LINCOLN PARK — After everyone at the Polar Plunge was done fussing over the funny guy from New York City, a teenage bronze medalist in the Sochi Olympic games casually sipped a Red Bull and dunked himself in icy Lake Michigan for a good cause.
Nick Goepper, 19 — known as “Heartthrob” to folks who keep up with the Dew Tour — took the plunge shirtless with the Olympic bronze medal for slopestyle skiing around his neck.
“Had to get the adrenaline pumping, and Red Bull was a really nice boost before submerging myself under ice chunks in Lake Michigan,” Goepper said, his hair stiff with ice and the bronze medal frozen to his chest.
Like most of the more than 3,000 Polar Plungers, Goepper didn’t need to lose a bet with Chicago kids like Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who took the plunge because city kids read more than 2 million books over the summer.
Goepper didn’t even get his arm twisted via Twitter, like "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon did by none other than our mayor, to be inspired to take the plunge for Special Olympics.
“Nobody made me do it. I made the big donation for me and three of my friends, jumped in and had a really great time,” he said. “I came here for this because I wanted to support Special Olympics. It’s a cause that is something I feel responsible to be an advocate for.”
And like most of the people who showed up at North Avenue Beach, Goepper didn’t get to meet Fallon (who probably should have his fellow Polar Plunger on "The Tonight Show").
Fallon, as we all know by now, made a special trip to Chicago after Emanuel challenged him on Twitter to go jump in the frozen lake.
The social media back-and-forth started after Fallon said he’s so “scared” of Rahm that he’d even let him host "The Tonight Show."
But given Rahm’s attempts at delivering punch lines several times on Sunday, Fallon probably might want to think twice about that.
Say what you will about our mayor, he’s got no future in stand-up comedy.
Take, for instance, one of the mayor’s failed attempts at being funny: “When we are cold we have to form dibs furniture. We’ll just freeze up just like that and we can be used for parking.”
To be fair, Emanuel did score a few laughs when he shot back at a heckling reporter who yelled out, “You know it doesn’t count unless you go all the way under.”
“Oh, advice from the dry side,” the mayor said.
But later, Emanuel bombed again. In fact, a freezing crowd groaned when Rahm said that before introducing Fallon he would first share his “14-point health care plan.”
Thankfully, "The Tonight Show" host — whom you might know as “#SwimmyFallon” on Twitter — was there to save the mayor from himself.
“What is wrong with you people?” Fallon joked to stir the crowd into an uproar.
Well, Jimmy, let me tell you.
Chicagoans are the twisted sort of folk willing to do just about anything — especially jump in a frozen lake — to raise cash for people who need a little extra support.
Some of us will push Chicago kids over the summer to read enough books — 2.1 million, in fact — to force our unfunny mayor to keep his promise and jump in the lake.
Plus, there’s “scary” Mayor Emanuel — your description, Fallon, not mine — who's willing to use all his influence to get the hottest man in show business to do the same for the city’s Special Olympics athletes.
Thousands of others, like Special Olympics fundraiser-in-chief James “Skinny” Sheahan, will take the plunge every year to raise cash that keeps programs for special needs athletes alive for years.
“It was really cold, which made today really tremendous,” Sheahan said.
“We raised more than $1 million for Special Olympics thanks to Mayor Emanuel, Jimmy Fallon and more than 3,000 people who came out to take the plunge. It’s just a great way to have fun, raise money and really show that Chicago’s a city that cares.”
That’s what is wrong with us, #SwimmyFallon — and we don’t want to be right.