Of course, there’s a Miami angle to that viral YouTube video showing a man walking up to selfie stick-wielding tourists in New York City, then cutting off the sticks with heavy-duty clippers before running away like a mugger.
Standup comedian Buddy Bolton, who was born and raised in Miami and performs in comedy clubs here at least twice a year, was one of the brains behind the social commentary — a video believed to have been seen more than 100 million viewers worldwide over the past couple of weeks.
Bolton says he and his crew really hit a nerve.
“People’s vanity is crystalized in the use of selfie sticks,” Bolton said. “So, when you interfere with their heartfelt obsession with themselves, you get an immediate reaction.
“Technology has made people into sociopaths, and it’s good to force them to think about their daily actions.”
Bolton, who says he is 40-ish, is part of a group of comedians who have vowed to post a series of videos of what he calls “social justice pranks.”
The selfie-stick hijinx, Bolton said, was just the beginning.
Actually, many of the early viewers didn’t realize they were watching a prank and believed the attacks on tourists were real. Bolton and his partner in crime, fellow comic Brett Klein, had to get back on YouTube a week later to explain that the alleged tourists were just friends and fellow actors.
“The whole thing costs us a few selfie-sticks purchased on Amazon for $23 apiece and clippers bought at Home Depot for $19,” Bolton said.
Since then, several companies have approached the group — which, by the way, has yet to find a name — to add advertising to the videos.
But that’s a no-go, says Bolton. The whole idea, after all, was to expose the public’s lack of concern for social justice.
And there’s a good reason why Bolton, who currently plays the cameraman in the Snickers bar commercial in which Willem Dafoe plays Marilyn Monroe, says he prefers selling awareness of society’s ills to commercial time.
A former Gulliver Academy and Coral Gables Senior High School student, Bolton is the son of Roxcy Bolton, South Florida’s legendary pioneer feminist and the woman credited with bringing more law enforcement emphasis on rape.
“Florida is such a tropical New York that it produces a lot of good comedians,” Buddy Bolton said while explaining his background. “My mom is 90 now and more fragile, but she’s happy [about the video’s success] for me.”