4 or 5 occasions per week today, some outdated good friend will contact Louis Theroux and inform him, “My daughter retains going round the home singing your rap,” or, “My spouse was exercising to your rap in her Pilates class.” Passing by a main faculty, Mr. Theroux has the sensation he’s being watched, a way confirmed when he hears a child name out behind him: “My cash don’t jiggle jiggle.”
His agent has been fielding dozens of requests for private appearances and invites to carry out. Mr. Theroux, a 52-year-old British American documentary filmmaker with a bookish, considerably anxious demeanor, has turned all of them down, not least as a result of, as he put it in a video interview from his London house, “I’m not making an attempt to make it as a rapper.”
However in a method, he already has: Mr. Theroux is the person behind “Jiggle Jiggle,” a sensation on TikTok and YouTube, the place it has been streamed a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of occasions. He delivers the rap in an understated voice that bears traces of his Oxford schooling, giving an amusing lilt to the strains “My cash don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds/I’d wish to see you wiggle, wiggle, for positive.”
For Mr. Theroux, a son of the American creator Paul Theroux and a cousin of the actor Justin Theroux, the entire episode has been odd and somewhat unsettling. “I’m happy that individuals are having fun with the rap,” he stated. “On the similar time, there’s part of me that has a level of combined emotions. It’s a bittersweet factor to expertise a breakthrough second of virality by means of one thing that, on the face of it, appears so disposable and so out of protecting with what it’s that I truly do in my work. However there we’re.”
The story of how this middle-aged father of three has taken maintain of youth tradition with a novelty rap is “a baffling twenty first century instance of simply the weirdness of the world that we reside in,” Mr. Theroux stated.
“Jiggle Jiggle” gestated for years earlier than it grew to become all the fashion. It began in 2000, when Mr. Theroux was internet hosting “Louis Theroux’s Bizarre Weekends,” a BBC Two sequence through which he delved into numerous subcultures. For an episode within the third and ultimate season, he traveled to the American South, the place he met various rappers, together with Grasp P. As a part of the present, he determined to do a rap himself, however he had just a few meager strains: “Jiggle Jiggle/I find it irresistible while you wiggle/It makes me need to dribble/Fancy a fiddle?”
He enlisted Reese & Bigalow, a rap duo in Jackson, Miss., to assist him work it into form. Bigalow cleaned up the opening strains and linked the phrase “jiggle” with the phrase “jingle” to counsel the sound of cash in your pocket. Reese requested him what sort of automobile he drove. His reply — Fiat Tipo — led to the strains, “Using in my Fiat/You actually need to see it/Six-feet-two in a compact/No slack however fortunately the seats return.”
“Reese & Bigalow infused the rap with a real high quality,” Mr. Theroux stated. “The weather that make it particular, I might by no means have written alone. On the threat of overanalyzing it, the genius a part of it, in my thoughts, was saying, ‘My cash don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds.’ There was one thing very satisfying concerning the cadence of these phrases.”
He filmed himself performing the tune reside on the New Orleans hip-hop station Q93, and BBC viewers witnessed his rap debut when the episode aired within the fall of 2000. That may have been the tip of “Jiggle Jiggle” — however “Louis Theroux’s Bizarre Weekends” received new life in 2016, when Netflix licensed the present and began streaming it on Netflix UK. The rap episode grew to become a favourite, and at any time when Mr. Theroux made the publicity rounds for a brand new undertaking, interviewers would inevitably ask him about his hip-hop foray.
In February of this 12 months, whereas selling a brand new present, “Louis Theroux’s Forbidden America,” Mr. Theroux sat down for an interview on the favored net speak present “Chicken Shop Date,” hosted by the London comic Amelia Dimoldenberg.
“Are you able to keep in mind any of the rap that you just did?” Ms. Dimoldenberg requested, prompting Mr. Theroux to launch into his rhymes in what he described as “my barely po-faced and dry English supply.”
“What occurred subsequently is probably the most mystifying half,” he added.
Luke Conibear and Isaac McKelvey, a pair of DJ-producers in Manchester, England, often known as Duke & Jones, plucked the audio from “Hen Store Date” and set it to a backing observe with an easygoing beat. Then they uploaded the song to their YouTube account, the place it has 12 million views and counting.
However “Jiggle Jiggle” grew to become a phenomenon thanks largely to Jess Qualter and Brooke Blewitt, 21-year-old graduates of Laine Theater Arts, a performing arts school in Surrey, England. In April, the 2 buddies had been making pasta at their shared house after they heard the tune and unexpectedly choreographed strikes suited to the observe — dribbling a basketball, turning a steering wheel — and the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance was born.
Sporting hooded sweatshirts and shades (an outfit chosen as a result of they weren’t sporting make-up, the ladies stated in an interview), Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt made a 27-second video of themselves performing the routine. It blew up shortly after Ms. Qualter posted it on TikTok. Copycat movies quickly sprang up from TikTok customers world wide.
“This was all happening with out me realizing about it,” Mr. Theroux stated. “I received an e mail: ‘Hey, a remix of the rap you probably did on “Hen Store Date” goes viral and doing extraordinary issues on TikTok.’ I’m, like, ‘Nicely, that’s humorous and bizarre.’”
It burst out of TikTok and into the mainstream final month, when Shakira performed the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance on NBC’s “The Tonight Present Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion and Rita Ora have all posted themselves dancing to it. The cast of Downton Abbey jiggle-jiggled throughout a purple carpet occasion.
“Anthony Hopkins has simply done a thing yesterday,” Mr. Theroux stated. “It might be an excessive amount of to name it a dance. It’s extra of a twitch. However he’s doing one thing.”
The entire episode has been unusual for his three kids, particularly his 14-year-old son, who’s massive into TikTok. “‘Why is my dad, probably the most cringe man within the universe, in all places on TikTok?’” Mr. Theroux stated, giving voice to his son’s response.
“I’ve left my stank throughout his timeline,” he continued. “I feel it’s made him very confused and barely resentful.”
Ms. Qualter and Ms. Blewitt discover it equally surreal to see Shakira and others dancing to their strikes. “I virtually neglect that we made that up,” Ms. Qualter stated. “It doesn’t really feel prefer it’s occurred. It’s received over 60 million views. We see the quantity on the display screen, however I can’t comprehend that there are individuals behind it.”
After the unique Duke & Jones remix went viral — that’s, the one with the vocal observe taken from “Hen Store Date” — the DJ-producer duo requested Mr. Theroux to redo his vocal in a recording studio. That method, as an alternative of being simply one other TikTok ear-worm, “Jiggle Jiggle” might be made accessible on Spotify, iTunes and different platforms, and its makers might achieve some publicity and revenue from it.
Along with Mr. Theroux, 5 composers are credited on the official launch: Duke & Jones; Reese & Bigalow; and the 81-year-old hitmaker Neil Diamond. Mr. Diamond grew to become a part of the crew when his representatives signed off on “Jiggle Jiggle,” which echoes his 1967 tune “Pink Pink Wine” within the half the place Mr. Theroux’s Auto-tuned voice sings the phrases “purple, purple wine.” The tune hit the Spotify viral charts globally final month.
So does this imply actual cash?
“I sincerely hope we will all make some jiggle jiggle out of the phenomenon. Or possibly some fold,” Mr. Theroux stated. “Thus far, it’s been extra on the jiggle finish.”
In his profession as a documentary filmmaker, Mr. Theroux has explored the worlds of male porn stars, the Church of Scientology, right-wing militia teams, and opioid addicts. In his new BBC sequence, “Forbidden America,” Mr. Theroux examines the results of social media on the leisure business and politics. Years earlier than Netflix had successful present centered on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who is healthier often known as the Tiger King, Mr. Theroux made a movie about him. The American documentarian John Wilson, the creator and star of HBO’s “How To With John Wilson,” has cited him as an affect.
Now his physique of labor has been eclipsed, not less than quickly, by “Jiggle Jiggle.” And like many who go viral, Mr. Theroux finds himself making an attempt to know what simply occurred and determine what he’s purported to do with this newfound cultural capital.
“It’s not like I’ve a catalog and, like, now I can launch all of my different novelty rap fragments,” he stated. “I’m clearly not going to tour it. ‘Come see Mr. Jiggle himself.’ It might be a 20-second-long gig.”