Widely agreed on subjective observation: The couple that did some spontaneous karaoke on Jay Leno's Pumpcast News that went utterly viral are entirely charming that could have a great career as entertainers. Here are the lovely Will and Monifa Sims, in case you missed them, or just want another round of their delightful singing.
Little known, likely objective fact: Their appearance on Pumpcast News was probably not as spontaneous as it appeared.
The Smoking Gun dug into this one, and found some suspect circumstantial evidence:
Monifa and Will Sims, introduced by Leno on their subsequent appearance on the show as a fitness instructor and bartender respectively, are actors. As in, they worked in a theater company in Chicago called
Congo Square before moving to Hollywood. She has been on Criminal Minds, among other shows, and you can watch her on this clip in her online
acting resume. That doesn't out them by itself--lots of actors have day jobs--and I wouldn't begrudge Leno and his staff for preferring to mention those rather than something that calls the authenticity of their appearance into question.
But speaking of which, there's more: Monifa Sims has been on Pumpcast News before. Two years ago, she appeared as a fitness instructor.
So, was this "spontaneous" video staged? Probably. Now here's a much harder question:
How much do we care?
Let's say your the Leno Show, you know that viral content is key in this media market, so like your competitors, you think up a way to manufacture it, and this segment gets pitched and approved. Here's the thing: while random people filling up their cars can offer wonderful surprises, most of the time they do something else, like ignore you, say something you can't show on network television or get freaked out and complain to the gas station management. Why not avoid that liability AND have a much higher success rate by paying lesser known actors to be random people. Just the savings from not having to pay the Pumpcast host for many hours of dud interviews would make this worth it.
And yet, even though this makes sense for the actors and for Leno, this is kind of a bummer. Spontaneity sells right now, so networks are manufacturing spontaneity, which, by definition, is not spontaneous. Monifa and Will Sims may parlay their fifteen minutes of fame into fifteen years of better acting gigs, and I hope they do, because they're legitimately charming. This revelation does suck the air out of Pumpcast News, however, and makes some of us a little more cynical about big network viral content.