YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners tricked Baskin into believing that she was being interviewed by late-night host Jimmy Fallon for The Tonight Show.
The content creators shared the video online and detailed how they managed to get Baskin to agree to the interview and explained that they used audio clips of late-night hosts to get celebrities to believe they were actually on a real talk show.
In the video uploaded to YouTube, Manners and Pieters revealed they pretended to be producers from The Tonight Show and Baskin had initially turned down the interview.
Once they promised Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue, they wouldn’t mention Tiger King in the interview, she agreed to join via Zoom.
Pieters and Manners said they didn’t mind not being able to talk about the Netflix series and they explained it “was fine with us because we couldn’t make Jimmy Fallon talk about Tiger King.”
The YouTubers used audio clips of Fallon mentioning the word “cats” and included interviews from the cast of Cats.
Pieters and Manners had to explain to Baskin that she wouldn’t be able to see Fallon during the Zoom call but she would be able to hear him.
The interview began with The Tonight Show intro and Fallon asking Baskin how she was doing.
“I’m doing great,” Baskin said. “My daughter, Jamie, suggested that I do this interview with you, so she says ‘Hi,’ and we are working every day with the cats at the sanctuary.”
The duo used more clips of Fallon asking her what she was doing during physical distancing and who she’s been isolating with. He also asked her about the animals at the sanctuary.
“Unfortunately, due to the loss of tourism revenue, we had to let go about half of our staff, and thankfully, all of our animal care is done by volunteers,” Baskin said. “So, the animals are still getting their daily care, but it means all of us are having to work double-time to make sure that all that happens.”
Baskin also revealed that “after COVID-19, I just don’t know if we’re ever going to be able to do tours again.”
The YouTubers also convinced Baskin to recite her catchphrase, “Hey all you cool cats and kittens, it’s Carole at Big Cat Rescue.”
They gave her a chance to promote any charity she would like and she chose to discuss the Big Cat Safety Act, legislation to end the abuse of big cats by their private owners.
“Hey all you cool cats and kittens, there is something you can do to end the abuse of big cats and to save them in the wild and that’s to make the call of the wild,” she said before giving a phone number to text the word “cats” and it would let people’s legislator know they supported the act.
After the YouTube video was released, Baskin said she “was suspicious” about the interview.
“I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped. But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank,” Baskin said in a statement to CNN. “It gave us a very welcome good laugh. I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don’t feel was in any way mean spirited.”