Update: Uncle Rob responded to our inquiry. His responses to our questions are at the end of the article.
One of the internet sensations of the last week has been the lawn mower spray paint fail by “Uncle Rob” Youtube channel. Some have pointed out though that the video is fake. Not in a sense that it’s full of digital tricks, but it appears to makes us believe things worked in a way they didn’t.
On April 1 “Uncle Rob” posted a video titled “Paint can lawn mower explosion: Arts and Crafts with Uncle Rob.” In the video, Uncle Rob advises us how to do an arts and crafts project with our kids. One man in a Darth Vader mask holds a running lawn mower, while Uncle Rob throws spray paint cans into it. It appears the goal of the endeavor is to let the paint splash on a canvas, thus creating the “arts and crafts project.”
The first three cans end up splashing some paint on the canvas, but the fourth one has a rather unexpected consequence. The paint catches on fire and explodes in a fireball setting both the canvas and the lawn mower ablaze.
The video was viewed more than 21 million times, mostly from Uncle Rob’s posting it on his Facebook page and from reposts on a few viral video Facebook pages.
However, multiple viewers pointed out the paint was set on fire intentionally with a propane torch hidden behind the bricks on the right side of the lawn mower.
Indeed, there appears to be a black object behind the bricks with a bent pipe extending from it—a semblance of a propane torch.
During the last two attempts, the torch seems to be better hidden, with only the pipe visible.
The lesson, as far as we know, is that throwing an aluminium spray paint can into a lawn mower doesn’t produce sparks that would set the paint on fire.
And, just to be sure, we’ve also learned that this is not a way to do an arts project with your children.
Uncle Rob popped up on the internet about 7 months ago, calling himself the sidekick of BatDad.
BatDad is a popular Vine account of a father of four who’s been dropping everyday dad lines in Batman voice and with a Batman mask on for almost three years to hilarious reactions from his kids and his wife, amassing some 3.6 million followers.
Uncle Rob’s videos often feature characters from BatDad, but focus on staged failed tutorials. In his videos, Uncle rob, in a rag-tag Robin outfit, would usually announce his plan to teach us how to perform a simple family-man task, such as hanging a picture, decorating a Christmas tree, or opening a stuck pickle jar. Then he would proceed with a most inadvisable way to complete the task, fail miserably, and then pretend everything went as expected.
Update: Uncle Rob responded to our inquiry. Here are his responses to some of our questions:
What made you start the channel?
I was in some Batdad videos and then one day I made a video in my backyard where I dumped a bucket of gas on a fire and lit it. It burned the hair off my legs and all of a sudden I had 100k followers on Facebook so i kept making videos.
Anybody hurt making the videos? (The lawn mower one in particular.)
I got hit in the arm with a paint can pretty hard on that one but it wasn’t bad. I get at least a little hurt on most of the videos but no real injuries.
How did you come up with the lawn mower idea?
I ran over a beer can while mowing my lawn one day and the idea came to me. I really wanted to make a modern art piece like a redneck Jackson Pollock. I thought it would work. I didn’t think the canvas would disintegrate. I really thought after the flames subsided I would be left with a masterpiece.
How did you make the paint light up?
That’s a mystery lots of Reddit commenters have been trying to figure out. All I can tell you is it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t trying to hide it. I wanted all the cans to light on fire but only the last one did. The video was a joke not a trick or a fake explosion, like a lot of comments made it out to be, but a joke.