Making a Mogg-ery: The story behind the viral video that saw Jacob become Jarvis

Charlie Spargo's picture
JOE's satirical Rees-Mogg music video

Following on from Theresa May crossed with Vanilla Ice, and Jose Mourinho as Ariana Grande, JOE has made another viral hit by merging Jacob and Jarvis.

Their version of ‘Common People’, featuring the MP for North East Somerset and outspoken ERG campaigner, has gone viral in a matter of days, earning millions of views and shares from people including radio and TV presenter Jeremy Vine.

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With tight editing and clever lyrics, JOE has crafted a song reflecting the crisis surrounding a Brexit deal from the mouth of Rees-Mogg himself - cut carefully from more than 10 hours of separate speeches and televised comments. There’s even a section where the politician’s head is superimposed on the Pulp frontman’s dancing body.

Behind this snappy and attention-grabbing clip, there was a lot of hard work from the JOE team. Speaking to the creatives who worked on the project, we found out more about just what goes into creating a social media sensation like this.

Unpicking viral content

Joe Gilmore, Multimedia Producer - more widely recognised as the website’s lead ‘head-swapper’, said: “You have to keep the audience interested. If it's essentially a one-note joke, you have to keep it short and sweet.

“With long-form videos like [the Rees-Mogg one], you've got to justify the duration with continual gags and points you're making - whether in terms of the script or the visuals. For example, my head-swap elements were added to the instrumental breaks in the song, which is important because you've got to keep the viewer engaged and entertained throughout."

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Looking closer at the form of satire JOE put out, there’s no reluctance to turn their critical eye towards anyone. Nooruddean Choudry, Editorial Creative Director, said: “We try to do now what the likes of Spitting Image did so well in their heyday - holding politicians and public figures to account with a sort of angry satire. It's not just about being funny, it's about getting serious points across in the most effective - and entertaining - way possible.”

Choudry spoke about the conception of the Rees-Mogg video, for which he wrote the lyrics. “We'll look at news cycle and upcoming events and identify individuals and situations that are ripe for commentary or parody. Then it's a case of combining these with elements of pop culture in most effective and entertaining way. 

"In the case of the Rees-Mogg video, I wanted to get across some very serious points and criticisms about his politics, and felt we could subvert the message behind Pulp's Common People to satirise [his] frankly ludicrous Eton-educated man-of-the-people act. 

“There's also the added bonus of the fact he looks a bit like Jarvis Cocker, except without an actual soul.”

Focusing mainly on politics and sport, past JOE videos have also gained huge traction across social media. They've parodied Jose Mourinho's final days at Manchester United with 'Thank u Jose, next':

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JOE has also taken former Brexit Secretary David Davis's comments that post-Brexit Britain will not be "a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction," and created something showing just that:

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Having earned such recognition and success, it seems clear they won't be stopping their parodying any time soon.