Four or five times a week these days, some old friend would approach Louis Theroux and tell him, “My daughter keeps singing your rap,” or, “My wife was exercising for your rap in her Pilates class.” Passing by an elementary school, Mr. Theroux feels as if he is being watched, confirming when he hears a baby boom behind him: “My money is not jiggling.”
His agents are submitting dozens of requests for personal appearances and invitations for performances. Mr Theroux, a 52-year-old British-American documentary filmmaker, turned down the book, with somewhat restless behavior, at least because he said in a video interview from his London home, “I don’t try. To make him a rapper. “
But in a way, he already has: Mr. Theroux is the man behind “Jiggle Jiggle”, a sensation on TikTok and YouTube, where it has been streamed millions of times. He presents the rap in an understated voice that bears the marks of his Oxford education, “My money doesn’t jiggle, it folds / I want to see you hanging out for sure.”
For Mr. Theroux, the son of American writer Paul Theroux and cousin of actor Justin Theroux, the whole episode was strange and a little upsetting. “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 the breaking moment of virality through something is a bitter thing that, on his face, seems so disposable and so far from keeping up with what I really do in my work. But we are there. “
The story of how this middle-aged father of three has captured youth culture with a rap of innovation “is a wonderful example of the strangeness of the world we live in in the 21st century,” said Mr Theroux.
“Jiggle jiggle” said for years before all became angry. It began in 2000, when Mr Theroux was hosting “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends”, a BBC Two series in which he studied various subcultures. For one episode in the third and final season, he toured the American South, where he met a number of rappers, including Master P. As part of the show, he decided to rap himself, but he only had a few. Lines: “Jiggle jiggle / I like it when you shake / He wants to dribble me / Fancy a fiddle?”
He hired rap duo Reese and Beagle in Jackson, Miss. To help shape him. Bigalo cleared the opening lines and added the word “jiggle” to the word “jiggle” to indicate the sound of coins in your pocket. Reese asked him which car he was driving. His response – the Fiat tips – led to the lines, “Riding in my Fiat / you really have to see it / in a six-foot-to-compact / no slack but luckily the seats go back.”
“The Reese and Beagles impressed the rap with a real quality,” Mr Theroux said. “The elements that make it so special, I could never have written it myself. At the risk of over-analyzing it, his talented part, in my mind, would say, ‘My money doesn’t jiggle, It folds. ‘ There was something very satisfying about that wave of words. “
He filmed the song live on the New Orleans hip-hop station Q93, and when the episode aired in the fall of 2000, BBC viewers witnessed his rap debut. That may be the end of “Jiggle Jiggle” – but “Lewis Theroux” Weird Weekends “got new life in 2016, when Netflix licensed the show and started streaming it on Netflix UK. The rap episode became a favorite, and whenever Mr. Theroux did a round of publicity for a new project, the interviewers would inevitably ask him about his hip-hop raid.
In February of this year, while promoting a new show, “Louis Theroux Forbidden America”, Mr. Therox sat down for an interview on the popular web talk show “Chicken Shop Date” hosted by London comedian Amelia Demoldenberg.
“Remember any rap you did?” Ms. Demoldenberg asked, encouraging Mr. Theroux to start his rhymes in what he described as “my little po-face and dry English delivery”.
“What happened next is the most mysterious part,” he added.
Luke Coniber and Isaac McCallway, a duo of DJ-producers in Manchester, England, known as Duke and Jones, picked up the audio from “Chicken Shop Date” and set it on the baking track with a simple 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 largely thanks to Jess Qualter and Brooke Blewitt, 21-year-old Lane Theater Arts graduates of the Performing Arts College in Surrey, England. In April, the two friends were making pasta in their shared apartment when they heard a song and choreographed moves – basketball dribbling, steering wheel rotation – and the “jiggle jiggle” dance were born.
Wearing hooded sweatshirts and shades (an outfit chosen because they weren’t wearing makeup, the women said in an interview), Ms. Qualter and Mrs. Blewitt made their own 27-second video that they were doing regularly. Ms. It flew away immediately after Qualter posted it on TikTok. Copycat videos soon emerged from TikTok users around the world.
“All this was happening without my knowledge,” Mr Theroux said. “I got an email: ‘Hey, the remix of the rap you did on’ Chicken Shop Date ‘is going viral and doing extraordinary things on TikTok.’ I like, ‘Well, that’s funny and weird.’
Last month, when Shakira danced “Jiggle Jiggle” on NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” she jumped out of TikTok and into the mainstream. Snoop Dogg, Megan the Stallion and Rita Ora all posted themselves dancing on it. Downton Abby’s cast giggles during the red carpet event.
“Anthony Hopkins did one thing yesterday,” Mr Theroux said. “It would be too much to call it dance. It’s more of a twitch. But he is doing it Something“
The whole episode has been fantastic for her three children, especially her 14-year-old son, who grew up in TikTok. “My dad, why is the toughest person in the universe, everywhere on TikTok?” Mr Theroux voiced his son’s reaction.
“I’ve left my stank on his timeline,” he continued. “I think he’s very confused by this and a little annoyed.”
Seeing Mrs. Qualter and Mrs. Blewitt Shakira and others dancing on their moves seems equally surreal. “I almost forgot we made it,” said Mrs. Qualter. “It simply came to our notice then. It has received over 60 million views. We see the number on the screen, but I don’t understand the people behind it. “
After the original Duke and Jones remix went viral – that is, with a vocal track taken from “Chicken Shop Date” – the DJ-producer duo asked Mr Theroux to resume his voice in the recording studio. That way, instead of just being another TikTok ear-worm, “Jiggle Jiggle” can be made available on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms and its makers can get some exposure and profit from it.
In addition to Mr. Theroux, five musicians are credited with the official release: Duke & Jones; Reese and Beagle; And 81-year-old hitmaker Neil Diamond. Mr. Diamond became part of the crew when his representatives signed “Jiggle Jiggle”, which resonates with their 1967 song “Red Red Wine” in the part where Mr. Theroux’s self-tuned voice sings the words “Red, Red Wine”. The song hit the Spotify viral charts globally last month.
So does this mean real money?
“I sincerely hope we can all jiggle a little bit from this incident. Or maybe a little more, “said Mr. Theroux.” So far, it’s been more at Jiggle End. “
In his career as a documentary filmmaker, Mr. Theroux explores the world of male porn stars, the Church of Scientology, right-wing military groups and opioid addicts. In his new BBC series, “Forbidden America”, Mr Theroux explores the effects of social media on the entertainment industry and politics. Years before Netflix’s hit show Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Tiger King, Mr. Theroux made a film about him. American documentary John Wilson, creator and star of HBO’s “How to With John Wilson”, cites him as an influence.
Now the body of his work has been eclipsed, at least temporarily, by “Jiggle Jiggle”. And like many who have gone viral, Mr. Theroux seems to be trying to figure out what just happened and what to do with this new cultural capital.
“It’s not like I have a catalog and, like, now I can release all my other novelty rap pieces,” he said. “I am not going to visit him. ‘Come see Mr. Jiggle for yourself.’ It will be a 20-second-long gig. “