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Jake Shane reinvents history’s greatest moments in viral video after viral video

It’s anyone’s guess as to how the senators conspiring to kill Caesar would have carried out their schemes in 2023, but rising TikTok star Jake Shane has a kicker of a theory.

The content creator, best known on the platform by his alias @octopusslover8, has been building a loyal following over the past few weeks as he takes the anecdotes that have shaped human history and re-imagines them through the Gen Z lens interpreted.

To date, his account has 4.9 billion views and 1.3 million followers, up from 60,000 a few weeks ago.

Using follower prompts, such as From the cancellation of Marie Antoinette to a founding father’s reaction to John Hancock’s large signature on the Declaration of Independence, TikToker is reconsidering history, forward-looking video at a time.

In a 17-second video, Shane pretends to be the Mona Lisa sitting for a portrait – captured with an iPhone.

“Do we get it?” asks Shane as the Mona Lisa, picking up a modern coffee mug and hurrying towards a door. “Write to me. I will approve the unedited ones and then you can edit them.”

Other impressions include Newton’s discovery of gravity, the fateful ride of Paul Revere, the execution of Joan of Arc, the dissolution of Pangea and the “Map of the USA Rejecting the Louisiana Purchase”. Recently, Shane compared buying Titanic tickets to the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster disaster and filmed himself huddled in front of a laptop while having a meltdown with a friend over speakerphone.

“Actually, I’m about to start crying! I’m actually starting to cry!” he yells. “You knew how many people wanted to get on that boat. You should be able to handle the amount of people wanting to get tickets for it. Period.”

Shane’s rise to TikTok stardom began as a game

Shane’s rise began on February 20 when he shared a TikTok to celebrate reaching 60,000 followers on the app.

“Can we play my favorite game please?” Shane said. “Comment your favorite phrase or the situation you want me to portray.”

The story goes on

Shane’s first video was in response to a request that he “play Bill Clinton, who denies his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.”

Using the sass and snark that his generation has become known for on TikTok, Shane gave a one-person performance catching Clinton in the act in the sex scandal that led to his impeachment in 1998.

The video garnered 1.7 million views and more than 200,000 likes – and launched a new format. Since his original video asking for requests, he has posted dozens of reenactments and his likes on the platform have grown to 36.7 million.

His account’s popularity has grown to the point where he now receives trademark requests.

Recently, The History Channel asked Shane to do a reaction video on the reactions to Prohibition in the United States.

“What? On her Instagram story?” Shane asks about the news while speaking into a blank phone case to carry on his fake conversation. “No, Jackson, I don’t think it’s real because she put it on her.” If that were real, there would have been a whole post dedicated to it.” Realizing that the sale and consumption of alcohol is actually illegal, he continues the spiral: “How is that legal? It’s not legal !“

Even TODAY is fun.

“Now Fergie’s manager does it when they saw her cartwheeling on live TV at 8am,” @todayshow commented, referring to the singer’s 2008 performance of “Barracuda” on the court.

Why are his videos such a phenomenon?

Like everything that’s becoming popular online, it’s hard to put into words. It’s one of those things that you have to see to understand.

Central to Shane’s appeal is his ability to balance Gen Z mannerisms with the seriousness of the story.

Lizzy Gulino, senior writer at Refinery29 and superfan of @octopusslover8, tells TODAY she stumbled across Shane’s imitations on her For You page, and she’s the first person to eat an egg.

“I laugh really hard when I see his videos,” she says. “And I feel like I don’t do that too often.”

As someone who follows trends and online culture for a living, Gulino believes that Shane’s videos have become so popular because of the universality of his content: everyone knows the moments he portrays.

“I think the type of comedy that Jake does is something that all ages can relate to and understand,” Gulino said. “We all know that John Hancock’s signature was the largest on the Declaration of Independence. It’s easy to connect with this type of comedy across age groups and demographics, so I think it’s super accessible for people.”

We’re all caught up in the joke — and nobody tells it like Jake Shane.

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