Watch a Guy Named Gary From Chicago Steal the Show at the Oscars

Feb 26, 2017

In an Oscars gag reminiscent of Ellen DeGeneres' 2014 pizza takeout bit, Jimmy Kimmel unloaded a sightseeing bus full of unsuspecting tourists into the Dolby Theatre Sunday night, thrusting them without warning in front of everyone who's anyone in Hollywood and millions of viewers at home. At the front of the pack was Chicagoan Gary Alan Cole—and Gary was ready for the spotlight.

Wearing a Hollywood sweatshirt and black baseball cap, Gary introduced himself to Kimmel and quickly pulled out his phone to start snapping pics of the front-row celebs. He was joined, we soon learned, by his fiancée Vickie, who could hardly contain her excitement at breathing the same air as her all-time favorite actor Denzel Washington; Washington gamely performed a brief, impromptu wedding ceremony for the pair.

Taraji P. Henson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Taraji P. Henson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.Valerie Macon—AFP/Getty Images
Taraji P. Henson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Janelle Monáe on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Karlie Kloss on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Naomie Harris on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Emma Stone on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Ryan Gosling on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Dakota Johnson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Viola Davis on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Casey Affleck on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Ruth Negga on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Priyanka Chopra on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Jessica Beil on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Max Martin, Justin Timberlake and Karl Johan Schuster on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Charlize Theron on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Nicole Kidman on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Trevante Rhodes, Alex R. Hibbert and Ashton Sanders on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Mahershala Ali on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Brie Larson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Luz Towns-Miranda and Lin-Manuel Miranda on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Dev Patel on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Halle Berry on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Viggo Mortensen on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Ava DuVernay on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Felicity Jones on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Trudie Styler and Sting on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Hailee Steinfeld on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Luciana Barroso and Matt Damon on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Kirsten Dunst on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Barry Jenkins on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Salma Hayek on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Andrew Garfield on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Jackie Chan on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Olivia Culpo on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Terrence Howard on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Auli'i Cravalho on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Kerri Higuchi and John Cho on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Teresa Palmer on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Isabelle Huppert on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Tarell Alvin, right, and guest on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Leslie Mann on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Ginnifer Goodwin on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Sunny Pawar on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Allison Schroeder on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Pauletta Washington and Denzel Washington on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Lucas Hedges on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Riz Ahmed on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Octavia Spencer on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Susan Geston and Jeff Bridges on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Michelle Williams on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Laura Dern on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Olivia Hamilton and Damien Chazelle on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Alicia Vikander on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Sofia Boutella on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Taraji P. Henson on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars, on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.
Valerie Macon—AFP/Getty Images
1 of 57

As Gary, Vickie and the rest of the crew rubbed Mahershala Ali's Oscar and kissed the hands of nominees Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer, Kimmel noted to Gary, "I feel like you're ignoring the white celebrities." To which Gary matter-of-factly responded, "Yes, I am."

The bit had a few critics —particularly after Kimmel made fun of one of the tourist's names for being unfamiliar and difficult for him to pronounce. B ut Gary, who was hardly at fault for the segment's existence, was quickly embraced. In the grand tradition of memes, which have granted the likes of Ken Bone instant celebrity, the Internet began fawning over Gary from Chicago almost immediately.

The official Chicago Bulls Twitter account invited Gary to a game:

Some applauded him for soaking up the moment, as one must:

Others enjoyed his frankness under pressure:

https://twitter.com/serpentstark/status/836054290200420353

And still others predicted a scramble to tell Gary's life story in a moving profile:

Some hoped, on Gary's behalf, that he had charged his phone the night before:

And some, thanks to him, have this year's Halloween costume all planned out:

Vickie got some attention, too —particularly from those wondering just what Ryan Gosling might have whispered softly in her ear:

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.