Fitness gurus going on TV shows to give viewers tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle is certainly nothing new. In fact, I remember vividly watching Richard Simmons come on The Late Show with David Letterman, despite being pranked by staff on numerous occasions. I often think of this interview when I think of Simmons:
You know, after watching that, I think I can understand why Simmons has disappeared from the public eye. I kinda feel bad for the guy, though he handled it like a pro.
Last year, a couple of guys who go by Chop & Steele brought their “Give Thanks 4 Strengths” strongman show on the road, and onto numerous morning TV shows in Wisconsin. Before we get too into the story, I want you to watch the video. They had me in stitches, and I’m sure they’ll do the same for you.
I think it’s hilarious that these guys managed to get on numerous TV shows, and that their “feats of strength” are as simple as smashing tennis rackets against each other until one breaks, throwing sticks (found in the parking lot, no less) at each other, dropping gallon milk jugs on the floor, and beating an old tire with baseball bats.
I’m sure the audience got many laughs from these guys, and it seems as though the anchors did too, though it didn’t seem to tip them off that these guys might be frauds, since humour was one of the aspects of the “Give Thanks 4 Strengths” tour.
According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the two sent out a fake press release to numerous stations in hopes of getting their duo onto the morning shows:
A person identifying himself as “Jerry Chubb” and claiming to be a representative of “Chop & Steele” emailed the “Hello Wisconsin” anchors separately, asking each of them for “help to promote our shows in Northwestern Wisconsin.”
In the emails, Chubb said Chop & Steele were on their “Give Thanks 4 Strengths” tour and would be in Eau Claire later that month for performances.
A news release identified Chop & Steele as “Joe ‘Chop’ Shopsin” and “Nicholas ‘Steele’ Stelling” and said they would perform in a series of free live events in Black River Falls, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Winona, Minn., “using their muscles to entertain and educate,” promote unity and “address the subject of bullying and ways to prevent it through humor, courage and self-respect.”
The news release claimed the pair has appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” “Steve Harvey” and the Hallmark Channel’s “Marie” and as featured entertainers at Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration.
The two guys are actually named Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, and they’re actually involved in the Found Footage Festival, a festival showcasing footage they found on video tapes sold at garage sales and thrift stores, as well as warehouses and garbage receptacles across the country. One hint that these guys were not actually legit may have been when the news anchors suggested going to their website for more information, and Chop maintained that their website isn’t always accurate, and that they often do shows just in Home Depot parking lots and the like. That might have tipped me off a bit.
At any rate, not everyone thought it was funny, and Gray Television, which owns WEAU, the station where Good Morning Wisconsin airs, has decided to sue the duo as well as the Found Footage Festival, accusing them of fraud, copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit a wrongful activity.
Prueher maintains that some of the blame should lie on WEAU, suggesting that if they had done their due diligence and actually researched “Chop & Steele” and realized they weren’t actually real, the whole thing probably never would have happened.
Copyright Attorney Leonard French made a video outlining the case and what they’re up against. I found it quite informative:
I mean, I get why the folks at Grey Television are mad and are suing, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t laugh all the way through that entire video.
The guys actually reminded me of Hans & Franz:
Wondering what they’ve been up to lately? They actually made a few commercials with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers a couple years back. Here’s one of them:
However the lawsuit turns out, Chop & Steele can at least be proud of the fact that they made numerous people laugh. If you want to see more found footage and funny stuff, check out www.foundfootagefest.com!