Jimmy Kimmel Live, perhaps more than any other late night show, is known for bringing celebrities into a variety of pranks and games, and last night’s was pretty peerless: in anticipation of Miley Cyrus’ VMAs hosting gig, the show had the pop-star go incognito as an Australian reporter named Janet to ask pedestrians what they think of…Miley Cyrus.
Before we even get into what was said, Cyrus’ performance as Janet must first be acknowledged. Cyrus could have exploited the unexpectedness of her conservative garb to not have to go the extra mile to do her character work; oh, but she went that mile. Janet, you see, is a nuanced character, whose past of heartbreak, familial strife and battle with a rare disease peer out from beneath her composed veneer. Well, okay, not really, but Cyrus does a pretty decent Australian accent, and devotes herself wholeheartedly to not breaking character, even when, say, the first person she interviews insults her “whole family.”
Cyrus taps very quickly into what polarizes people in regards to her celebrity. She simply asks questions and allows her interviewees to involuntarily parody themselves. She asks in the video, “What would you say if you were Miley Cyrus’ father?…Do you think Billy Ray raised her to be that way?…If Miley was one of your daughters, would you let her out there, shaking her ass, dressing the way she is?” Many of the responses are sadly expected, with one man saying, “Can I say hell no? I think she’s starving for attention. She’s missing something somewhere.”
“In her heart,” the disguised Cyrus suggests. Unlike a lot of these videos, this manages to be hilarious while mischievously skewering the misogyny that fuels many people’s distaste for Cyrus. (Of course, some people simply “like Taylor Swift better,” and others are able to call her Australian bluff.)