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Posted on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

University of Michigan students interrupt biology lecture with elaborate fake musical wedding

By Kellie Woodhouse

Say you're sitting in a very large Biology 171 lecture and suddenly a musical wedding prank unfolds in front of you.

It's possible, at the University of Michigan.

In October, a group of 54 students staged an elaborate fake wedding, a musical prank they decided to act out in the middle of a biology lecture led by U-M lecturer Barry O'Connor.

The prank included eight cameras, 2,000 rose petals and a lot of fake mustaches, according to Nathan Hartmann, a U-M engineering major and the video's director. So what inspires such a gag?

"We do it primarily just for the heck of it," Hartmann said in an interview. The idea for the video came from "a running joke" about two of Hartmann's friends getting married, even though the pair aren't romantically interested in one another, says Hartmann.

"It just kind of spiraled from there," says Hartmann. "And it was like 'How do we keep making it more and more over the top?' "

The prank lasted just over three minutes but took the entire class, including the instructor, by surprise.


University of Michigan students conducted a fake wedding during a biology lecture.

"When there is a disruption in class the first thing the instructor needs to do is determine if there looks like there is any danger going on," O'Connor told

O'Connor tried to admonish the pranksters when they first began, yelling "We're in class," and trying to speak over the noise. His efforts were for naught.

"Given the large number of people who were invading the classroom, none of them were brandishing weapons or anything. ... I just let it play out and tried to not make any scene about it."

The wedding lark isn't the first time the pranksters have hit campus. Earlier this year, the group staged another elaborate class interruption during a large organic chemistry lecture. The prank, a fight between a purse thief and Zorro, featured an enthusiastic mariachi band.

The Zorro video went viral and, according to YouTube, has nearly 2.9 million views.

The wedding prank has just more than 12,100 hits.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Very cute! I'm a UM alumna, and one of my sons is a UM student. If this prank happened in one of his classes, I would not at all regret the 3 minutes of lost lecture time -- the stress relief would be worth it. LOL


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 6:14 a.m.

Ah yes, the classic fake musical wedding prank. Glad they could incorporate ironic mustaches as well. Really not so much a prank as a desperate cry for attention.


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Even though I may not necessarily agree with what they did, I still can't help smiling and laughing as I watch the video!! I guess that's the "Michigan difference"!!

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

List me as a fuddy duddy who thinks these sorts of things belong on the diag or some other 'public" place where they don't disrupt a paid for event. People paid serious money to be in that Biology class. It is no more appropriate than if they did it in a movie theater during a show that people paid 10 bucks for a ticket and another 10 bucks for popcorn. If they tried it on the court of a basketball game during the game I bet they get arrested.

music to my ear

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

I think it is funny whats wrong with an innocence prank, however later in life if they do really marry they would have wish it were a prank. just a ha ha .


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Hilarious! Lots of planning and hard work, on the production. We all can use a little humor in our lives. Bravo!

Laura Jones

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

Great video - and the links after to the other ones were even better. I predict whomever is producing these will find a good career in film later one. Well done!


Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

This happened in October? Must have been a very slow news day. No, make that a non-news day.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

all these negative comments... some people need to lighten up! i bet the bio 171 students were more engaged in the class after the prank than they were before (see random student with his head phones in when the prank first starts).

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

I bet they were distracted and the 3 minutes resulted in several more minutes in which the purpose of the class was derailed.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

Gee, lots of negativity here from other commenters. It looks like it was a fun prank, with pretty good production value, too! It was only 3 minutes long, and they even cleaned up the rose pedals after the lecture was over. So, let's calm down and admit good work when we see it, instead of using it to make sweeping generalizations.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

The perpetrators need to taught to a real being expelled!!!!

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

Nah, just make them really get married. A fate worse than death! :P


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

How clever! How come nothing like this ever happened when I was in class?


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.


West of Main

Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.



Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Good way to generate student interest in an otherwise mundane subject - biology. ...and soon after the video aired all of the advanced UM biology courses were booked solid. Engineers are elegant problem solvers but not so clever when it comes to the simple human things like how to get a date with the opposite sex.

tom swift jr.

Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

"interrupt"... I think the word you were looking for was "disrupt".. and poorly at that.... Flash Mobs are pretty much a thing of the past, U of in the past again....


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Ah, yes, our education dollars (and theirs and/or their parents) at work. Priceless, really. Priceless.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Who knows these kids might accomplish more than a you tube moment in their lives!


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

Keep calm and pretend it's in the lesson plan...