Arroyo and Ingraham first poked fun at a group that had marched to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s house that morning — chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug!” and “I like beer!” — to protest Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.
The pair then moved on to mocking other anti-Kavanaugh protesters inside the Senate, as well as a new California law requiring publicly held companies to include more women on their boards.
Finally, Arroyo touched on a recent study that showed more than 250 people worldwide have died taking selfies.
“Narcissism,” Ingraham chimed in.
It was a long setup.
At the end, Arroyo produced a six-pack of Bud Light and set it down with a thud on Ingraham’s desk.
“Okay, before I go — I thought, just to bring it all together, Laura, the whole segment, we’ll take a selfie,” he said.
The two pretended to make a toast with their beers while angling for Arroyo’s cellphone camera.
“Smile!” he said, pretending to shift around to get the optimal selfie. “Do we have it? Wait. I have to angle it this way. Wait, wait — ooh!”
And with that, Arroyo tumbled out of his chair. The segment ended. Punchline complete.
Still, it wasn’t long before the clip made the rounds on social media, shared by a not insignificant number of people who seemed to think it was real — or who at least kept watching it, even if they knew it was staged.
“Are you all right after your fall?” one person tweeted to Arroyo. “We kept hearing Laura Ingraham telling you to get closer to the edge. Sounds like a lawsuit to me.”
“I’m going to watch this an absurd number of times,” tweeted Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama.
Ingraham eventually tweeted to her “concerned viewers” Friday night that the fall had indeed been “a JOKE . . . a pratfall after a long week.” But by then, the Internet content gods had spoken, and the clip had shape-shifted into whatever the person watching it wanted it to be.
Some said Ingraham was lying to cover up an accident. Others accused Ingraham of being a robot for not checking to see if Arroyo was okay after his fall. Those who thought it was staged from the beginning began mocking those who hadn’t.
Even after being convinced the bit was staged, at least one Twitter user begged to remain in blissful ignorance: “... let me have this one, we need this after this week.”
And, of course, the fall was immortalized in a GIF within hours of broadcast.
On Saturday morning, Ingraham attempted again to emphasize that the bit had been a joke.
“We have a great team at #IngrahamAngle — a sense of humor required,” she tweeted.
Arroyo also reassured those in doubt that his fall was indeed a planned gag before laughing at becoming content.