Here's a knee-slapper: A comedian walks into Hamilton, Ont., bar, yells at a heckler, and gets stabbed. The whole incident is caught on camera. More than 4,000 views on Youtube in two days. Except it didn't happen that way.
The video is fake. But real enough to have fooled a few people.
Hamilton comic Patrick Coppolino is shown on stage in the middle of his act when a member of the audience yells at him to "say something funny."
Warning: the video contains language some might find offensive.
The comedian responds with a profanity-laden retort. Coppolino then asks the crowd to cheer if they want the heckler booted from the bar, and then leads the audience in the singing of the arena anthem Steam's Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.
The heckler, a burly man with a shaved head, hops on stage and confronts Coppolino. He hovers over the much shorter comedian, saying "What are you going to do?"
Then he makes his move, tackling Coppolino and appearing to stab him in the gut. Two men jump up on stage to subdue the attacker and tend to the comedian's injuries.
One of them implores the viewer to shut off the camera and call 911 while screams ring out in the background.
And then the video cuts out.
'Messing with people'
So how do we know it was fake?
Coppolino admits to the ruse. He and his friends staged it in the middle a standup comedy night he hosted on Wednesday.
He said he and his accomplices came up with the gag before the event, and got the crowd into the act.
"We actually got the whole audience in on it," said the 22-year-old comedian. "We explained what was going to go on."
Several people filmed the incident, he said. The intention was to cause confusion on social media about what exactly had happened.
"We always try to do different things at our shows," Coppolino told CBC Hamilton. "I love messing with people, just pulling pranks on large groups of people."
To an extent, he was successful. Though most on Twitter and YouTube were dubious about the video's authenticity, a handful wished Coppolino a speedy recovery.
The manager of the Corktown Pub isn't amused, at least not about Wednesday night's bit.
"I don't think it's funny," said Allison Crawford, adding that she didn't see the stunt herself. "I'll have to have a talk with them. But beyond that, I don't know what else there is to do."
This isn't the first time Coppolino has used social media in an attempt to dupe the masses. In May, he tried start a rumour on Twitter that Jerry Seinfeld, who was in Hamilton for a real-life performance, was going to deliver an impromptu late-night set at the Corktown.
"All these people started showing up," he said. "We had people showing up in their pajamas and a news crew from CHCH came."
Coppolino clearly delights in the uncertainty of others (appropriately for a guy who has recently been touring with fellow prankster Tom Green). "I just love people not being sure if things are real or not," he laughed.