BET cleverly trolled the Internet when it announced the return of BET Uncut, a thirstbucket’s wet dream. (Hell, we fell for it too.) The real surprise was the network reviving Ashton Kutcher’s MTV celebrity-pranking sensation, Punk’d.
Taking cues from the the man formerly known as Kelso from That 70s Show, Punk’d 2.0 opened with host Destorm, producers Michael Felix and Kenny, coordinator Brandy, and special guest host/ Vine sensation, King Bach, in a creative brainstorm meeting, listing a hundred of the most famous black people in the world to target (Kim K was name-dropped because “she got that black a**,” per Destorm). The tall hit list included Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Oprah, Shaq and Jalen Rose. Just like the original, the same blueprint was outlined: locate celeb, hire accomplice then punk ’em.
The premiere episode featured R&B’s most controversial darlings, Chris Brown and K. Michelle. It was a case of the #TBTs, though, when a cast member would shout out, “What do we know about so-and-so?,” a version of a line Kutcher would always dish out before zeroing in on his prank victim. Ruling out A$AP Rocky to location and Jay Z to black-ops-level security guards, the crew tapped French Montana for Mission: Prank Breezy and socialite, Miss Diddy, for K. Michelle’s hoax.
There’s an unspoken giddiness in watching some of music and Hollywood’s finest be the butt of a joke. Sure, social media handles that on the regular with emoji battles and memes galore but a good prank remains as timeless as secretly slipping a whoopee cushion under a grown-up’s chair. Taking advantage of celebs’ weaknesses (usually) churns out must-see TV. In K. Michelle’s case, we learn that she is not a fan of annoying drivers. Miss Diddy helps plan K. Michelle’s bumpy ride to her comedy show, tapping Ron G (“Annoying Uber Driver”) fake fight Amberia (“His Cheating Girlfriend”) over the phone.
Ron G discovers that his faux bae is sexing another man without a condom, sending the R&B songstress into save mode. K. Michelle dials up the GF and asks the pivotal question off top, “ARE YOU F**KIN’?” Amberia is quick to ask who the female voice is on the phone, clapping back at Ron G with, “You accuse me of f**king when you got some b*tch in the car?” K. Michelle’s bestie then swoops in and defends her BFF, calling Amberia a string expletives not fit to print. The real highlight: when Ron G pulls over and K. Michelle gets behind the wheel to drive her damn self. While it wasn’t exactly Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta material, the stunt was A1.
Next up was Chris Brown. French Montana volunteered as plug to prank the singer/ father at a video shoot. “I just feel like people don’t know how much of a good dad he is,” says French when asked about Breezy’s weakness. “I’ve been tellin’ him. People’s kids get kidnapped out there.” Enter nine-year-old Jayla, the “Lost Girl” recruited to tug at Breezy’s heartstrings on-site. When she pops up at the shoot, whippin’ and Nae Nae-ing in the background dolo, she approaches C.B. and tells him she’s been alone in what looks like a middle-of-nowhere desert. “We gotta call the police,” Brown insists before assessing the situation out loud. “There’s something going on around here.”
When Jayla is taken to the bus with a random staffer, Brown immediately pops up to ask of her whereabouts. “Who she went with?,” says Brown, who pounded at the bus door and frantically searched for the girl on set. “She got no family here. Come on, bro,” he says. “I got my daughter in my bus, I don’t play that. We gotta figure this sh*t out.” The cameras come rushing in as French finally lets Brown in the joke. “You had me nervous,” says a relieved Brown, before adding, “I got punk’d before, but this, this left me on the edge of my seat.”
While BET’s version of the hit MTV show wasn’t as oh-sh*t-worthy as, say, Tyler, The Creator’s man-on-fire episode, this first go-round deserves a bravo and rounds of LOLs. True to Punk’d form, each segment wraps with the celeb saying, “I’m [so-and-so] and I just got punk’d” while still carrying the same spirit of the series’ founding father, Ashton Kutcher. With future episodes pulling pranks on the likes of Miguel and Michael B. Jordan, BET’s Punk’d is sure to be a serious laughing matter.