Celebrities like basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo are using puns and making bad jokes on camera in the latest social media craze – the “Don’t Leave Me” challenge.
The challenge, trending on social media, involves users playing around with puns on camera.
Antetokounmpo, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA), is seen on the Chinese video-sharing social network TikTok using dry humor to join the challenge.
In the video, the basketball player is asked by his camera handler to say something to the audience. He responds with a joke about Hannah Montana, a fictional music star in a Disney Channel series.
“If you take Hannah Montana, and you put her in France, what do you have? French Montana,” he laughed in the video. French Montana is a Moroccan-American rapper.
The challenge involving a lot of wordplay is the brainchild of Nigerian comic sensation Josh Alfred.
In March, Alfred, also known as “Josh2funny,” posted a skit on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter consisting of a series of puns.
The 29-year-old’s skit went viral in June, with hundreds of social media users mimicking his play on words and employing dry humor in their uploads.
Alfred told CNN that he has been making similar skits since 2018 but decided to do the now-viral one differently with added humor.
In the skit, he is seen standing on leaves from a tree, and when asked by his friend and camera operator, Bello Khabir, to say something to the camera, he joked that he couldn’t because he was “on leave.”
His friend’s chants of “Don’t leave me” as Alfred walked away at the end of the video is what gave the challenge its name.
“I decided to add some more fun to my skits with puns. I didn’t want people to get tired so I tried to be dynamic and added stronger words,” he told CNN.
“Someone later did a similar video like mine and that’s how it started trending,” he added.
The funny play on words has been watched more than 500,000 times on Twitter and recreated multiple times by TikTok users from the United States, Japan, and Europe.
Alfred says his skits are purposely designed with a play on words to astonish viewers, “I just want people to think, to wonder how I’m able to come up with things like that,” he said.
Nigerian actors like Olu Jacobs and Kanayo O. Kanayo have also participated in the challenge. And, according to Alfred, videos relating to the challenge have received more than two billion views on TikTok so far.
As a way to keep the challenge going, he says in July, he will release music around it.
“‘Don’t leave me’ music is coming out in July. I put a lot of wordplay in the song and I hope people like it,” he said.