That One Sound is a weekly column from senior internet culture writer Audra Schroeder that explores the origin of popular sounds heard on TikTok. Suggestions? Tips? Email [email protected]
Who is Carl Bismarck? Is he really dead?
Over the last few months, a six-year-old viral video has been revived on TikTok. It’s inspired powerful performances and reinterpretations. It’s also brought about some shocking revelations.
On June 24, user Alex Widuch posted an argument between a woman and a man filming her. It starts with this poetry: “You’re a weird motherfucker, and you better not be a snitch, because I’ll tell fucking Carl Bismarck.” The man responds, “Call Carl, I don’t even know who—” before being cut off.
The TikTok has more than 15 million views, and the audio has been used in more than 56,000 TikToks. People found inventive ways to recontextualize the heated exchange.
Where’s it from?
It’s actually a recreation of a 2015 video. The original, titled “Crazy lady on drugs,” was posted to YouTube in July 2015 by Shawn Stoecker, and it has more than 1 million views.
In the video, Stoecker and an unidentified woman who appears to be a neighbor have a bizarre exchange in which she name-checks what sounds like “Carl Bismarck” as well as “Jim Hall,” who “owns United.”
A week later, a parody was posted, titled “Crazy lady on drugs part 2.” That’s the version that ended up on TikTok. The poster, Hiram Hernandez, says in the description: “Our version of crazy lady on drugs in neighborhood. Work fun.”
Many of the comments remark on what a great performance the woman—ostensibly Hernandez’s co-worker—gives, and plenty of people on TikTok believed it was a real confrontation. It was reintroduced in the Karen era, after all.
Now that more people are discovering it’s a parody of the original, that’s also become a meme. Another portion of the parody video was posted to TikTok, and in the comments, one person hits on the surreality of these dueling videos:
So, who is Carl Bismarck? As noted on TikTok, there is a 2010 obituary for a Carl Bismark from Mena, Arkansas. And there is a Carl von Bismarck, who is still alive and currently Prince of Bismarck. But the original video is reportedly from Oregon.
In the newer comments on the original, several people ask for updates on the woman. We reached out to Stoecker for comment. Earlier this month, someone posted a TikTok purporting to be the daughter of the woman in the video, but it appears to be a bit.