2013-09-12 / Local & State

Spider Prank Leads To Leno Appearance

Bill Barling of Needmore appears on “The Tonight Show”
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz


A spider prank gone viral resulted in an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno for a southern Fulton County man.

Last Wednesday, Needmore resident Bill Barling and Chris Bowser of Chambersburg appeared on the late-night talk show in Burbank, Calif., as part of a special segment entitled “Prank You Very Much.” The appearance focused on a video shot five years earlier when the duo, along with the late Adam Lavar, were employed at Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Chambersburg.

The video features a slight case of arachnophobia or fear of spiders and depicts Bowser reacting and quickly brushing away a tarantula that had unknowingly been placed on his shoulder. The spider had been purchased at an area pet store as part of Barling and Lavar’s covert plan to prank their coworker.

A video of their antics was sent to the popular television show, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and netted the men $10,000 in 2008. As exciting as winning the cash prize was at that time, just as important to Barling was the opportunity for Lavar to become reconnected with a loved one.

Barling told the “News,” Lavar had fallen out of contact with his brother years prior. The two filmings of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” the men attended in California allowed Lavar the perfect opportunity to reunite and become family again. Sadly, shortly after the second taping, Lavar died in an accident.

Barling said he shared Lavar’s experience with the producers from “The Tonight Show,” who located the spider video on YouTube and found it entertaining enough to be part of their “Prank You Very Much” segment. In spite of a little scrambling around and some uncertainty on whether their appearance would be aired, Barling said he “had fun” being part of the popular talk show.

“They made it easy for us. We had fun,” stated Barling, who shared some of his backstage experiences and the time he spent interacting with Leno.

Barling stated he and Bowser had the opportunity to exchange some “small talk” before the taping with Leno, who was wearing his ever-present jeans and a jean shirt. The group bantered about their jobs, where they were from, and Leno even cracked a few jokes for the crowd, Barling said.

Barling added everyone he spoke with on the show referred to Leno as being “the biggest workaholic they ever met” and referenced his love of automobiles.

Grateful and excited about his appearance on the show, Barling noted he certainly missed having Lavar be a part of the action for his role as the prank video’s cameraman. “We missed him, that’s for sure,” he added.

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