Duo Punked Morning TV Show. Now They're Being Sued

TV station owner not laughing after 'strongman' duo's act on Wisconsin show
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2017 7:41 AM CDT

To a pair of pranksters who showed up on a Wisconsin morning-television program, they were just having a bit of harmless fun. To Gray Television, which owns the station they appeared on, Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are guilty of fraud, copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit a wrongful act, and it's now suing them for it, the Pioneer Press reports. What no one's disputing: Pickett and Prueher's Nov. 29 appearance on the WEAU program Hello Wisconsin as "Chop & Steele," a phony strongman duo that court records show had convinced the station—via emails from a Mr. "Jerry Chubb" and a press release—to book them while they were in town on their "Give Thanks 4 Strengths" tour so they could educate viewers on how they've been "using their muscles to entertain and educate" on subjects such as bullying and unity.

Their "educational" display included karate-chopping twigs they'd found in the parking lot, lifting chocolate milk containers, and sparring with tennis rackets—what Gray calls "ridiculous bits" in its suit. Pickett and Prueher, who went to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and now run the comedy event Found Footage Festival, found out about the suit via a New York Post story, per Prueher. He seems surprised Gray didn't get a chuckle out of it all, but he adds he and Pickett aren't backing down. "We're well within our rights doing what we did," he tells the Press, adding the station should've done its "due diligence." Deadspin notes WEAU wasn't the only duped station: The pair apparently convinced at least six other shows to book them; they showed up for a handful, then canceled the rest because they were "stressed out." (A prank on New York's subway had people seeing double.)

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