Watch: Out TikTok Star Benny Drama Makes White House Vid to Promote Vaccines

Sunday August 15, 2021
Originally published on August 10, 2021

Benny Drama in his video to promote vaccinations
Benny Drama in his video to promote vaccinations  (Source:Instagram)

Out social media personality and comic Benny Drama (aka Benito Skinner) visited the White House as one of his alter-egos, Kooper the intern, in a TikTok video created to promote vaccination.

It had been viewed more than 2.7 million times on TikTok and 850,000 times on Instagram as of Tuesday morning.


"Clad in a Thom Browne seersucker shorts suit, Kooper storms the White House to make some calls, deliver some coffee, and, of course, create some content," reports Vogue. "(Is Olivia Rodrigo still here?' he asks as his day in the West Wing begins.) After popping in to say a quick 'Hey' to POTUS, Kooper goes on to assist White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki with a variety of tasks, including booking a nail appointment—not that she'd asked for one. 'It's called initiative,' he says.

Oh, yeah. Behind the silliness, there is the point of encouraging Americans to get vaccinated. "We need to get shots in the arms of every single American," Kooper urges on one important call, his feet up on his desk.

He then departs. "Now, I'm heading to a haircut." But not before letting the White House know he's available. "I'm ready if you want to make more of these."

In his Instagram post, Benny wrote: Kooper the Gen Z (@whitehouse) intern wants SHOTS???? IN ???? ARMS ???? Head to vaccines.gov for more information! Let's keep ourselves, families, and communities safe <3 WE DID IT, JOE! ???????????????????????? And thank you to Jen Psaki for being the best girlboss in the world ?? (This was filmed prior to new CDC mask guidelines, please find your states guidance at cdc.gov!)"




The conservative media was quick to criticize. "Donald Trump, Jr. led the criticism on social media over the video, with the former first son saying: 'Next they're going to waterboard you till you get vaccinated, though there's no way that would be worse than watching this!!!'" reports the New York Post.



To which Benny posted a response.

But who is Benny Drama? The New York Times profiled him this past May and offered this biographical data. Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, where he hid being gay (and performing female characters). Instead, he played football, which he "absolutely hated."

"It wasn't until he was studying film at Georgetown University that he began to feel more comfortable writing stories and being in front of the camera, both things he'd enjoyed doing as a child," wrote the Times. "Through learning about queer characters in media and finding friends who he thought he could be himself with, Mr. Skinner felt comfortable enough to come out at 22."




At the start of the pandemic, Benny was living in New York City, where he was making videos for his growing audience. "He introduced new characters, reprised some old classics and revisited even older sketches he'd written but not followed through on, like a parody "sequel trailer" to "Call Me by Your Name," which he'd written some three years earlier."

Though sometimes his parodies burn. His take on a smarmy Shawn Mendes was slammed by the singer's fans. But Benny does have a litmus test for his boundaries. "Mr. Skinner said he only parodies people whose work he enjoys. And he tries his best to imagine his videos through a very earnest lens to avoid hurting feelings," wrote the Times.

"The thing I always go back to is: Do I feel like this is coming from a friend or does it feel like this coming from an enemy?" he said. "If it feels bullying, I'm like, OK, no, we're not doing this. That's not going to be fun to watch."