UPDATED — Take that, Jimmy Kimmel.
The city of Wichita has produced an official response to a recent skit on Kimmel’s show that spoofs the city as a “Wichitawesome” place for spring break.
The video itself isn’t so official, though. Instead, it takes off on a spring break theme where a cardboard cutout Jimmy Kimmel gets drunk off a beer bong at an Old Town bar, vomits by the Arkansas River and gets some handsy treatment from a TSA agent at the airport.
“It went right there to the edge, but it does have natural attention, and individuals are looking at it,” Mayor Carl Brewer says.
He says staff in the city manager’s office, including spokeswoman Lauragail Locke, produced the video. Brewer first saw it Tuesday. By this morning, it had 3,000 views.
Brewer says if he and City Council members had produced the video, “we’d probably have been a lot more conservative than that, but then if we had done it, we’d have a lot less than 3,000 hits.”
Locke says she hears the video went over well at “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“So I think we were on the mark,” she says. “Our goal was to produce a video that would appeal to his late night talk show television audience in the hopes of getting on national TV. … We just want to draw more attention to our city and show that we are a fun place, and we have a lot to offer.” Locke says the main point was to invite Kimmel here.
She adds, referring to the city’s cable network, “It was definitely not meant for a City7 audience.”
Locke says she’s not sure how much the video cost, but she says money spent was mainly for the cutout that a company produced and a sound effect that was used in the video. It was shot with city staff and equipment.
The mayor’s response was to call Kimmel field producer Sarah Robe, a native Wichitan, and invite the talk show host to town. That’s when he says he heard that “many of the staff there thought Wichita was a fictitious city.”
“She had to educate them and tell them no, whoever did it did their homework, and it was a real city.”
Robe tells Have You Heard? that staffers do in fact know of Wichita, but they didn’t realize that places in the video, such as Scotch & Sirloin, are real.
“That’s why it’s funny, too, and why it resonates because it’s a town that everyone’s heard of,” she says.
Writer Jonathan Bines is responsible for the original Wichitawesome video spoofing Wichita as a great spring break destination.
“Whenever a comedy writer thinks about the top anything, they immediately try to think of what the bottom might be,” he says. “It’s nothing against Wichita.”