How to make a million dollars on YouTube: Ask for it
The video: A few weeks ago, Brooklyn comedian Craig Rowin made a seemingly straight-faced YouTube video in which he pleaded for a wealthy benefactor — any wealthy benefactor — to give him $1 million. On Wednesday, Rowin took to the internet again to announce that his improbable dream had come true. According to the new video (watch both clips below), he received a voicemail and notarized letter from a mysterious man named Benjamin, who has promised to give Rowin the money with no strings attached. Rowin says that Benjamin will hand over the check on Feb. 2 at a New York City comedy theater, leading some to speculate that the entire episode is a self-promotional stunt. But Rowin tells the A.V. Club that "this is real," and that "the show will be awesome." As for how he plans to spend his new-found wealth: "Invest some of it, and probably buy a lot of pairs of the same kind of New Balance that I have now. They are comfortable."
The reaction: "Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Rowin's plea is his lack of justification," says Chris Barth in Forbes. "In each of the videos, he reiterates that he has no concrete plan for the money." That's why this smells funny, says Joe Coscarelli at The Village Voice. While "it's not impossible" that Rowin convinced someone to give him the cash, the voicemail and the letter he produced "are both easy enough to fake." Plus, his "dopey smile" is a "dead giveaway" that all is not as it appears. Watch Rowin's videos below: