- Actor Jake Novak went viral in June after posting a TikTok audition for “Saturday Night Live.”
- The video featured Novak singing the reasons why he should be on the show and was dubbed “cringe”.
- Novak said Vulture on how the coup affected him.
Jake Novak, the actor, comedian and content creator who went viral for his very public and musical attempt to audition for “Saturday Night Live,” said in an interview that the backlash to his video caused him “severe emotional distress.” .
“There have even been some fears about the kinds of messages that people in my life have received that seemed to indicate that I might have been harmed,” she told a interview with Vulture published Tuesday.
“He urged the opening of investigations into who these people are who are sending these kinds of messages,” he told the agency. “So it’s gone a long way, and to my great surprise, it seems to keep going.”
Novak rose to TikTok fame when in June posted a video on TikTok introducing himself to “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels as a cast member for the show’s upcoming season. The video, which features Novak singing to Michaels about why he should be chosen to be on the show, has been viewed more than 4 million times.
“What I really wanted it to do was just an introduction to me and hopefully encourage them, if they liked what they saw, to check out the other videos that were on my profile,” said Novak, who prior to the video posted weekly comedy songs on TikTok.
In the minute-long video, Novak calls himself a “rappin-rhymin’ hammy nerd” and compares himself to “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and former “SNL” cast member Andy Samberg.
Novak now has over 320,000 followers on the platform. The video in June was almost immediately ridiculed by TikTok users, who deemed the video “crashing” and mocked it.
“I guess people just didn’t think it was that funny, which is fair. Not everyone should think everything is funny,” Novak told Vulture. While many of the reactions poked fun at Novak, other responses were more serious, he said.
Novak’s “funny” video sparked a wave of mockery and harassment
Novak said a friend told him that people are discovering his past posts on social media and sharing them. His personal website was “flooded” with unusually high traffic and his email inbox became full of “really nasty emails”, the report said.
He received emails from people impersonating Lorne Michaels, messages calling him “horrible” and “at least” one email urging him to kill himself.
“It just turned into a hate inbox, so I’ve removed it from my site,” he said, according to Vulture.
He told the broadcaster that he has tried to avoid much of TikTok’s backlash to the video because friends have told him it’s “really ugly and twisted” and has even become “conspiratorial” since he hasn’t posted the video on the platform.
Novak works as a performer at Disneyland and said he hasn’t had any “negative” encounters working there since the viral video, but told Vulture he’s noticed “a few more cameras” recording and taking pictures of him while he’s performing.
“Now I’m looking at everybody with a phone as I’m singing and doing my thing and I’m just not sure what they’re going to do with it,” she said. “And ultimately, I have no control over it.”
Novak is one of a number of celebrities who have spoken out about the harms of accidental online fame. Late last year, Robert McCoy wrote an essay for Slate which details the dangers of a video unintentionally going viral. McCoy said he had his life ripped apart by online sleuths after he was called a “couch” for a video that showed him looking nonplussed when his long-distance girlfriend visited him.