Give Anil Dash a microphone, five minutes, and a series of automatically advancing slides and he’ll convince you Paris Hilton isn’t entirely indefensible. His argument is based on the fact she’s the only member of her generation of the Hilton clan to inherit a chunk of Conrad’s fortune and use it to increase her overall net worth.
It’s true and it’s a good reason why there’s no need to completely loathe an evil pop culture force, but I would’ve used the Funny or Die defense.
In August 2008, Paris teamed up with the online comedy destination to announce her presidential run. The video debuted after John McCain used Paris’ visage in a smear campaign that likened pre-President Obama to vapid, overexposed celebrities.
It’s a good short. Very good. And what makes it that way aren’t the cheap shots about McCain’s age, but the calculated, self-deprecating humor from Paris. Instead of appearing like a glutton for attention, who’s seemingly perpetually concerned with her outward appearance and exclaiming things ‘hot,’ you see someone who’s all of the above, but also capable of making fun of herself for being so. The Funny or Die video shows you a different side of Paris, one that’s not visible on the Red Carpets or Rick Salomon home movies. One that’s likable.
Which brings me to Rebecca Black.
Now, in no way is Rebecca Black an indefensible scourge on pop culture, but the girl does have a lot of haters (at least 1.4 million of them manifesting in the form of dislikes on YouTube). And what better way to show the world you’re more than the singer of a Blues Clues meets Kids Incorporated tween sensation than to go online and show you know the song that propelled you into the spotlight is kinda sorta comical, too?
Black is the sole star of Funny or Die’s April Fools prank, which would lead the naive to believe the 13-year-old acquired the website, changed the name to Friday or Die, and filled it with a handful of videos all about her hit song Friday. There’s a Behind the Music Spoof featuring Sammy Hagar, a public service announcement from W.S.E.A.S. (We So Excited About Safety), a closer look at Friday’s lyrics, and more, all under the banner of Black Friday. (Coincidentally, YouTube is also experiencing a Black Friday this April Fools).
It’s quite the timely collaboration. Patrick Starzan at Funny or Die told me how it came to be:
We were at SXSW a couple of weeks ago and still trying to figure of what we would do for April Fools’. In the middle of all this amazing music a couple of our writers said we need to get Rebecca Black! And we all said “Fun Fun Fun!”
Our president of production, Mike Farah, contacted Rebecca’s mom to see if she would be interested and she was. Coincidentally, Ryan Seacrest – who is a friend of Rebecca’s (Editor’s Note: Obviously.) – was suggesting she do something with FOD, too.
We got ideas to her last Friday and shot all the videos on Wednesday. She was excited about the takeover and really great and easy to work with.
Take note, readers and celebrities who may find themselves on the indefensible side of pop culture (or at least an attraction for some serious haters). Teaming up with Funny or Die is a great way to defend yourself against nearly any amount of poor decisions, whether those decisions are sex tapes or ridiculous lyrics.