the same name as his ex-fiancée, Elizabeth Gallagher. The Toronto native had booked a trip for two around the world, and he wanted to share it with someone whose name would match the one on all the tickets he'd already purchased.

Axani said it was "mind-boggling" to see how quickly his online offer spread online, within hours of his posting it. "It ended up blowing up on the Internet overnight," Axani said. "The next morning, as it was blowing up, as it was going viral, I kept thinking: 'Is this viral?'"

For "Shirtless Jogger" Ethan Renoe, fame came to him even quicker. Fifteen minutes after he appeared on live TV in Chicago, shirtless and well-muscled, a video of Renoe had already gone viral.

"I ran back from that interview, and within that mile that I ran back, the video had gotten about 24,000 views," Renoe said.

During his interview, Renoe told the TV audience that he loves "running in the rain," and that he was single.

On Thursday, Renoe said he's still single, although his viral fame has allowed him to move to Los Angeles to pursue new career opportunities.

Antoine Dodson said fame started creeping up on him the night after he gave the interview, when a friend told him the video was shown on the nightly news. "I just remember laughing, because I felt the interview was funny," he said. "I really didn't think that I would be instantly famous."

Dodson's friend put the video online that same night, and it quickly blew up. The original video now has over 62 million views on YouTube, while a musical, auto-tuned version of the song has 131 million views.

Dodson quickly became a viral star, and found himself working almost non-stop. He said he travelling on airplanes three to four times a week, flying to appearances in all parts of the United States. His fame has faded in recent years, but he insists he's "still riding that wave," with a reality show set to debut on a U.S. network later this year.

Axani said he also "rode the wave" of viral stardom, as he found himself fielding offers to do TV shows and movies. "But then I totally crashed and burned, 100 per cent," he said.

Axani said he's glad he turned most of those offers down. Instead, he tried to use his temporary fame to promote a charitable cause he believes in. "If you give into that, then you're just a commodity," he said. "It was all about saying no to the salacious stuff and saying yes to things where we could actually help people."

Axani has used his viral success to launch a digital start-up called Bounde, which seeks to help people deal with mental illness using digital apps.

"It's a great launching off point for things that I really believe in," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Magician Penn Jillette of 'Penn & Teller' apologizes for calling Newfoundland 'stupid'

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Celebrity magician Penn Jillette has apologized after Newfoundlanders took him to task for insulting their intelligence on a talk show. Jillette, half of the comedic magic duo "Penn & Teller," said his family likely comes from Newfoundland, which he described as being a "euphemism for stupid". Source
  • Magician Penn Jillette apologizes for calling Newfoundland 'stupid'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Celebrity magician Penn Jillette has apologized after Newfoundlanders took him to task for insulting their intelligence on a talk show. Jillette, half of the comedic magic duo “Penn & Teller,” said his family likely comes from Newfoundland, which he described as being a “euphemism for stupid”. Source
  • Judge refuses to end Roman Polanski sex assault case

    Entertainment CBC News
    A Los Angeles judge on Friday denied the impassioned plea of Roman Polanski's victim to end a four-decade-old sexual assault case against the fugitive director. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon ruled that Polanski must return to California if he expects to resolve charges of sexually abusing a teen. Source
  • Ryan Phillippe threatens social media imposters soliciting donations

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ryan Phillippe has warned fans not to be fooled by scammers posing as the actor online, urging them to beware of imposters soliciting donations for charity. The Cruel Intentions star took to Twitter on Friday to send out the alert, insisting any Facebook accounts set up in his name are fake. Source
  • 5 best 'Game of Thrones' battle scenes — so far

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Game of Thrones’ stunning Loot Train Battle was certainly one of the standout scenes during seven seasons on the HBO series. But was it the very best of the major battles that we've witnessed? With the final two episodes of Season 7 promising to be an epic showdown between Jon Snow, Cersei and Daenerys against the Army of the Undead, here's the definitive ranking of the major GoT battles thus far. Source
  • Madonna doesn't want deposition on auction of her dirty underwear taped

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Madonna has asked a judge to block cameras from videotaping a deposition in her lawsuit over the online auction of her personal items. The Material Girl hitmaker filed suit against bosses at Gotta Have It! Collectibles and her former friend, art consultant Darlene Lutz, last week, claiming items hitting the auction block had been wrongfully taken from her. Source
  • Robin Thicke, Paula Patton end custody battle

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Robin Thicke and his ex Paula Patton have reportedly resolved their custody issues by reaching a new agreement. The Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol beauty legally regained her single status in 2015, a year after her separation from Thicke, but at the start of 2017, the former couple became embroiled in a nasty court fight over the care of its seven-year-old son, Julian. Source
  • First official details of 'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman's downtown Vancouver death released by WorkSafeBC [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A woman who was killed on a stunt during filming of the movie Deadpool 2 went outside the planned boundaries of the stunt, according to an initial report by WorkSafeBC released on Friday. The report of the death of motorcycle driver Joi “S.J. Source
  • Stratford Festival explores painful chapter of Canada's past in The Komagata Maru Incident

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Stratford Festival is revisiting a painful chapter in Canada's history with The Komagata Maru Incident, but the show's stars say it is vital to continue addressing the issues at the core of the century-old story. Source
  • Judge rejects Roman Polanski victim's bid to end case

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles judge has denied the impassioned plea of Roman Polanski's victim to end the criminal case against the fugitive director. Judge Scott Gordon ruled Friday Polanski must appear in a Los Angeles court if he expects to have his four-decade-old case resolved. Source