Random Man on the Street Turns Out to Be the Fonz AGAIN

RTE News YouTube
RTE News YouTube

A national broadcaster’s dramatic news report about a fire at a historic hotel in Ireland turned somewhat comical Tuesday with a surprise cameo appearance from actor Henry Winkler, of all people.

After hearing from an official with the Dublin Fire Brigade, RTÉ viewers were then treated to a man on the street interview from the Happy Days star. Bizarrely, it’s not the first time TV news crews on the other side of the Atlantic have gone looking for random interviewees and found The Fonz.

“When I heard the fire alarm, I thought it was the clock radio,” said Winkler, who was staying in the Shelbourne Hotel overnight. The 78-year-old Arrested Development alum said he didn’t realize it was actually a real fire alarm until he went into another room at the hotel and could still hear the “buzzing.”

“I called downstairs and the woman said in a very calm voice: ‘Yes! We’re all evacuating! You must evacuate right now!’” Winkler said, impersonating her words in a decidedly panicked tone. (Local media reports said no one was injured and the fire was quickly brought under control.)

He also posted online a picture of himself alongside three firefighters, captioned with a message of thanks to the fire department. “Firemen are some of my favorite human beings,” he told RTÉ. “Firemen and firewomen. They run in when other people are running out.”

Winkler is in Ireland to promote his memoir Being Henry: The Fonz… and Beyond, according to the broadcaster. He seemed remarkably stoic about the fact that his first day in the country involved being evacuated from a burning hotel, cheerily describing the incident as “an amazing adventure right here in Dublin.”

“I cannot wait to see the rest of Dublin,” Winkler added.

Henry Winkler Dishes on ‘Happy Days’ Drama, Dinner With Bette Davis

His unexpected appearance in the coverage of the blaze recalled another, even stranger interview in which he was stopped by a BBC reporter in London who wanted to know his thoughts about plans for a new runway at Heathrow airport.

Winkler patiently explained during the 2013 interview that he’s not a British voter and was in the U.K. temporarily because he was doing a pantomime in the Richmond area of the capital (he played Captain Hook in Peter Pan) but nevertheless asked if the airport expansion might bring “more people to the economy.”

BBC journalist James Landale explained there were concerns it could mean more noise in the area. “Richmond is a lovely place,” Winkler ventured. “I watch the planes go every day. I hear nothing.” He then agreed that he was “relaxed” about the planned expansion as he walked away from the crew.

Landale wrote after the interview that he’d already started his “spiel” before he realized he was “addressing no less a figure than the Fonz.”

“Instantly I became a gabbling, star-struck idiot,” the journalist added, “[A]sking if he had a vote here (doh! he’s an American actor), how his pantomime was going and even if he had a view on Heathrow (what was I thinking?).”

It could’ve been worse. A TikTok comedian recently conducted an entire interview with Hollywood director Baz Luhrmann without realizing that she was actually grilling a critically-acclaimed filmmaker about his thoughts on orgies.

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