Janoskians

Janoskians excel in public drama—online and off

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You might not get the awkward humor of the Janoskians, the young Australian comedy troupe known for filming public stunts on the streets of Melbourne. Their name is an acronym for Just Another Name Of Silly Kids In Another Nation, and their pranks, which include surprise ear-licking, street performances, and ill-advised attempts to use members’ heads as bowling balls, are anything but sophisticated.  

But it’s tough to deny that their Borat-inspired public trolling has garnered them quite a following. “Awkward Train Situations,” a funny-at-any-cost series of, well, awkward train situations, has garnered the group millions of hits on YouTube and a fanbase numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

 

But with any fanbase comes drama, as one of Janoskians’ three brothers Luke Brooks found out. Shortly after tweeting the good news that the group’s YouTube channel had just topped 40 million views, he posted to Tumblr last night that he was “taking a break”:

“I can take hate from people who genuinely don’t like me, but I can’t take it from my own fans.”

Fan outcry was instantaneous, with the creation of the #weloveyouLuke hashtag and the janoskians tag on Tumblr full of hand-wringing and protestations of love.

The drama unfolded after Luke took to Tumblr in defense of one of his fans, a 13-year-old girl named Hannah who, according to some fans, attracted hate due to her closeness with the group’s members. “Seriously, if you have a problem with someone,” Brooks stated, “don’t make memes about them, don’t call them names, don’t make fun of them. It’s cyberbullying.”

Though most of the 900 reblogs and comments in response were supportive, some fans felt that the hate toward Hannah was warranted, which led to fans lashing out directly at Brooks himself.

“You try to do the right thing and just end up as the bad guy,” he opined on Twitter shortly after his Tumblr flounce.

Some fans were more blasé over the drama than Brooks himself. “‘A day in the life of a dysfunctional fandom,’ tweeted one, while another succinctly implied that nobody cares.

But the fandom’s main problem may be that more and more people are caring. In addition to seeing their fanbase grow exponentially, the boys are now gearing up for a whole new phase of celebrity: pop stardom.  

Though they describe themselves, ironically, as “a group of hopeless kids with no future taking on the streets of Melbourne,” their dedication toward shoring up their fanbase and interacting with fans bespeaks serious professionalism in the making. The image-handling has paid off, too.  They’ve been featured on Ellen, and fans have lined up by the thousands for the boys at recent public appearances around Australia. A spring public appearance had to be shut down when over 6,000 fans tried to crowd their way into the event. And last month, Sony struck a “lucrative” record deal with the quintet for their debut album.

TNT Magazine has already declared the boy band-in-progress to be the next One Direction.

Let’s just hope they take some lessons from the British pop group on how to handle fan pressure before their first single drops.

Photo via Janoskians / YouTube