Jan 12, 2012 7:59 PM by Andy Koen
The latest viral video craze has ties to Southern Colorado. It's called falling and as you may have guessed, the subjects in the videos intentionally trip themselves up in public places.
The social media schadenfreude is the brainchild of Classical Academy grad Justin Stuart, 18, who started making YouTube videos over the summer with a camcorder he received as a graduation gift.
He and his friend Jacob Leggett say the videos are an extension of their personalities.
"I've just always loved being in front of the camera and making people laugh," Justin said.
"We've just been acting like that forever," Jacob added. "It's just fun to come have fun, and make videos with him."
One particular video titled Falling is the New Cone-ing has gone viral racking up over a million views in a month. Justin says he's even become the leader of an international falling community.
"I've had viewers send me their videos of them falling and I've gotten videos from all around the world from Belgium to Germany to Australia," Justin said.
His mom Tiffany says she doesn't know what to make of her son's sudden celebrity.
"I know that it's who he is and I'm glad people enjoy his sense of humor," she said. "I've had to live with it and our family has since he was little."
But what about the stores, and the mess? We showed the clips to District Attorney Dan May to see if what Justin and Jacob were doing was legal.
"There's no crime, I guess, in videoing yourself falling down or surprising people," May explained. "Otherwise, years ago, Candid Camera could have been charged with crimes if that type of stuff were illegal."
However, he says the store might press charges if the kids actually damaged the merchandise or harmed another customer. Justin says they always clean up after themselves and if they break any merchandise, then they buy it.
"They never kick us out," Justin said of store employees who confront them. "They just come up to us and talk to us and see what we're doing, but we always pick up after ourselves and make sure we respect what they have to say if they want us to leave."
Some of the videos on Justin's YouTube channel JStustudios show behind the scenes clips of the boys picking up after their spills. There are also a couple of earlier attempts at viral videos called caging and something involving an oversized box of Cheerios.
The falling videos have been promoted by fellow YouTube prankster Alki Stevens, the inventor of cone-ing, and Comedy Central's Daniel Tosh.
This weekend Justin will be filming a video with Denver rap artists Moss, Eppic and Black Prez. He plans to enroll at the Colorado Film School next semester. In the meantime, he'll keep posting the falling videos and looking for another viral hit.