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The Christmas story behind this viral KFC prank

How a moment of sisterhood and tough talk brought holiday laughs.

Left: A screenshot of Bobbie Holiday's viral video. Right: One of the holiday hoodies that the video inspired.
Left: A screenshot of Bobbie Holiday's viral video. Right: One of the holiday hoodies that the video inspired.Read moreCourtesy of Bobbie Holliday / Denita Roseborough

Denita knew it was Christmastime. She also knew there’d be no mess.

That’s why when comedian Bobbie Holliday walked into a KFC in Springfield, Delaware County, and alleged that a cashier had slipped her number to his boyfriend, Antoine, manager Denita Roseborough was clear.

The video, which captures Roseborough leading a small group of women who pulled up to quash the confrontation, standing together to protect their colleague, had racked up nearly 220,000 views on Holliday’s Instagram since it was posted this month and earned praise from the black news site the Root.

“Let me explain something to you,” Roseborough’s epic defense begins. “I don’t care about you or Antoine. When you walk in here, say, 'Good morning,’ like we said to you.”

Holliday stays in character. In real life, he’s an oil truck driver who pops in to spots along his travels and tapes practical jokes for his social media audience. He wanted to see whether he could inspire at least a minute of good banter for his Instagram.

He says good morning back, and Denita asks whether he wants to order.

“Could I finish with her, though? I want to check her,” Holliday asks.

“No, I don’t want to hear about none of that. You ain’t checkmating nothing in here,” she informs him.

Holliday feigns disgust and says, now famously:

“Denita, it’s Christmas!”

“And you in ho-ho-ho,” she replies.

Even before more colleagues came forward, Holliday knew he had comedy gold.

Seeing the women back their peers up, he reacts: “Oh, my god, I thought I was in the suburbs!”

Staffer Neptrina Payne, moments after removing her headset, lets him know that, in a sense, he isn’t.

“This North Philly?” he asks.

“Yup, and Chester,” Payne replies.

Shortly after finishing her Christmas wrapping Sunday, Roseborough spoke to the Inquirer and Daily News about her Instagram cameo. She said she’s still receiving kind notes from viewers, even now.

“I’ve never had so many people say, ‘Thank you,’ ” said Roseborough, who’ll be sharing her first Christmas with her 10-month-old daughter. Between the video and her baby, whom she named Heaven, she’s feeling plenty of good holiday energy. “And you have so much respect and so much love over a prank, that [I] ain’t even know was a prank.”

As one Instagram user assessed: “Respectful yet firm with a dash of you can catch these hands. Amen.”

“Denita, it’s Christmas” is now available on shirts and hoodies with two designs. (Holliday created the first; Roseborough commissioned the second; Roseborough gets earnings from both.)

Holliday, who is married to a woman, plays a gay character in his pranks, inspired by the comedian Dee Lee. He acknowledges he’s been against homosexuality in the past but says he’s had a change of heart.

“I used to badger [gay people.] I don’t do it no more because you never know who needs love,” Holliday insisted.

He said gay viewers might find the character offensive but he hasn’t gotten backlash yet.

Holliday has a number of viral videos on his accounts but said there was something special about the solidarity at the fried chicken franchise.

“I've never seen sister unity like that ever. It was a unit,” he said. “And it was raw. You not gon mess with these women.”

Carrie Williams, the cashier Holliday jokingly accused, also has been amazed at reactions to the clip.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” said Williams, who lives in the Northeast. “I’ve had people buy me coffee saying, ‘Oh, my god, it’s the girl with the face.’ "

The prank threw her off. “The main question I get asked a lot is, ‘Do you talk a lot?’ And I do, I just got stuck,” Williams said.

Roseborough, 33, has worked in fast food for 15 years, but her current position at a store, managing women mostly, has created a certain bond and pushes her to be protective.

“You just go on the internet and you see women just fighting,” she said. She’s happy her viral moment was different. “It’s four black strong sisters in a fast-food restaurant sticking up for one another.”