MEA member Joe Dombrowski is such a huge Ellen DeGeneres fan that he says he blacked out mentally while appearing on her show last week and couldn’t remember exactly what he said during the interview.
But when he watched a tape of his segment on last Friday’s The Ellen Show, he was amazed to see her laughing at his jokes.
“I’ve idolized her forever, so to realize I made her laugh was just mind-boggling,” the Oakland Elementary fourth-grade teacher said.
Dombrowski was invited to appear on Ellen after a video of his classroom April Fool’s prank went viral on Facebook. Dombrowski gave a joke vocabulary quiz with outrageously spelled words featuring lots of silent letters and other oddities.
With a remarkable ability to keep a straight face, Dombrowski read the “correct” spellings of words such as Blorskee, Tangateen, Rol-aska-tox and GÜRRR. The sounds of exasperated students correcting answers can be heard in the background.
Dombrowski said he was able to keep from laughing during the prank because he’s been performing improvisational comedy at a Detroit club for the past five years.
“I was just too committed to the joke to give in,” he said.
Posting a video to Facebook was supposed to be something fun to give a chuckle to family and friends, although previous funny videos he’s posted have gotten several thousand views before, Dombrowski said.
As people began to share the video, and the number of views increased, he started to contemplate at what point he could declare it “viral,” he said – maybe 100,000 views?
He never imagined what he would see the morning after he posted it when the number had jumped to 1 million views. As of now, more than 20 million people have watched Dombrowski’s prank – including DeGeneres and her producers.
During his appearance on the show, Ellen gave Dombrowski her own joke word quiz before presenting him with a $10,000 check and then surprising him with a second $10,000 check made out to his school.
She called the April Fool’s video hilarious, before deadpanning to audience laughter, “I don’t know if you’re teaching them anything, but I think it’s good that you’re funny.”