When Jordie Bloom left Madison Square Garden after the Knicks’ opening-night double-overtime win against the Celtics, he spotted Trent Simonian, host of the 60-second Instagram show Sidetalk, interviewing a group of elated fans. Familiar with Sidetalk’s videos and riding high from a thrilling game, the longtime Knicks fan walked over to the mic and simply recreated the subway-door sound effect that begins each of Sidetalk’s episodes: “Bing bong.”
The video that resulted showed Knicks fans in all their mad glory, absolutely losing their minds over precisely one (1) regular-season win. All the borderline-terrifying shouting was one reason the clip went viral the next day. But it was Bloom’s one-second “bing bong” that emerged as the standout moment.
As the Knicks got off to a hot start, winning five of their first six games, the phrase became an early season rallying cry, appearing in back-page headlines, on the scoreboard at Madison Square Garden, and even in a Mike Breen play-by-play call of a Julius Randle bank-shot three-pointer. Knicks fans, desperate for a contender and psyching themselves up for what could be the most fun squad in years, made bing-bong memes, carved bing-bong pumpkins, and dressed as Bing Bong Guy for Halloween.
We spoke with Bloom about the Knicks, his sudden viral fame, and the phrase he will perhaps forever be associated with.
What was the scene like outside Madison Square Garden on opening night when the video was filmed?
It was as if the Knicks had just won a playoff game. I went to the playoff game where we beat Atlanta at home last year [in game two of the first round], and the energy outside of the Garden was … I wouldn’t say identical, because when we beat Atlanta, there was a party all the way down to, like, 27th Street on Seventh Avenue. It was a ten-block party. But this was a sea of joy and happiness.
Was saying “bing bong” just word association when you saw Trent from Sidetalk?
So I had seen previous videos where the rapper NEMS had done it, and there’s the Sidetalk doors-opening sound effect. There were a bunch of reasons that all calculated into me doing it. But it was because of Sidetalk. It wasn’t because I thought to myself, Ooh, if I say bing bong, this is going to go viral.
Why do you think it caught on the way it did?
First of all, you gotta give a shout-out to the way that Sidetalk, Trent and Jack Byrne, edited it. This moment comes up where you’re kind of caught off guard with the bing bong, you know, like you’re hearing some guy basically have a seizure and then, bing bong. Then there’s fact that it relates back to the subway doors, the fact that it has New York ties, and the fact that what it means is only positive things. It means, like, let’s go win a chip. Let’s go, Knicks. That’s why people got behind it, because it sounds a little ridiculous at first. But the more you say it, the more it catches on.
It’s sort of like a secret password.
Almost. Like, right after Orlando beat us, they bing-bonged in our face, right? The brand wasn’t as strong then. There were memes, like a graveyard saying “RIP Bing Bong.” Toronto beat us Monday night, and Toronto tweeted “bing bong” in our face. But bing bong is here to stay because it means something so positive. It means only good things toward the Knicks. There are no negative connotations. It’s not “Go Knicks, screw the Raptors.” It’s “Go Knicks, we love New York.”
Was there a moment over the past week that you found especially wild?
There are moments that have stood out to me for all different sorts of reasons, from seeing myself all over the internet to seeing myself be inserted in hysterical memes. And seeing people that I looked up to for a long time, like Marc Stein — Marc Stein following me on Twitter is a moment I will never forget. I felt accomplished.
Has anyone from the Knicks reached out to you?
The Knicks actually were very, very, very nice enough to bring me to the game Monday night. They brought me, they brought the two Sidetalk guys that did the video, and the guy before me in the video that basically has a seizure leading up to my bing bong.
How much were people coming up to you at the game?
A ridiculous amount. Like, the amount of times I got bing-bonged in my face was hysterical. Then the Sidetalk guys uploaded a picture of us, and once they did that, people kind of caught onto our whereabouts. There was a point during halftime where we went out into the corridor and it was hysterical. I would say madness, but you know what? It was literally all joyful. I didn’t feel bombarded. They’re not there to go see Bing Bong Guy. I just contribute to their joy, and they contribute to my joy when I see them. Bing bong always has been bigger than me. I didn’t invent bing bong. What I did was integrated it into the Knicks.
If that was the scene outside the Garden when they went 1-0, what would happen if the Knicks ever actually won a championship?
I don’t want to comment on that because I’m big into jinxes. But: pandemonium.
This interview has been edited and condensed.