In Elaborate Prank, Oregon Lawmakers ‘Rickroll’ The State Legislature

April 11, 2011 8:02 a.m.

Politicians often pledge to not let their constituents down. But one Oregon lawmaker has taken that pledge to a whole new level, as he and a few colleagues surreptitiously recited the lyrics to Rick Astley’s 80s hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up” on the House floor.

The prank known as “rickrolling,” emerged as an Internet meme a few years back, and involves tricking someone into clicking on a benignly disguised link to open a web page that blares Astley’s unmistakeable song. The phenomenon became so ubiquitous that Astley himself rickrolled the Macy’s Day parade in 2008.According to Yahoo News, Rep. Jefferson Smith (D) convinced a bipartisan group of colleagues to join him in reciting, piece by piece, the entire song in speeches during a special legislative session in February 2010. Since Oregon law requires that legislative proceedings be videotaped, the entire spectacle was secretly captured on tape.

From Yahoo News:

“It was way harder taking words and spreading them out than simply manipulating them (on video),” Smith says. “There are some easy lines in there to say without getting noticed. ‘You’re never gonna’ is easy. ‘I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling’ is easy. But an ‘ooh?’ That’s tricky.”

Smith originally planned to release the video after last year’s elections, but the editing process took longer than expected, so he held the final product until this month.

As for why he did it, Smith told Yahoo that it brought politicians from both parties together, if only for a big joke.

“It’s obviously a little silly thing,” he admits. “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.”

The video opens with text that offers a similar explanation.

“In Oregon, the State House is tied with 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans,” the text reads. “Fortunately, Oregon has a rich history of bipartisanship. This is one such example.”

Watch the video below:

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