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Man commits to playing Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" until ... someone stops him

Screenshot: Joe Jenkins (YouTube)

When it comes to making stupid jokes on the internet, nothing is as reliably entertaining as taking a throwaway gag and committing to it more seriously than any reasonable person would do if they couldn’t easily attract a global audience for their efforts. The latest instance of this is a YouTuber named Joe Jenkins who presumably once wondered, “Wouldn’t it be funny if someone played Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ repeatedly until someone asked them to stop?” and then turned that idle thought into reality.

Jenkins, who runs a few different YouTube channels devoted to making jokes, making piano-specific jokes, and also just providing straightforward music tutorials, sat down at a miniature piano a couple of weeks ago and, as promised, played an instrumental “Don’t Stop Me Now” cover in public until he was asked to knock it off. With admirable dedication, Jenkins gets going with a melody that, for a first listen, is a delightful reminder of a good Queen song, on a second listen is only slightly less enjoyable to listen to, and from that point on devolves into background sound that evokes no emotion or thought whatsoever. He wears gloves, looks cold, and seems at best apathetic to the music he’s performing, but continues like a champ, even awkwardly vamping for a bit about 50 minutes in while moving his piano and stool to a new spot.

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Eventually, after nearly an hour and a half of this, a group approaches him to ask him to stop, freeing Jenkins of his self-imposed burden. Whether the ending was predetermined and the people who approached toward the video’s conclusion were friends isn’t clear—the whole thing was run as a subscription and donation drive, after all—but, really, it doesn’t matter all that much. The fact of the matter is that Jenkins turned a dumb joke into an actual bit of recorded performance art.

The only remaining question is what Jenkins can do now to escalate his Queen-related mania. Perhaps he could play “Somebody To Love” until a stranger proposes marriage to him or, we don’t know, repeatedly perform “Under Pressure” in an enormous industrial vice until his piano is squeezed apart.

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.