If you ever felt sorry for the African American, Asian and Latino actors who have to use fake language and accents to get acting jobs playing gangsters and delivery boys in Hollywood, Southern California comedian Jose Barrientos has a prank you'll probably enjoy.
During a fall "speech 101" class,
apparently at Los Angeles City College, Barrientos faked a Mexican accent during most of the course:
That is, until his big reveal ...
Barrientos says he had to give four speeches to the class: Bringing in an object "that describes me" (he chose a pinata); speaking about an idol (David Hasselhoff); talking about history (Cinco de Mayo); and one last one ...
"People, they sort of buy it," Barrientos says on another video. "I don't know why."
Last week he decided to use the last speech to let classmates know he was pranking them. He introduced a beverage he called "Barrientos Accent Be-Gone," took a sip and, boom, ended up sounding like a guy from San Diego (which he is).
Classmates giggled, perhaps uncomfortably.
Barrientos, who says he served in Iraq, says on-tape:
We have to learn to communicate effectively people, because if we don't we will all be lost in translation.
Catch him live Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank.
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[Added at 2 p.m.]: We had reached out to Barrientos and he got back to us this afternoon.
He says class reaction was "divided into two groups:"
Half got it and thought it was funny. The other half was kind of upset because they felt duped and thought we were friends and thought they knew me. Some thought I was giving Hispanics a bad name. Those people were not Hispanic. But the negativity was part of their own filter.
We asked how he got all those camera angles -- if he had a conspirator. Nope, Barrientos says:
What I did was I asked the professor if it was okay if I filmed it because it might help me improve things. I used an easel.
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The video has gone viral, earning more than 500,000 views; that happened overnight and into this morning after he posted the clip on Reddit yesterday, he says. He soon went from 40 subscribers on YouTube to more than 1,800.
Was it worth it?
"I may have failed the class," the 26-year-old says. "I haven't got the grade back yet."