What Went Wrong During Kimmel's Tour-Bus Prank

Poking fun of tourists' names didn't go over well online
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2017 9:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Jimmy Kimmel pulled a prank on a bunch of unsuspecting tourists at the Oscars Sunday night to mixed reviews. The award show host arranged for a tour bus to be brought to the Dolby Theatre, at which point the people on board were brought inside the auditorium as the audience yelled "Mahershala!" (in homage to Oscar winner Mahershala Ali). The stunned surprise guests were then introduced to the front-row celebrities, including Ryan Gosling (who apparently gave Gary from Chicago his Oscars swag), Denzel Washington (who "married" Gary and his fiancee), and Meryl Streep, whom Kimmel described to the tourists as "overrated."

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But Kimmel also took the opportunity to make fun of a few of the tourists' names, which didn't go over well on Twitter, the Guardian notes. One woman with a name she explained sounded like "jewelry" received a bit of a jab from the host, while her new husband, Patrick, got a thumbs-up from Kimmel for his more-familiar-sounding name. Advocate reporter Nico Lang tweeted, "I'm not into this trend of making fun of the names of people of color. It's not cute, Jimmy Kimmel," while the Guardian's Benjamin Lee noted of the entire gimmick: "It all [felt] a bit patronizing to be quite honest, allowing 'real people” to gawp at celebrities." (Read more Oscars stories.)

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