It’s a sunny day at UCSB. In front of South Hall, a man walks up to a woman. “Can I use your phone?” he asks. “I gotta call my mom. It’ll be like 20 seconds.”
She declines. “It’s about to die. I do have to save it,” she says.
“It’s really important,” he pleads.
The girl hands over her phone, and he dials a number. As he’s waiting for it to connect, he introduces himself — he’s Brian; she’s Gabby — and thanks her for lending him her phone. Suddenly, a phone goes off. It’s his phone, which has been resting in his pocket the whole time. He’s called himself, using her phone, and now he has her number. “That’s weird,” he says when he looks at his phone, smiling slightly.
Later, in front of the MultiCultural Center, the same thing happens. “Do you have a cell phone I could borrow real quick? I have to call my mom,” Brian asks another girl. When he silences his ringing phone, she still doesn’t appear to have caught on, but when he says he’ll call her later, she smiles and laughs. “That’s a good one,” she says when she realizes what just happened.
Three different guys, including Brian, do this for about four minutes in the YouTube video “How to Get ANY Girl’s Number” that has been viewed over 395,000 times since it debuted on March 8 on the Internet.
“Is it just us, or have girls gotten way too trusting with their cell phones?” the Huffington Post Comedy wrote when they posted an article about the video on March 11. “Sorry, if a guy wearing sweatpants asks for our cell for ‘something important,’ it's not happening.”
That guy wearing sweatpants is Brian, who hails from Santa Barbara, and throughout the video he and friends Fred, from Lillestrøm, Norway, and Luke from Pasadena, California, join him in the sneaky way of getting a girl’s number. Together, the three of them have filmed more than 25 prank videos on their YouTube channel called “whatever.”
“I had for a while entertained the idea of making a YouTube channel and wanted to make videos similar to other YouTubers who I enjoyed watching,” said Brian, who started the YouTube channel in August 2012. He and Fred planned out some video ideas, got the necessary equipment, and debuted their first piece in October 2012.
Nowhere and no one is safe from the trio’s pranks. In Davidson Library, Brian showed up dressed as Abraham Lincoln to give an excerpt of the Gettysburg Address, and Fred demonstrated how loudly he could eat a bowl of corn flakes. Numerous unsuspecting students fell prey to a “drop and go” prank, where one of the guys drops a bunch of papers and then walks away as others are helping him clean up in a video filmed mostly outside the Humanities and Social Sciences Building.
“I guess the driving force to start the whole thing was watching guys like [French humorist] Rémi Gaillard,” said Brian. “We all wanted to cultivate this sort of confidence by putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations and pushing ourselves. His videos are amazingly funny: laugh-out-loud-start-crying-type funny. If I was ever having a rough day, I could put on one of his videos, and it would make me feel a lot better. If we can make someone smile or laugh and improve their day just a little with our short videos, it's all worth it.”
Their videos have been featured on KEYT, Huffington Post, Mashable, and CNNSI, and they have been shown on RightThisMinute.com, a website that highlights videos, shared on hundreds of other websites, and viewed in more than 190 countries. Brian, Fred, and Luke have no intention of slowing down.
“As long as we continue enjoying it and people keep enjoying watching them, we will keep making them,” said Brian.