How Louis Theroux became a ‘Jiggle Jiggle’ sensation at age 52

Four or five times a week these days, some old friends will call Louis Theroux and tell him, “My daughter keeps walking around the house singing your rap,” or, “My wife used to do your rapping in pilates class.” Passing an elementary school, Mr. Theroux feels like he’s being watched, a feeling confirmed when he hears a child calling out behind him: “My money doesn’t shake.”

His agent would send out dozens of requests for personal appearances and invitations to perform. Mr Theroux, a 52-year-old British-American documentary filmmaker with a somewhat anxious writing demeanor, rejected them all, not least because, as he said in a video interview from his home in London, “I’m not trying to make him a rapper”.

But somehow, he already has: Mr. Theroux is the man behind “Jiggle Jiggle,” a sensation on TikTok and YouTube, where it has been streamed hundreds of millions of times. He delivers rap in a low-pitched voice bearing traces of his Oxford education, making an amusing twist to the lines “My money ain’t jiggling, it folds / I’d like to see you sway, wobble, sure.”

Sir Theroux, son of the American writer Paul Theroux A cousin to actor Justin Theroux, the whole episode was a bit weird and unsettling. “I’m glad people are enjoying rap,” he said. “At the same time, there is a part of me that has a degree of mixed feelings. It is a bittersweet thing to have a moment of penetration of resilience through something that seems seemingly irreversible and thus far beyond a commitment to what I’m actually doing in my business. But here we are.”

Mr Theroux said the story of how this middle-aged father captured youth culture with new rap music was “a baffling 21st century example of the sheer weirdness of the world we live in”.

“Jiggle Jiggle” I carried for years before it became all the rage. It began in 2000, when Mr. Theroux was hosting “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends”, a BBC Two series, delving into different subcultures. for episode In the third and final season, he travels to South America, where he meets a number of rappers, including Master P. As part of the show, he decides to rap himself, but only has a few meager lines: “Jiggle Jiggle / I love him when Jiggle / Makes me want to shuffle / Fancy playing the violin?”

He recruited Reese & Bigalow, a rap duo in Jackson, Miss., to help him work on the shape. Bigalow cleaned up the opening lines and connected the word “jiggle” to “jingle” to indicate the sound of coins in your pocket. Reese asked him what kind of car he drove. His response – the Fiat Tipo – led to the lines, “Ride in my Fiat/You really have to see it/Six feet-two in compact/Don’t slack but thankfully the seats are back.”

“Rhyss and Bigelow planted rap with an authentic quality,” said Mr. Theroux. “The elements that make them special, I would never have written on my own. At the risk of over-analyzing them, the genius part of them was, in my mind, saying, ‘My money is unshakable,'” fold“.There was something very satisfying about the rhythm of these words.”

He filmed himself performing the song live on New Orleans hip-hop station Q93, and BBC viewers saw his rap debut when the episode aired in the fall of 2000. That may have been the end of “Jiggle Jiggle” — but Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends” got new life in 2016, when Netflix licensed the show and began streaming it on Netflix UK. It became a favorite rap episode, and whenever Mr. Theroux made the publicity rounds for a new project, interviewers inevitably asked him about his foray into hip-hop.

In February of this year, while promoting a new show, “Forbidden America Louis TherouxMr. Theroux sat down for an interview on the popular web talk show The history of the chicken shop,Hosted by London comedian Amelia Dimoldenberg.

“Can you remember any of the rap songs you did?” asked Mrs. Dimmoldenberg, prompting Mr. Theroux to Get started on his songs In what he described as “my spontaneity of dry and slightly quiet English.”

“What happened next is the most mysterious part,” he added.

Luke Conibear and Isaac McKelvey, a pair of DJ producers in Manchester, England, known as Duke & JonesPick up the sound from “Chicken Shop Date” and set it to a backing track with a simple beat. Then they downloaded it the song to their YouTube account, where it has garnered 12 million views and growing.

But “Jiggle Jiggle” has become a phenomenon thanks to Jess Caltier and Brock BeloitThe 21-year-old is a graduate of Laine Theater Arts, College of Performing Arts in Surrey, England. In April, the two friends were making pasta in their shared apartment when they heard the song and hastily designed the moves appropriate for the track — basketball dribbling, turning the wheel — and the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance was born.

Mrs. Qualter and Mrs. Blewitt wore hooded shirts and blouses (the outfit was chosen because they weren’t wearing make-up), 27 second video From themselves they perform the routine. It exploded shortly after Ms. Qualter posted it on TikTok. The fake videos are soon popping up from TikTok users around the world.

“It was all happening without my knowledge,” Mr. Theroux said. I got an email: ‘Hey, my rap remixes you did on ‘Chicken Shop Date’ is going really fast and doing unusual things on TikTok. I’m, like, “Okay, that’s funny and weird.”

It exploded from TikTok and went viral last month, when Shakira performed “Jiggle JiggleDancing on “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC. Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rita Ora have posted themselves dancing. Downton Abbey staff jiggled During a red carpet event.

“Anthony Hopkins has only did something yesterdayMr Theroux said. “It would be an exaggeration to call it a dance. It’s more of a twitch. But it does Something. “

The entire episode was alien to his three children, especially his 14-year-old son, who has a huge interest in TikTok. Expressing his son’s reaction, Mr Theroux said, “Why is my father, the most embarrassing man in the universe, everywhere on TikTok?”

“It left me smelly all over his schedule,” he continued. “I think that made him very confused and a bit resentful.”

Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt found it equally surreal to see Shakira and others dance to their own motions. “I almost forgot we made it up,” said Mrs. Caltaire. “I don’t feel like it happened. It’s got over 60 million views. We see the number on the screen, but I can’t understand that there are people behind it.”

After the original Duke & Jones remix went viral – that is, the soundtrack from “Chicken Shop Date” – the producer duo asked Mr. Theroux to re-voice it in a recording studio. This way, instead of just being another TikTok earworm, “Jiggle Jiggle” can be made available on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms, and its makers can get some exposure and benefit from it.

In addition to Mr. Theroux, five composers have been recorded in the official release: Duke & Jones; Reese and Bigelow. and 81-year-old heartbeat maker Neil Diamond. Mr. Diamond became part of the crew when his actors signed the song “Jiggle Jiggle,” which repeats his 1967 song “Red Red Wine” in the segment in which Mr. Theroux’s auto-tuned voice sings the words “red and red wine.” the song Hit Spotify Viral Charts worldwide last month.

Does this mean real money?

“I sincerely hope we can all make this phenomenon jiggle a bit. Or maybe some fold,” Mr. Theroux said. “Up until now, it was more at the shake end.”

In his career as a documentary filmmaker, Mr. Theroux has explored the worlds of male porn stars, the Church of Scientology, right-wing militia groups, and opiate addicts. In the new BBC series, Forbidden America, Mr Theroux examines the impact of social media on the entertainment industry and politics. Years before Netflix made a hit show centered around Joseph Maldonado Passage, better known as Tiger King, Mr. Theroux made a movie about it. American documentary John Wilson, creator and star of HBO’sHow about John Wilson?“has an effect.

Now his body of work has been obscured, at least temporarily, by “Jiggle Jiggle”. And like many people who have gone viral, Mr Theroux finds himself trying to make sense of what just happened and what he’s supposed to do with this new cultural capital.

“It’s not like I had a catalog, now I can now release all my new rap parts,” he said. “Obviously I’m not going to tour it.” “Come and see Mr. Jiegel himself. It’s going to be a 20-second party.”