A man in scrubs walks up to the microphone at a city council meeting in Dallas. In front of over a dozen council members, he starts to give his spiel about why it’s important to vaccinate children. He says he’s figured out a way to make vaccination more hip and cool to the younger generation: a freestyle rap.
“Would the real Dr. Fauci please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?” he raps, channeling his inner Slim Shady, dancing awkwardly and dousing his hair and face with hand sanitizer. “Vaccinate your mom, vaccinate your dad, vaccinate the happy, vaccinate the sad. Vaccinate your babies, vaccinate them, even if they got rabies. Vaccinate my life, vaccinate my wife. Vaccinate your DNA, vaccine created by the CIA. Vaccinate your body. Vaccinate me at the party. Vaccination freak. Vaccination freak-a-leek.”
The short video has more 273,000 views. It ended up all over the internet, with some people sharing it because they thought it was real. Others recognized that it was a joke.
The rapping “nurse” in the video is actually Alex Stein, AKA Instagrammer Primetimestein, who is a comedian and self-described professional troll. He said he made his now-viral vaccination rap because he wants people to question what’s going on in the world today.
“I want people to see my video and not know whether or not it’s real.” – Alex Stein
“Everyone sees nurses dancing on TikTok, so it’s not that absurd,” he said. “I want people to see my video and not know whether or not it’s real. Questioning is almost as good as laughter. People need to ask questions.”
Stein, who said he wants to carry the torch of Andy Kaufman, started going to in-person and virtual community meetings when the pandemic began. At first, he was genuinely concerned about what was happening in his neighborhood. He attended a local Dallas meeting, where he talked about how he’d go to the park to exercise and see another runner use the restroom to change out his colostomy bag. But when the lockdowns happened, the city closed down the public restrooms, and the other runner stopped going to the park.
“There was no health benefit of closing a public restroom in a park,” Stein said. “I was so sincere and went to about three or four meetings, but nobody paid attention.”
Then, he decided to prank meetings all over the United States virtually instead. In one recent video, he plays a concerned dad who tells school board members about how there needs to be a terrarium in his daughter’s classroom. Why? Because she identifies as a lizard.
In a virtual meeting on voting rights with the New York City Council, he pretends to be a guy with a mail order bride who is upset that his swindling wife now gets to vote in America. The council lets him speak for a while, and then ultimately mutes him.
“I’ve been muted a bunch,” said Stein. “As long as you’re there in person and you’re not vulgar, they will give you the time to speak. Most of the time, I get no reaction. Zilch. But if I go and act absurd and pour hand sanitizer in my face, then they react.”
Though conservative media outlets have mostly been sharing and applauding the vaccine rap, Stein identifies as a centrist politically and believes in socializing the healthcare system. And even when he pokes fun at COVID, he knows it’s no joke; his mother died from it this past October.
“I’m really sad about my mom passing away, but at the same time, I still don’t think we should be mandated or shut down the world,” he said. “In life, we take risks. People should have the choice to risk their own lives with this virus.”
The comedian, who grew up in Texas and also lived in Los Angeles, believes in God but not in organized religion. Still, he regrets not experiencing a Jewish rite of passage.
“I didn’t get to have a bar mitzvah or any of the cool Jewish stuff as a kid,” he said. “I would have loved to have had one.”
Stein is confident that if he keeps creating funny videos, he’ll eventually get his own talk show on a network. He said he hopes to have a show like Conan O’Brien’s, but it’ll be all about conspiracy theories. Right now, he hosts his own online show called “Conspiracy Castle.”
“I like conspiracies because I believe there is a lot of information we don’t get,” he said. “As a kid, I was obsessed with spy stuff. It’s that detective side of me.”
However, he always likes to deliver the information he’s found with a side of funny.
“The media tells you that something bad is around the corner, and they’re doing that on purpose to keep us in this negative energy,” he said. “I’m trying to be the one person laughing and joking so we don’t all start crying.”