'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

  • Didn't like Sean Spicer's Emmy cameo? 'People are reading too much into this,' he says

    Entertainment CBC News
    Sean Spicer says his surprise Emmy Awards appearance was a chance to have some fun, and suggested Tuesday that people who were upset by it were taking things too seriously. Clearly, not everyone was laughing, however. Source
  • In 'Battle of the Sexes,' King passes a baton to Emma Stone

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Walking through a tunnel alongside Billie Jean King at the grounds of the U.S. Open, Emma Stone gasped at the size of its main court. King, of course, was more familiar with the sprawling tennis centre in Queens, New York -- it's named after her, after all (the stadium itself is named after another tennis legend, Arthur Ashe). Source
  • New Cirque Du Soliel show Volta shocks, awes

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SARAH HANLON/ 24 HOURS You know that feeling you get at a really good concert or play? The one that only live-action artistry can create - when you know you are experiencing something that will never be heard and seen the same way ever again? In today's world of "Instagram or it didn't happen," these moments are hard to come by, but Cirque du Soleil is ready to change all that. Source
  • 'I'm not her': Reese Witherspoon's daughter mistaken for her at Emmys party

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Reese Witherspoon’s daughter Ava Phillippe was mistaken for the actress at an Emmy Awards party on Sunday. The 18-year-old was accompanying her mum to an HBO after-party when a photographer called her Reese while requesting a photo. Source
  • Mother of all box sets: Gene Simmons to deliver 'vault'

    Entertainment CTV News
    Curious about Kiss songs that never made the band's 20 albums -- and have US$50,000 to spare? Gene Simmons wants to share his unreleased tracks, and will come to you. The bassist and songwriter of the fire-breathing, makeup-wearing hard rockers has announced a box set that is among the most expensive ever created. Source
  • Bill O'Reilly says ouster was a 'political hit job'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Bill O'Reilly is characterizing his firing from Fox News Channel as a "political hit job" and says the network made a business decision to get rid of him. In a contentious interview with Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, O'Reilly said his conscience was clear about how he dealt with women in the working world. Source
  • The most dangerous celebrity on the web? Avril Lavigne, apparently

    Entertainment CBC News
    One-time pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne has beaten superstar Beyoncé at something, but she may not be totally happy with her victory — she's been named the most dangerous celebrity on the internet. Cybersecurity firm McAfee said Tuesday that Lavigne, whose last album came out in 2013, was the most likely celebrity to land users on websites that carry viruses or malware. Source
  • Small quake prompts Hollywood, L.A. to light up Twitter

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A small earthquake with an epicenter just outside Los Angeles has gotten people in southern California talking on social media. The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-3.6 quake hit at about 11:20 Monday night. Source
  • Kevin Hart's ex-wife opens up about his 'lies and infidelity'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kevin Hart’s ex-wife Torrei opened up about the “lies and infidelity” that ended their marriage on U.S. TV show Inside Edition on Monday. Torrei was married to the comedian from 2003 and 2011 and is the mother to his children Hendrix and Heaven. Source
  • Jake Gyllenhaal finally answers a question about ex Taylor Swift -- sort of

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jake Gyllenhaal has finally answered a question about his ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift, after years of avoiding the topic of his former romance during interviews. The 36-year-old actor and the 27-year-old singer dated for just three months in 2010, but the relationship was enough to inspire some of Taylor’s songs including All Too Well. Source