Now four or five times a week, an old friend would contact Louis Theroux and tell him, “My daughter has been singing your rap in the house,” or, “My wife is practicing your rap in Pilates class.” At an elementary school, Mr Theroux had a feeling of being watched, which was confirmed when he heard a child shout behind him: “My money’s not going to shake.”
His agent has received dozens of requests for personal appearances and gig invitations. Mr Theroux, a 52-year-old Anglo-American documentary filmmaker with a somewhat bookish, anxious demeanor, turned them all down, not least because, as he said in a video interview from his London home “I don’t want to try to be a rapper.”
But in a way, he’s already done it: Mr. Theroux is behind “Jiggle Jiggle,” a video that went viral on TikTok and YouTube, and has been viewed hundreds of millions of times on the site. He raps in a low-pitched voice with vestiges of his Oxford education, giving the line “My money doesn’t shake, it folds/I want to see you swing, swing, sure” lines.
Mr. Theroux, the son of American author Paul Theroux and cousin of actor Justin Theroux, makes the whole affair strange and a little disturbing. “I’m glad people like rap,” he said. “At the same time, there is a certain level of mixed emotions in a part of me. Going through a breakthrough viral moment is a bittersweet experience that, on the surface, seems to be a one-off, not unlike what I actually do at work. Don’t match. But we’re there.”
Mr Theroux said the story of how the middle-aged father of three captured youth culture with his novel rap was “a puzzling 21st century example of the strange world we live in”.
“Jiggle Jiggle” has been in the making for many years before it became a hit. It started in 2000 when Mr Theroux hosted the BBC Two series ‘Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend’ in which he delved into various subcultures.for an episode In the third and final season, he went to the American South where he met many rappers including Master P. As part of the show, he decided to do a rap himself, but he only had a few puny lines: “Shake Shake / I like you Shake / It makes me want to dribble / Like the violin?”
He brought in Jackson, Mississippi-based rap duo Reese & Bigalow to help him shape it. Bigalow cleaned up the opening lines and linked the word “jiggle” to the word “jingle” to suggest the sound of coins in your pocket. Reese asked what car he was driving. His answer – Fiat Tipo – elicited the line: “Ride my Fiat / You really have to see it / Six foot two compact / No slack, but luckily the seat is back. “
“Reese & Bigalow brought real quality to rap,” Mr. Theroux said. “The element that makes it special, I could never write it myself. At the risk of overanalysing it, the genius part of it, in my opinion, is saying, ‘My money won’t be wobbly, it folds. The rhythm of the words is very satisfying. “
He filmed a video of himself performing the song live on New Orleans hip-hop radio station Q93, and BBC audiences witnessed his rap debut when the episode aired in the fall of 2000. That might have been the end of “Jiggle Jiggle” – but “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend” got new life in 2016, when Netflix licensed the show and started streaming it on Netflix UK. Rap shows became a favorite, and whenever Mr. Theroux pitched a new project, interviewers inevitably asked him about his hip-hop forays.
In February this year, while promoting the new drama, “Taboo America by Louis Theroux,” Mr Theroux sat down for an interview on “Chicken Shop Dating”, a popular online talk show hosted by London comedian Amelia Dimoldenberg.
“Do you remember any rap you ever did?” Ms Dimoldenberg asked, prompting Mr Theroux to start his rhythm In what he called “my slightly serious and dry English speech”.
“What happened next is the most mysterious part,” he added.
But “Jiggle Jiggle” became a phenomenon largely thanks to Jesse Quilt and Brooke Blewitt, 21-year-old Laine Theatre Arts graduate, a performing arts school in Surrey, UK. In April, the two friends heard the song while cooking pasta at their shared apartment and hurriedly choreographed track-appropriate moves—dribbling the ball, turning the steering wheel—and the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance was born.
Wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses (women said in interviews chose this outfit because they didn’t make up), Ms Qualter and Ms Blewitt A 27 second video Perform routines on your own. It blew up shortly after Ms. Qualter posted it on TikTok. TikTok users around the world quickly saw copycat videos.
“It all happened without my knowledge,” Mr. Theroux said. “I got an email: ‘Hey, a remix of the rap you did on ‘Chicken Shop Date’ is going viral and doing something extraordinary on TikTok.’ And I was like, ‘Well, It’s funny and weird.'”
It emerged from TikTok and went mainstream last month, when Shakira performs “Jiggle Jiggle”“Dancing on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion and Rita Ora all posted their dances. Downton Abbey cast wobbles During the red carpet event.
“Anthony Hopkins just did something yesterday,” said Mr. Theroux. “It would be too much to call it a dance. It’s more of a twitch.but he is doing something. “
The whole incident was strange to his three children, especially his 14-year-old son, who is a huge fan of TikTok. “‘Why is my father, the most timid person in the universe, all over TikTok?'” Mr Theroux said, citing his son’s reaction.
“I’ve left my stench on his timeline,” he continued. “I think it confuses him and a bit resentful.”
Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt found it equally surreal to see Shakira and the others dance to their movements. “I almost forgot that we made it up,” Ms Quilt said. “It didn’t feel like it had happened. It had over 60 million views. We saw the numbers on the screen, but I couldn’t understand who was behind it.”
After the original Duke & Jones mix was all the rage — that is, the track was taken from “Chicken Shop Date” — the DJ-producer duo asked Mr. Theroux to redo his in the studio singing. That way, “Jiggle Jiggle” can be released on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms, not just another TikTok earworm, and its makers can get some exposure and profit from it.
In addition to Mr. Theroux, the official list includes five composers: Duke & Jones; Reese and Bigalo; and 81-year-old hit producer Neil Diamond. He became part of the crew when Mr. Diamond’s rep signed off on “Jiggle Jiggle,” which echoes his 1967 song “Red Red Wine,” where Mr. Theroux’s auto-tuned voice sang “red, red.” wine”.this song Climb the Spotify viral chart Globally last month.
So does this mean real money?
“I sincerely hope we can all get out of this. Or maybe some folds,” Mr. Theroux said. “So far, it’s been more of a shaky state.”
During his career as a documentary filmmaker, Mr. Theroux has explored the worlds of male porn stars, the Church of Scientology, right-wing militias and opioid addicts. Mr Theroux explores the impact of social media on the entertainment industry and politics in his new BBC series “Forbidden America”. Mr. Cyrus made a movie about him long before Netflix’s hit show centered on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, known as “Tiger King.” American documentary John Wilson, creator and star of HBO’s “How to Get Along with John Wilson,” calls him an influence.
Now, his work has been overshadowed by “Jiggle Jiggle,” at least temporarily. Like many who went viral, Mr. Theroux found himself trying to understand what just happened and figure out what he should do with this newfound cultural capital.
“It’s not like I have a catalog, like, now I can release all my other novelty-speaking pieces,” he said. “I’m obviously not going to visit it.” Come see Mr Giger himself. “It’s going to be a 20-second show.”