August 13, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It has been said that all glory is fleeting. Nobody knows that better than recent Westside High School grads Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson. They’ve found online fame in a big way—all in the most fleeting of six-second increments.

At press time, the entertainment enterprise known simply as Jack & Jack had a stunning 3.7 million followers on Vine, the mobile app now owned by Twitter that enables its users to create short—with double emphasis on the word ‘short’—video clips.

The Jacks, who have been best friends since kindergarten and whose homes are only blocks apart, offer the simplest of explanations when asked to describe the genesis of their creative endeavors.

“Boredom,” says Gilinsky, the son of Katherine and David Gilinsky.

“Summer,” adds Johnson, whose parents are Jennifer and John Johnson.

Hey, c’mon, guys! Just because your Vines are limited to only six seconds doesn’t mean that your interview answers need to follow suit!

Their comedic videos are sometimes slice-of-life observations on teen life, but most involve a certain slapstick vibe that depict the young men in all manner of exuberantly unfettered high jinx.

The Jacks don’t discuss the money-making aspect of their work, but say they have enjoyed some of the perks of fame, including being flown around the country by a sponsor for meet-and-greet sessions with other top Viners. It is there that they are welcomed by screaming, mostly young teen girls in scenes of adoration reminiscent of those when the Beatles first landed in America.

They had once intended on studying together at the same college, but their success now has the Jacks planning to move to L.A. next year to make their mark in the music and entertainment industry. Gilinsky sings and Johnson raps. One of their songs, “Paradise,” recently spent time as the No. 1 seller on the iTunes Hip Hop charts.

“Our first objective is to become professional musicians,” says Johnson. “College is still really important but, if anything, this really helps build a great resume regardless of what we do.”

“And we’ll still continue with comedy as well,” adds Gilinsky. “Not everybody gets a chance like this, and we want to see how far we can take this before going to school.”

Since the mid-1990s, the rise of instant communication on the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on both culture and commerce. And you can say what you will about fears that the web has served to shrink a nation’s attention span.

In the meantime, all bow to the six-second entertainment juggernaut that is Jack & Jack.

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