Gas Pump Prank Fake: 'The Smoking Gun' Says Video is Bogus, Who Cares?

In a recent segment of "Pumpcast News" on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, a married couple with a penchant for singing Bon Jovi and Eurythmics tunes became viral sensations with their charismatic renditions of "Like A Prayer" and "Sweet Dreams" in a seemingly impromptu instance at a gas station in Burbank, California.


For one reason or another, the Smoking Gun employed their best muckraking staff to reveal the singing duo's true colors. Adopting watchdog journalist tactics usually reserved for political scandals of huge consequence, they dug up two-year-old video clips, used clothing item analysis, looked into the couple’s employment histories and personal Facebook pages — all to conspiratorially expose the couple's premeditated intentions.

Even if the Leno staff did plant this — does it matter? This couple sang and shimmied their way into a free pump of gas, and managed to do so by making 9 million YouTube viewers laugh. The Smoking Gun's investigation was so wrought with drama and intensity, it's as if they were gunning for the couple's official resignation as bystander singers.

The muckrakers’ main argument pertained to the wife Monifa Sims's appearance on the same Leno segment two years ago, and how the show made no mention of the prior appearance. They also found it uncanny that Monifa found her way to the same pump two years later, with enigmatic husband in tow this time around. The couple's thespian backgrounds added to the scandal — they are both trained actors who founded a theater company in Chicago before moving to Hollywood. To add insult to injury, the Smoking Gun observed Monifa's telling outfit choices — she wears workout pants in both segments.

The comments on the Youtube video cite the Smoking Gun article and accuse the couple and Leno staff of "flat out lying" and "trying to deceive the public." With their credibility in clear question, Monifa has had to vouch for their sincerity, stating in an interview they "have been honest … the whole time."

With the harsh language and indictments around the internet, I would like to propose a couple points for the accusers to consider.

First of all, is there a particular gas station you haunt, for the sake of convenience? There is a Chevron station ten minutes away from my house. I frequent that station not because a TV crew hired me with deceit to trick the masses, but because I would like to travel a short distance when I am low on gas. But … that might just be me.

Second, Burbank is in Los Angeles County, and is 7.4 miles away from Hollywood. And anyone who lives within a 20-mile radius of H-Wood is most likely pursuing a career in the entertainment industry or has a propensity for smog and traffic. Either way, the chances of finding a gas pumper who can sing in Los Angeles are as likely as finding "Benghazi investigation" or "Link Hilary to Lincoln’s assassination" on the GOP's congressional agenda — a.k.a., highly likely.

Thirdly, is there a point to being such a killjoy? Investigative journalism is necessary and powerful — it can topple despotic governments, bring light to human rights violations, and keep the world at balance. Investigative journalism requires valuable time and noble effort — and it's best reserved for events and individuals much more assuming than the married couple with an empty gas tank in Southern California.

Or not. Perhaps we should be doubtful and should tear into these two individuals' lives. After all, look at them. Their faces are nothing but deceit and lies. 


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Angel Au-Yeung

Angel Au-Yeung holds a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from UC San Diego and is currently an Associate Editor for LinkedIn. Born in Hong Kong and raised in San Francisco, she is fascinated by the world and the people that make it. Her day-to-day goals include being her own think tank and making sure she has a great dinner.

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