A “Rickroll” refers to various ways of inserting the 1980’s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” (by Rick Astley) in places it doesn’t belong. The latest version of has amassed over 1 million views on YouTube, and teaches us all a little lesson about political cooperation.
The Oregon State House is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with 30 seats apiece. Freshman Democrat Jefferson Smith managed to get all but one of the 60 members to participate in an elaborate prank where each snuck a lyric or two in while addressing their colleagues on other matters from the floor.
Clips of those speeches were then spliced together with footage from the original Rick Astley video, and released on April Fool’s Day.
The tricky part was intergrading Astley’s lyrics such as, “Never gonna run around and desert you,” into regular house proceedings without so much as raising a brow. Side note, one member who was not even aware of the prank, said some of the lyrics on tape by accident. "It was way harder taking words and spreading them out than simply manipulating them (on video)," said Smith, who is also the founder of the voter action group The Oregon Bus Project.
Smith said it was pretty easy to get everyone on board. Correction, almost everyone. One unidentified representative ended up backing down.
Getting 99% of Oregon’s representatives to agree on a project calls for praise, even if for a prank. "It's obviously a little silly thing," Smith notes. "But even just having a little fun together helped develop some professional relationships. Just a tiny spoonful of sugar to let the political medicine go down, so to speak."