JJ Abrams, superstar director at the helm of the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and Chewbacca, the lovable, fuzzy character from the iconic films, recently took Jimmy Kimmel up on his nomination to do pair up for the “Twizzler Challenge” to raise awareness for autism. And yes, it’s everything you dreamed of.
Set to be the biggest charity viral video sensation since the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Twizzler Challenge sees two people sharing a length of Twizzler licorice, Lady and the Tramp-style. Each person puts one end of the sweet treat in his or her mouth, then they gobble it up toward the middle until they are literally lip-to-lip.
Kimmel seemed surprised that JJ Abrams followed through with the nomination. And the host got to rub it in the director’s face, too, since he clearly got the better end of the stick (Twizzler?) by previously performing the challenge with Rihanna, as opposed to the famed “walking carpet.”
After the cute bit, which aired on Kimmel’s late night talk show Tuesday night, Abrams got to make his own nomination. You’ll have to watch the video to find out who, but let’s just saw that Kimmel’s parking lot attendant sidekick will be very pleased.
The Twizzler Challenge was launched by Willie Geist and Meredith Viera in support of the organization New York Collaborates for Autism. It was inspired by Geist’s own Lady And the Tramp kiss with Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) on Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars. It has the same premise as the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, except it requires a duo. But the rest is in the same vein: create a video of you and a friend doing the challenge, post it to social media (use the hashtag #TwizzlerChallenge), and nominate two other people to do it. Or else, donate to the NYCA. (No reason, of course, you can’t do both.)
In addition to Kimmel,Rihanna, JJ Abrams, and Chewbacca, several other celebrities have already taken part, including Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Everett Bradley, Hoda Kotb and Flo Rida (and Regis Philben), And Kathie Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer.
Admittedly, the Twizzler Challenge hasn’t quite taken off like the Ice Bucket Challenge yet, though it’s clear the hope is that it will. It may be that folks are just all viral videoed out. Or maybe it’s the lack of logical connection between the challenge and autism: the idea with the ice bucket challenge was that the feeling one has after dumping the freezing cold water on his head is supposed to be similar to what someone with ALS feels like constantly. What does chewing candy and almost kissing someone, attractive or otherwise, have to do with autism?
Nevertheless, it’s a great cause, and worth doing to help drive awareness for the disorder that afflicts so many. According to the Autism Society, one in every 68 births in the U.S. is of someone with autism, and more than 3.5 million Americans live with the disorder.