This week, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis surprised a bus full of New Yorkers by performing in transit as part of a promotional video for the GRAMMYs [sic]. We—like those delighted, multi-ethnic, toilet paper-throwing bus patrons—were completely charmed by the spontaneity of the tag-popping, bargain-hunting duo. Or at least we were charmed until we learned that it was all a lie.
Let's peel back the onion: an MTA spokesman confirmed to us that the stunt was not pre-authorized by the MTA. In addition, the bus used in the video doesn’t match the models currently on the Bx6 route. Across the board, commercial projects have to get the MTA's approval before using their equipment (with their name on it) in shoots; there are decommissioned buses which can be privately rented though.
But it goes deeper: Bob Rayburn, the creative director of TBWA/Chiat Day, told WPIX in a statement that the video was shot in Morningside Heights on “a real MTA bus that we had hired for the production so that we could pack it with the hidden cameras.” LIES UPON LIES ON A SOILED BED OF SECOND-HAND CLOTHING.
"Our passengers had no idea what was in store for them. What you see is their real reactions to the music and the performance from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,” Rayburn said. Ahh, but it's not like the GRAMMYs [sic] could just start picking up passengers on the Bx6 route whilst pretending to be the MTA—which means these had to be hired actors. Maybe they weren't told what they were doing on the bus, or the fact that they would come face-to-face with an Album Of The Year nominee, but these were not regular New Yorkers so much as they were handpicked seat fillers with degrees in acting surprised.
Something tells us this conspiracy goes even deeper—dancing grandmothers are not above reproach anymore.