How Louis Theroux became a ‘jiggle jiggle’ sensation at the age of 52

How Louis Theroux became a ‘jiggle jiggle’ sensation at the age of 52

Decades later in his career, the British American journalist has an improbable TikTok hit that could be a summer song. “I’m not trying to be a rapper,” he says.

Nowadays, four or five times a week, some old friends would contact Louis Theroux and tell him, “My daughter walks around the house singing your rap,” or, “My wife was exercising for your rap in her Pilates class.” As he walks past an elementary school, Mr. Theroux feels as if he is being watched, and when he hears the call of a small child behind him, an emotion is confirmed: “My money is not being snatched.”

His agent is making dozens of requests for personal attendance and invitations to presentations. Mr Theroux, a 52-year-old British-American documentary filmmaker with a bookish, somewhat anxious demeanor, has denied the allegations, saying in a video interview from his home in London: “I’m not trying. To make it as a rapper. “

But in a way, he already has: Mr. Theroux is the guy behind “Jiggle Jiggle,” a sensation on TikTok and YouTube, where it has been streamed millions of times. He raps in his underlined voice with marks of his Oxford education, “My money doesn’t snatch, it folds / I’d love to see you twist, twist.”

The son of American writer Paul Theroux and actor Justin Theroux’s cousin Mr. For Therox, the whole episode was weird and a little annoying. “I’m glad people are enjoying the rap,” he said. “At the same time, there is a part of me that has mixed feelings. Experiencing a successful moment of virality through something is a bittersweet thing that, at first glance, seems so disposable and irrespective of what I do in my work. But we are there. ”

The story of how this middle-aged father of three has captured youth culture through a new rap is “a wonderful example in the 21st century of the strangeness of the world in which we live,” Mr. Therox said.

“Jiggle jiggle” was the exclamation point for years before it all got angry. It began in 2000, when Mr Theroux was hosting “Louis Theroux Strange Weekends”, a BBC Two series in which he studied various subcultures. For the third and final season, he traveled to the American South, where he met several rappers, including Master P. He decided to rap himself as part of the show, but he only had a few. Lines: “Jiggle jiggle / I like it when you spin / So I want to dribble / Like Fiddle?”

Jackson, Miss. The rap duo, Reese and Bigalo, signed up to help shape it. Biglow cleared the opening lines to indicate the sound of coins in your pocket and added the word “jiggle” to the word “jingle”. Reese asked him what kind of car he drove. His response – the Fiat Tipo – led to the lines, “Riding in my Fiat / You really have to see it / Six-foot-two compact / No delay but luckily the seats go back.”

“Reese and Bigalo combine rap with true quality,” said Mr. Therox said. “The elements that make it special, I could never write on my own. At the risk of over-analyzing it, the talented part of it was saying in my mind, ‘My money is not snatched, it is folded.’ There was something very satisfying about the rehearsal of those words.

He filmed himself while performing the song live on the New Orleans hip-hop station Q93, and BBC viewers witnessed his rap debut when the episode aired in the late 2000’s. It may be the end of “Jiggle Jiggle” – but “Louis Theroux” Weird Weekends got a new lease of life in 2016, when Netflix licensed the show and it began streaming on Netflix UK. The rap episode became a favorite and whenever Mr. When Theroux hit the publicity stunt for a new project, interviewers would ask him about his hip-hop game.

In February of this year, while promoting the new show “Lewis Therox Forbidden America”, Mr. Therox sat down for an interview on the popular web talk show “Chicken Shop Date” hosted by London comedian Amelia Demoldenberg.

“Do you remember any rap you did?” Ms. Demoldenberg asked, prompting Mr. Theroux to project into his rhymes what he described as “my slightly oral and dry English delivery.”

“The most mysterious part of what happened after that,” he continued.

Luke Conibear and Isaac McKelvey, a duo of DJ producers from Manchester, England, known as Duke and Jones, extracted audio from “Chicken Shop Date” and set it on the backing track with a casual beat. They then uploaded the song to their YouTube account, where it has 12 million views and counts.

But “Jiggle Jiggle” has become a phenomenon. Jess Qualter and Brooke Blewitt are 21-year-old graduates of the Lane Theater Arts College of Performing Arts in Surrey, England.

In April, two friends were making pasta in their shared apartment when they heard a song and the choreographed movements for the track – basketball dribbling, steering wheel rotation – and the “jiggle jiggle” dance were born.

Hooded sweatshirts and shades (the dress she chose because she didn’t wear makeup, the women said in an interview), Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt made a 27-second video of themselves doing their routine. It blew up shortly after Ms. Qualter posted on TikTok. Copycat videos were soon created by TikTok users around the world.

“It all started when I didn’t know it,” Mr Theroux said. “I got an email: ‘Hey, the remix of the rap you did on’ Chicken Shop Date ‘is going viral and doing weird things on Tiktok.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s funny and weird.’ “

It came out of TikTok and came into the mainstream last month, when Shakira performed the dance “Jiggle Jiggle” on NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.” Snoop Dogg, Megan The Stallion and Rita Ora have all posted themselves dancing on it. The cast of Downton Abbey was circling during the red carpet event.

“Anthony Hopkins did one thing yesterday,” Mr Theroux said. “It would be too much to call it dance. This is more of a turn. But he is doing something. “

This whole episode is weird for his three kids, especially his 14-year-old son, who grew up in TikTok. “Why is my dad, the thinnest man in the world, everywhere on a ticket?”

“I have left my grief on his timeline,” he added. “I think it makes him very confused and a little upset.”

It seems equally unrealistic to see Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt dancing to Shakira and others on their moves. “I almost forgot we made it,” Ms. Qualter said. “I do not think so. It has received over 60 million views. We see the number on the screen, but I can’t understand the people behind it. “

After the original Duke & Jones remix went viral – a vocal track from “Chicken Shop Date” – the DJ-producer duo asked Mr. Theroux to resume his singing in the recording studio. That way, instead of just another tick-toothed ear-warming, “Jiggle Jiggle” could be made available on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms, giving its makers some exposure and profit.

Mr. In addition to Therox, the official release credits five musicians: Duke and Jones; Reese & Bigalow; And 81-year-old hitmaker Neil Diamond. Mr Diamond became part of the crew when his representatives signed off on “Jiggle Jiggle”, which echoes his 1967 song “Red Red Wine” in which Mr. Therox’s auto-tuned voice sings the words “Red, Red Wine”. The song hit the global Spotify viral charts last month.

So does this mean real money?

“I sincerely hope that we can all do something about this incident. Or maybe a few times, ”said Mr. Therox said. “So far, it’s more on the jiggle end.”

During his career as a documentary filmmaker, Shri. Therox explores the world of male porn stars, the Church of Scientology, right-wing militia groups, and opioid addicts. In his new BBC series, “Forbidden America”, Mr. Theroux examined the effects of social media on the entertainment industry and politics. Just a few years before the hit Netflix hit show focusing on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Tiger King, Mr. Theroux made a film about him. American documentary John Wilson, producer and star of HBO’s “How to With John Wilson” has been cited as an influence.

Now the main part of his work is at least temporarily eclipsed by “Jiggle Jiggle”. And like many who went viral, Mr. Theroux appeared to be trying to figure out what had just happened and what to do with this new cultural capital.

“I don’t have a catalog and now I can leave all my other new rap pieces,” he said. “I do not think so. ‘Let’s look at Mr. Jiggle.’ This would be a 20 second gig.

Sneha Mali

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