YouTube Sensation Craig Rowin Gets $1 Million Just Because He Asked
Comedian's friends wonder if YouTube sensation is for real or just a stunt.
Jan. 20, 2011— -- Craig Rowin, a mild-mannered 27-year-old who has humored his friends for years, has become the latest Internet sensation by asking some of the richest Americans to "Give Me One Million Dollars."
Two months ago Rowin -- a comedian with the "Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre" in New York City -- posted a plea for cash on YouTube. "Just give me a chunk," he implored, checking off names of millionaires.
Today, in a second video, he says he has found a benefactor and has produced a notarized letter from that millionaire's lawyer.
Just because Rowin asked -- and for no particular reason.
Why does he want the money? "It would be awesome," said Rowin.
What will he do with the money? "I might go on a trip," he said.
Rowin said he received a phone call from the would-be philanthropist:
"Hi Craig, Benjamin, I was hoping to catch you in person," the caller said. "I want to talk about how to make you a millionaire."
Rowin has said he will reveal the man's last name when he collects the check at a Feb. 2 performance of the "Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre" in Manhattan.
The videos have already gotten 53,000 hits -- and climbing -- on YouTube.
"It still hasn't sunk in yet," said Rowin, who had made a personal plea to Steven Spielberg, Warren Buffet and even the Chilean coalminers who he assumed had culled book and movie deals.
"And if you are unable, sorry," he said, checking off the names of potential donors. "You guys are all heroes."
Rowin, who for full disclosure worked as a film editor for ABCNews.com and knows this writer, told us, "Today is crazy."
Media outlets -- from local newspapers to Canada -- were hounding the low-key comedian today for interviews.
He insists the videos are not stunts, but longtime friends say they can't be sure.
"I have my doubts," said Brian Sercus, 29, who performed with Rowin in a college improv group, the Scuds. "But I have never known him to be a practical joker, just a funny guy, not a guy who would go to such lengths to pull off a prank."
As a student at Connecticut College, Rowin was more often "the guy who got the pranked pulled on," said Sercus. "He was always very sweet and not hurtful."
"That would be hilarious if he thought a guy was giving him a million dollars and he wasn't," he said.
"It's ridiculous, it can't be true," said Terry Nicol, a 29-year-old engineer from Philadelphia who follows Rowin's comedy. "But I don't want to mess up anything for him."
Nicol said he had seen the YouTube video posted on Facebook Wednesday night, "but I woke up and saw a Philadelphia sports blog and there it was. Then all the other Internet sites had stories with hundreds of comments. "
Nicol, who has followed the comedian's career since his college days, said Rowin is "one of the funniest people I know."