Benny Drama: Jen Psaki taps TikTok influencer to push vaccines, Internet dubs it 'Covid cringe'
The White House has enlisted Gen Z TikTok influencers to push Covid-19 vaccinations among young people across the country, including Benny Drama, who released another parody video on Monday, August 9. A White House insider informed Daily Mail that the video was shot on July 20, before mask restrictions were restored. Benito Skinner, aka Benny Drama, according to the source, "cares profoundly" about getting people vaccinated and has a large following among Gen Z.
The coronavirus is one of humanity's most pressing problems in the twenty-first century. To complicate matters, new strains of the virus are emerging in quick succession. Despite the fact that a vaccine is available, many people tend to refuse it. Around 22% of Americans identify themselves anti-vaxxers, according to data from Texas A&M University's School of Public Health. Those numbers should concern everyone because they may mean the difference between the epidemic ending or spreading with newer, more dangerous strains.
After the 'Day in my Life' trend became popular on the social media platform, comedian Benny Drama produced a video titled "A day in my life as a White House intern." The video was also shared on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. In the video he is seen speaking on the phone, "One sec, Democracy is calling, see you, daddy." Later, he marches down the hallway yelling, "We did it, Joe," emulating Vice President Kamala Harris phoning President Biden to say the same thing following their White House victory.
In another, Skinner walks into the office of White House press secretary Jen Psaki and says, "Jenny, I booked you a nail appointment love." Psaki replies, "I didn't tell you to do that." "It's called initiative," adds Skinner. Later in the clip, Psaki tells him: "We’ve come a long way in our fight against this virus. We’ve vaccinated 160 million Americans-- are you getting this all down?"
Who is Benny Drama?
Benny Drama's real name is Benito Skinner. Skinner was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, but said in an interview that he has long been drawn to Hollywood after spending time in New York. The 27-year-old writer, actor, and digital creative who goes by the handle Benny Drama on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, went to California during the epidemic to further his profession as a sketch artist and comic, a term he still struggles to use to define himself, the New York Times reported. Even so, Skinner, whose TikTok handle is @bennydrama7, boasts over 845,000 followers.
“It’s like the scariest word in the world, but I do feel like a comedian," Skinner said in a recent interview. “That is something that I would never tell, like, a straight man, because then they want to hear a joke.” While growing his following, Skinner worked a day job as a video editor, perfecting a type of humor that largely relies on celebrity impressions, such as those of the Kardashians, Lana Del Rey and Shawn Mendes.
Skinner started off his influencer career with his YouTube channel at the end of 2016. “When I started my YouTube channel Trump had just been elected,” he said to SBS. The comedian's short one-man character skits and pop culture parodies were hailed as a welcome antidote to the relentless news cycle and soon garnered an enthusiastic youthful audience. “Laughing has always been my way of feeling a little better about things,” he said. “When I was in college and I was feeling anxious or depressed, I’d turn to comedy online to make me feel better.”
Skinner began posting brief cartoons to his Instagram account, @bennydrama7, after graduating from Georgetown University with an English degree in 2016, USA Today reported. He was in his football team in college playing as a wide receiver. The "7" of his Instagram username comes from his high school football uniform. Skinner is openly gay and came out to family and friends at 21. “I was really feminine as a child, so I do have a few experiences where I remember being made fun of, but I think that a part of me has always been a performer, so while being straight might’ve been a challenge — it was a role I committed to,” he told SBS Sexuality.
"I came out my senior year of college," he said. "It just kind of felt like everything I had hidden for so long from myself and from the people around me and from the Internet just kind of like flooded. It came out of me," he told USA Today.
On Tuesday, August 10, Skinner plans to share more photographs from his White House visit, emphasizing the need for vaccines. Olivia Rodrigo's July visit to the White House was just another attempt to reach out to Generation Z via social media. Prior to her meeting with President Biden and Dr. Fauci in July, Psaki brought the 18-year-old pop star up to the stage to educate the media on the significance of vaccinations.
'Most annoying person ever'
Fans, some of them slamming the move, took to Twitter to share their views. "We have finally arrived at the House Judiciary x Bennydrama Twitter fight..... this is the true end of the Mayan calendar," said one. "COVID CRINGE: White House apparently recruiting “Influencer Army” to spread awareness about coronavirus vaccines? (WATCH!) Comedian Benny Drama (formerly Benito Skinner) Someone do the OSINT to see if this is the set Or official White House," said another. "Everyone involved in this decision should be fired," a third chipped in. "I think the problem with the benny drama vaccine psa is that it didn’t have any facts about why anyone should get the vaccine & was basically a thom browne ad. i don’t care if they call the most annoying person ever to get people vaxxed but idk how that video will convince anyone," a fourth said.
In fact, Donald Trump Jr posted a rather scathing tweet in reaction to the video and that brought about a whole host of responses on Twitter. Trump Jr said: Next they're going to waterboard you till you get vaccinated, though there's no way that would be worse than watching this!!!"
We have finally arrived at the House Judiciary x Bennydrama Twitter fight..... this is the true end of the Mayan calendar— anna (@annalaznbaby) August 10, 2021
COVID CRINGE: White House apparently recruiting “Influencer Army” to spread awareness about coronavirus vaccines? (WATCH!)— Black War Flags (@BlackWarFlags) August 9, 2021
Comedian Benny Drama (formerly Benito Skinner)
Someone do the OSINT to see if this is the set 📸🎞📽
Or official White House pic.twitter.com/Ut54ULW1Xb
i think the problem with the benny drama vaccine psa is that it didn’t have any facts about why anyone should get the vaccine & was basically a thom browne ad. i don’t care if they call the most annoying person ever to get people vaxxed but idk how that video will convince anyone— Daniel Spielberger (@quepaso_daniel) August 10, 2021
I have no issues with folks expressing themselves and being who they are but this is just annoying as all hell.— Kyle. No, i dont drink Monster. (@1Mind_the_Gap) August 9, 2021
Next they're going to waterboard you till you get vaccinated, though there's no way that would be worse than watching this!!! https://t.co/dliVqejHNF— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 9, 2021