The recent SNL sketch "Viral Apology Video" starring Kyle Mooney and Daniel Kaluuya pretty much sums up the drama between David Dobrik and Jeff Wittek
A few weeks ago, SNL did a sketch called "Viral Apology Video" starring Kyle Mooney and Daniel Kaluuya. The skit is a montage of fake YouTube vlog clips referencing the now all too recognizable sequence that all social media drama follows.
It starts with a clip of Mooney discovering mouse bones in his cereal — a la the Cinnamon Toast Crunch guy (aka Topanga from Boy Meets World's husband), who got swiftly milkshake ducked after his tweet saga about finding shrimp tails in his cereal went viral.
The subsequent video shows Mooney issuing a classic YouTube apology, complete with vague, disingenuous statements and self-promotion — because YouTubers gotta get those views for that adsense money.
Viral Apology Video - SNL www.youtube.com
The skit continues in similar fashion, going from vlog to apology, regaling us with Mooney and Kaluuya's antics as members of a "Prank Posse" who often go too far without ever learning their lesson. The skit culminates in a video of Mooney apologizing for the major injuries that Kaluuya, a member of his posse, suffered during a prank that was obviously dangerous.
The sketch — one of the few funny recent SNL sketches that doesn't include Bowen Yang — concludes with Kaluuya accidentally killing Mooney, and so the saga ends.
From the "Prank Posse" moniker to the willful ignorance and the highly rehearsed, obviously insincere apology, everything about the sketch was meant to recall the ubiquity of YouTuber apology videos, which have become the accepted balm over literally every offense.
Just recently, popular YouTuber James Charles released a video holding himself "accountable" for repeatedly grooming minors (accountability in that case was Charles abdicating responsibility by claiming ignorance and blaming his "desperation"), and that same week, a former member of Dobrik's Vlog Squad known as Duerte Dom was accused of s*xually assaulting a girl while Dobrik filmed a vlog, laughing, from the other side of a closed door.
Though the stakes and stupidity of the sketch felt overly dramatic at the time, Dobrik has been at the center of several recent scandals that feel pretty much identical to the SNL sketch.
For a while, Dobrik stayed relatively free from scandal while his YouTube peers like Jake and Logan Paul got (and keep getting) more and more detestable. For a while, Dobrik managed to be the least hateable YouTuber, but his reign as affable Youtube king seems to have come to an end as the past few weeks have enveloped him in scandal.
Most recently, fellow YouTuber and member of the Vlog Squad Jeff Wittek revealed that he suffered a serious eye injury as part of a vlog he made with David Dobrik.
In the vlog (which has since been removed from YouTube), Dobrik is controlling an excavator as Wittek swings from it. The video caused speculation from fans curious as to what happened, and Wittek finally revealed his story in an Instagram post:
Wittek said in his caption, "I got in an accident and broke my face and skull in a few places. But I'm OK. I'm more alive than ever. I'll heal up good as new, and I'll get some new pics of that mullet up as soon as they can get me a blow dryer up to my hospital room."
Though he kept some of his humor in the post, he also posted a trailer to a docu-series in which he will be telling the whole story, tweeting that it will be "as real as it gets .. Definitely a new side of me that I'm not used to showing."
The docu-series Don't Try This At Home is Wittek's tell-all about the incident and his life in the vlog squad. The first episode, which aired on April 18th, finds Wittek unveiling the true story of his life before meeting Dobrik and how about his life before meeting Dobrik and how he ended up in the vlog squad.
The episode was followed by the most recent installment, "How I Broke My Face," which told the full story of the excavator incident. This Part 2 video was uploaded on April 21st and immediately drew millions of viewers. It showed not just the fun and games the squad was known for, but Dobrik's reckless endangerment of his friends.
In a part of the video, Dobrik speeds up the excavator as one of his fellow YouTubers is swinging from the attached rope, despite her pleas for him to stop. "'You take things too far," she yells in the clip — a revealing truth about the dangerous consequences of being in one of Dobrik's viral videos.
Next, Wittek shares his own story about being on the excavator, saying: "This was where I made a mistake. I forgot that the biggest f*cking idiot I know was driving it." Wittek ended up falling from the rope attached to the excavator and crashed into the machine, severely injuring his face.
The unedited clip has made its way around the internet, and its brutal nature is far from funny. Yet, the extreme recklessness of the event, not just the idea but of Dobrik's willful endangerment, offers a new perspective on the social media star.
Looking at it from afar, it's clear that the whole thing is one mistake after another, and at the heart of it is a YouTuber who has no sense of stakes and consequences, having always gotten away with everything. His God-complex and flippancy has had consequences for the people subject to his pranks, including his closest friends.
But despite the near-fatal injuries Wittek suffered, it is inevitable that Dobrik will bounce back from this, and perhaps we can expect an apology video about this soon.
The magic of the apology SNL sketch is like the magic of any good art — a particularly moving poem, your favorite Taylor Swift song. It is so transcendent that it feels predictive. It's just a matter of time until the next near death incident occurs to spur the next apology video. And the next. And the next. And the next.