What does Donald Glover have to do with Brooklyn furries and an evacuated comedy club?

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By Dan Sears

These are the facts.

A comedy club said it was evacuated Wednesday night during a performance by Mark Normand.

The comedian was escorted off the stage after two people approached the microphone in the middle of Normand’s set and asked the crowd to “get up, get out.”

Days earlier, on Tuesday night, two people dressed as furries surrounded Tyra Banks at Barclays Center during a Nets game.

And s week ago, artist Timothy Goodman announced solemnly on TikTok that a pair of shoes he’d designed had been stolen at a launch party.

“The lights went out suddenly,” he said, “and my shoes were stolen.”

The NYPD said it has received no complaints about stolen shoes, an evacuated comedy club, or furries on the loose.

The events — while seeming to have nothing in common except disruption in public places — appear to be linked by a group called HiHi and were all shared by actor Donald Glover on his social media.

Normand took to Instagram to state: “No one was injured or harmed during my performance…the disruption was part of a planned ‘surprise’ activity by show producers, HIHI.”

He called his statement “the good ole corporate statement from my publicist.”

But who or what is HiHi?

And why was Donald Glover sharing clips from their Instagram on his social media accounts?

A group by the name of HiHi did not respond to direct messages to its Instagram account.

But an Los Angeles-based marketing company called Verb appears to have posted a call for submissions in December to a “HiHi Mission Contest” where winning participants would be selected to enact various “missions” taking place at a “culture event in New York City.”

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Winners who completed the mission would be rewarded with prizes including shopping trips, spa and dining experiences, and helicopter rides.

Employees and affiliates of Amazon were not eligible to participate, according to the callout.

Amazon’s streaming division is the producer of a new show, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” which stars actors Donald Glover and Maya Erskine.

In the movie, they partner up in an effort they call “Hihi” according to a recent Vanity Fair profile.

Emails and calls to Verb, as well as to Donald Glover’s agent and manager, were not returned.

The New York Comedy Club did not respond to a request for comment.

On X, the site formerly known as Twitter, the club posted a statement about the events on Wednesday.

“First and foremost, nobody was harmed or injured,” it said. “The disruption was part of a filming by @Hi_Hi, the producers that rented out our venue for the night. So, since this took on a bit of a wild narrative, if you were in attendance for this taping, we’d love to host you for an ACTUAL show for FREE.”

Taccara and Yinka Lawanson — married content creators who are known as LingandLamb on social media platforms, including TikTok — were in the audience.

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They said they’d been invited to the show about a week before by their agency, Outshine Talent. Since Yinka had never been to a comedy show before, they thought it was the perfect time.

The Lawansons said that when they arrived and were seated, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“We were informed that it was a taping,” Taccara said. “They brought us in as VIP guests and they sat us down.”

As the incident unfolded, the Lawansons said they felt different emotions.

“Personally my first instinct is to get out of here,” said Yinka. “And my wife’s first instinct is ‘what is going on? I want to find out more.’”

“I’m a curious person, I’m not gonna lie,” added his wife, Taccara. “I was like, wait, I wanna see what’s happening.,”

Taccara said some people began running out of the theater, and that was when someone who appeared to be the producer said, “No, no, no. There’s no danger, but we just need you guys to leave, walk, take your time.”

Taccara described the night as a “letdown.”

“I won’t say we’re furious,” she said. “Thankfully no one was hurt or injured. I think we’re just more like, OK, definitely disappointed. And no, we’re not interested in going back for another show.”

Using stunts or social media to promote a product is nothing new, said Karen North, a professor who teaches classes on digital social media at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.

She said she did not know if the event was a marketing ploy but that it appeared to be a stunt.

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“When deciding to pursue a stunt, whether you’re a PR agency, a marketing firm, an advertising company, or just individuals trying to figure out what to do themselves to get attention, everybody should sit back and remember don’t harm other people in trying to get attention for whatever it is that you’re promoting,” she said.

“Don’t underestimate the impact of a stunt like this on encouraging other people in the future to pursue additional stunts,” North added. “It’s your responsibility to think about the persuasive value of what you’re doing and whether or not you’re encouraging other people to engage in bad behavior.”

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