! The mannequin prank of HowAboutBeirut’s funny duo was featured on 9GAG, UNILAD, and many world-renowned newspapers such as Daily Mail and The Independent! The video in the original post reached 50 million views! It received 16 million views on UNILAD and 6.9 million views on 9GAG! We reached out to Alex and Jad and asked them a few questions!
How did HowAboutBeirut start? What’s the deal with the gas mask?
Ever since we became friends, we used to constantly put ourselves in socially awkward situations just to diffuse our anxiety, get outside of the comfort zone and self-develop on a bigger picture. We started to get better with people, understood their psychology and always tried to push the interactions as much as we could. Until one day we decided to start filming what we do and share it with the world. It all started towards the end of 2013 when we initially acquired a WWII gas mask. This is where our first prank video idea came into existence: “Gas Mask Scare Prank.” At that time, we were using our phones (Samsung Galaxy S2) to film the video and a free editing software (Windows Movie Maker) to compile the shots. Once we uploaded the video on YouTube and it started gaining a bit of traction from a few fans, it gave us that tiny adrenaline rush that kept us coming up with new ideas and improving our quality over time.
Do you guys usually prank your friends/relatives?
Definitely, we have to keep the prank muscle working.
How did you come up with the name?
During 2013, a bunch of new prank channels was just coming up in the west. So we thought: “How about we do this in Beirut?”. Then that thought got shortened into
which eventually became our channel name. We stuck to it due to its simplicity. Plus, it’s catchy.
How did you get the idea of the mannequin prank?
We were watching a mannequin prank done at a random store in the UK that had a decent amount of views but didn’t actually exploit its full potential because the shots were solely based on jump scares and unnecessary details. That’s when we decided to reverse-engineer it into our own style by adding improvisational comedy along with special effects that communicated our sense of humor and eventually create something completely new.
Did you expect the video to go viral?
Yes. When we saw the potential of our “Mannequin Prank 3” that got over 30 million views (which was mainly tailored for the Arab world), we had to take it to the next level and target the audience globally with jokes that all cultures can understand. The priceless reactions we got combined with the different race and ethnicity also played a big role in the success of the video. Nobody expected for an Arab country like Lebanon to have this wide variety of cultures and most were surprised by the fact that everyone was good sports about it by positively taking the joke.
What were your reactions when your video was featured on 9GAG and UNILAD?
We were ecstatic! We made a huge step forward towards our mission:
to make a difference in the Middle East by bringing a smile on peoples’ faces and spreading positivity during the times of war and crisis
. People could finally see that Lebanon is not what the mass media portraits it to be in their “carefully-modified” news reports. However, even with the corruption still going on, Lebanese people will always have that sense of humor that we all grew up with. Comedy connects us all by the end of the day.
Now that you have a large audience, what are your next plans?
Our next plan is to do what we always wanted to do: continue making real reaction videos combined with our style of comedy.
We wish HowAboutBeirut the best of luck for its future projects. For more funny videos, click here.