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The Week in Radio: The viral world of proper Charlies


Steven Spielberg’s terrifying haunted-house thriller Poltergeist (1982)

Steven Spielberg’s terrifying haunted-house thriller Poltergeist (1982)

Steven Spielberg’s terrifying haunted-house thriller Poltergeist (1982)

Everything — absolutely everything — that currently exists in the world (insofar as we can be sure that anything really exists) is now viral marketing. See that sentence there? The one I just wrote?

That’s viral marketing.

And so is the sentence that told you it was viral marketing. And so is the full stop coming up... now. And so is your granny. And your dog. And the weather. And the element praseodymium. Viral marketing. All of it.

And so, it would appear (insofar as appearances can be trusted), is the ‘Charlie Charlie challenge’. What’s the ‘Charlie Charlie challenge’? Friday’s Tubridy had all the answers. Well, sort of. Or, more accurately, not really.

“It’s paper, pencils and kids around the country, around the world,” ‘explained’ Tubridy, “trying to summon the devil by saying ‘Charlie! Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!’ and the devil’s name is Charlie and on and on and on.”

On the line to add to the confusion was Deborah, whose daughter had, it turned out, and despite promises to the contrary, been in her bedroom Charlie-Charlie-ing away with her pals.

Kids! They’re incorrigible! “I nearly had a heart attack,” said Deborah, who spent the next “three hours” trying to “get through to her”. Her daughter, that is. Not Charlie’s infernal half-sister.

“But I don’t believe in all that stuff, mam,” the exasperated daughter (allegedly) said, sounding eminently level headed. “It doesn’t matter whether you believe in it or not,” replied Deborah, sounding a bit more on the wonky headed side.

Barbara, in Limerick, had discovered her son multitasking like a champ. Casually “playing Playstation” and casually Charlie-Charlie-ing and casually dismissing it all as “some kind of devil crap” (link between video games and diabolic carry-on was unspoken but implied).

“But what happens if Charlie appears?” tut-tutted Barbara, who admitted that “though she’d never used a ouija board”, she had “heard about them”.

And people who have “heard about” things are, of course, people worth listening to.

Tubridy? He was soon prattling on about the new Poltertgeist remake and “that sort of clown teddy bear thing and you pull the nose and it’s like... AH BENADAYYHHH!!”

That last bit is an approximation of Tubridy’s version of a strangled demonic cry. “All right Ryan, let it go,” begged a freaked-out Barbara.

Not that it worked. As Tubs shrieked “BARBARAAA!!” and otherwise sounded — strangled demonic cry aside — much as he often does.

Full of mild-to-moderate contempt for his guests. Full of mild-to-moderate contempt for the crappy items he’s ‘forced’ to do daily. And full of mild-to-moderate self-loathing. Just what folks want from a jaunty weekday morning show!

Anyway, the whole “Charlie Charlie” palaver turned out, predictably, to be naught but a cunning viral marketing stunt dreamed up to promote a forthcoming (found footage) horror flick (The Gallows, in case you’re interested... you shouldn’t be).

Hell, maybe Deborah and Barbara are (deep cover) agents of the marketing firm. Maybe Tubs is too. Maybe I am (so deep in character, I no longer even know it). Maybe you are.

Or maybe that’s just what Charlie wants us to think (so we’ll whip out the pencils and summon him). Maybe the devil is (gulp) now virally marketing himself?

“AH BENADAYYHHH!!” as Tubs might say.

Tubridy, 2FM, Weekdays