Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Step aside Will Smith, you can't keep up with the guys who play California Adventure's Genie

Illustration for article titled Step aside Will Smith, you can't keep up with the guys who play California Adventure's Genie
Photo: Bertrand Guay (Getty Images)

With only two months to go until the live-action Aladdin movie’s release, we have some bad news to share with Disney: the world’s best Genie actors have been found and neither of them are Will Smith.


As shared by comedian Jude Tedmori, the role’s real diamond is hidden deep within the rough of Disney California Adventure Park’s Aladdin stage show. The character, who looks to be played by not one but two poor bastards, may lack Smith’s raw charisma and well-established star power, but these motherfuckers make even Robin William’s pop culture-savvy 1992 Genie look like he lives under a rock.

Prepare yourself for some gut-busting references and watch for yourself.

Painted blue from head to toe, the California Adventure Genie brings a distinctly modern flair to the character. In one of his two forms, he circles the hapless Aladdin, explaining that he can’t just make Jasmine fall in love with him. “What do I look like? Tinder?” he says before helpfully adding, “Swipe left, swipe left, swipe left, swipe right!”

Having apparently culled a spirit from a half-empty beer bottle discarded at an open mic night, Aladdin must continue to endure a torrent of evergreen jokes. The first category? Celebrities. “You can’t just have a bunch of everything for doing nothing!” California Adventure Genie says, “That’s what we like to call, ‘being a Kardashian’” before sticking out his butt. “Can’t you see my pony tail? I’m Ariana Grande,” he goes on. Later, there is an Austin Powers impression, a Gollum-voiced “my preccciiooous,” a Trump hairpiece gag, and the Budweiser “whassssappp,” proving that a great reference never goes out of style.

Not everything is celebrity-related. California Adventure Genie, as hinted at by his his Tinder bit, also has great material related to current events. “Do my pants look white and gold or blue and black?” he asks at one point. “Hashtag ugly sultan ... tweet!,” an Uber/magic carpet joke, and “I wish you could bring back the old operating system on my iPhone” demonstrate that he’s up on the various bric-a-brac of pop culture, too.

All of these beautiful lines are delivered to the (very receptive!) audience in a desperate, breathless yell that perfectly encapsulates the cloying need for approval that anyone—mythological spirit or lonely comic—would feel after being set free after a long period of isolation. How Will Smith can possibly follow this act is anyone’s guess, but, if Disney has any sense, Aladdin’s home release will address the audience’s inevitable disappointment with a re-cut version starring, you guessed it, the California Adventure Genie.


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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.