Kareem Rahma, a New York City-based comedian, was feeling a bit homesick for the Midwest this weekend as he enjoyed a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. So, with plenty of beer and hot dogs at his disposal, he decided to recreate a familiar Wisconsin treat: the beer-soaked brat. Holding a cup of Bud Light in one hand and a bun-clad hot dog in the other, he casually dunked his dog into the cup before each bite.
This combination was caught on camera by a fellow attendee seated behind him, and shared on the New York City-centric Instagram account @NewYorkNico five days ago. It promptly went viral, and was shared by other major Instagrams like @Worldstar.
“For days, people were texting me and sending me the video, asking, ‘Is this you?’” he tells me. “I just said, ‘No.’ I don’t want to be known for that, and I was a little bit ashamed. But when I saw Jimmy Fallon talking about it, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s my intellectual property, dog.’”
Last night, Fallon had Elisabeth Moss on The Tonight Show where they shared the clip, without credit to Rahma, and tried the combination for themselves. This was a turning point for Rahma, who’s now ready to defend his decision to soften his glizzies with beer. “First and foremost, I’d like to say that I’m a Mets fan,” he explains, refuting Fallon’s claim that he’s a Yankees guy. “I grew up in Minneapolis, and in some Midwestern cities such as Milwaukee, which is close to Minneapolis, people do boil their hot dogs in beer. It gives the dog some extra flavor.”
“So I was at the Yankees game with my friend Teddy, and I was missing home,” he continues. “I haven’t been home for a long time. I was like, ‘I should get a beer and a dog and just do a little dipping.’ Usually, I use ketchup and mustard, but I didn’t want ketchup or mustard in my beer, so I went with a plain hot dog, which is very rare and very gross.”
Ordinarily, Rahma dips a plain, bunless hot dog into beers when he’s feeling a little homesick, but he wasn’t about to waste a perfectly good bun that he’d paid for. “If I ate just the hot dog dipped in beer, it wouldn’t fill me up, and I’d probably have to spend more money getting more hot dogs, right?” he argues. “I just figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and do it like that.”
Many have been critical of his food choice, calling for him to be arrested or saying it’s gross, but others have been supportive, too. “You fear him because he’s not afraid to live,” one person commented on @NewYorkNico’s post. Others on Twitter said they do it too, or shared themselves trying it for the first time and enjoying it. “Some people came to my defense, which is very nice,” he says. “But I will say that I believe that no one should be made fun of for their preferences. Some people have fetishes. Some people like pineapple on pizza. Some people like to dip their fries in milkshakes. And I wouldn’t make fun of anyone for any of it.”
Admittedly, this isn’t Rahma’s first brush with viral fame — earlier this year, he was featured in New York Magazine after signs he posted in his apartment mail entryway seeking his missing issue of the magazine were shared on Instagram. But he’s firm in his stance that this wasn’t a stunt. “Because the world is filled with clout-chasing egomaniacs and viral wannabes, people like me who simply have strange character traits are always falsely accused of doing it for the ‘gram, but I’m not doing it for the ‘gram,” he promises.
Regardless of the attention, Rahma isn’t going to stop living his truth. “I’ll continue to do my thing, and I hope that people fly their freak flags and that this is a lesson in being yourself,” he vows. “Because what’s cool at the end of the day is being yourself and owning your strangeness.”
And for Rahma, that means chomping down on a hot dog his way, no matter who might be watching.