D: Rickrolling means fooling someone by sending them an Internet link that appears to be one thing, but instead, when you click on it, you end up at this Rick Astley music video from 1987.


RICK ASTLEY: (Singing) Never gonna give you, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.

: Well, the Oregon Legislature has taken rickrolling to a whole new level by incorporating the lyrics to that song, bit by bit, into speeches delivered on the House floor.

Unidentified Man #1: We're no strangers to love.

Unidentified Man #2: You know the rules, and so do I.

Unidentified Man #3: The full commitment's, what I'm thinking of.

Unidentified Man #4: You wouldn't get this from any other guy.

: I just want to tell you how I'm feeling.

: That political prank germinated in the mind of Democrat Jefferson Smith, who joins me from Salem. Welcome to the program.

JEFFERSON SMITH: Hey, Melissa, how are you doing?

: I'm great. And why don't you explain how this worked, how you managed to get members of the Oregon House to engage in this bit of rickrolling.

SMITH: So to be clear, you know, it was the work of many hands, and before we knew it, we were able to distribute every line to the song. And people had to follow the rule to not change the subject, not to take extra time, to actually include it within a germane topic. And we were able to get it done.

: You know, I guess there would be some parts of this song, some lyrics that would be easier to weave into a floor speech, like, got to make you understand, say, than ones like your heart's been aching, and you're too shy to say it.

Unidentified Man #6: We've known each other for so long.

Unidentified Man #7: Your heart's been aching.

Unidentified Woman #1: But you're too shy to say it.

SMITH: Yes, there are a few lines that are more challenging. The easier lines were done towards the beginning. The tougher lines were done towards the end, and luckily we were able to get them all in there, including the ooh-ooh, which was challenging, and many kudos to the folks who participated. And they're great sports and really great legislators, as well.

: That ooh has to be my favorite part of the video. The woman delivering this is - she's a champ.

: : Ooh, never gonna give you up, never gonna give you up. Ooh.

SMITH: Oh, it's great. It was a little bit funny when she did it on the floor. It was very funny to the people who were in on the joke, right? And so some of us kind of tried to muffle our laughter and keep focus on the work at hand when somebody would slip in their line.

: Right. Well, here's the thing. You ended up splicing video of all of these phrases together. You put that out on YouTube, on April 1st, we should note, but this is no joke. And now it has gone viral.

SMITH: Yeah, sort of surprisingly. I mean, we've stated - you know, one thing I would say is maybe fortunately, unfortunately, is the manifestation of the first law of legislative absurdity, thermodynamics, which is that the degree of discussion of an issue very often is inversely proportionate to its relevancy and importance.


: Well, there is that, isn't there?

SMITH: Yeah.

: Did you get equal buy-in on both sides of the aisle, both Republicans and Democrats? Was this a truly, truly bipartisan effort here?

SMITH: Yeah, we had both Republicans and Democrats and wanted to have, you know, cross-partisan participation. You know, it's a silly thing. It's a fun thing. And maybe one of the reasons that people are forwarding it around and enjoying it themselves is that it is a mild break from much of what we're seeing in national politics.

: Well, Jefferson Smith, thanks for giving us something fun to think about and talk about today, appreciate it.

SMITH: Cheers.

Man #1: We're no strangers to love.

Man #2: You know the rules, and so do I.

Man #3: The full commitment's, what I'm thinking of.

Man #4: You wouldn't get this from any other guy.

: I just want to...


ASTLEY: (Singing) ...any other guy. I just want to tell you how I'm feeling.

: Jefferson Smith is a Democrat in the Oregon House of Representatives, and he wants to make clear that no public dollars were spent in the making of that video.


ASTLEY: (Singing) Never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry...

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.