In the living room of Jake Brend’s five-bedroom apartment he shares with six other guys, a sign hand-painted by his step-grandmother’s sister’s ex-husband hangs on the wall with the message ”Brend: Start unknown, finish widely forgettable.”
A message made to remind Jake to always be exceptionally average has now become a prophecy. Before his now famous NIL skit - Brend was unknown to the world, working security at Big Earl’s Goldmine and trying to figure out what to do with his life.
But after he tweeted a minute long video that appeared by chance on the television station he also happens to intern at, he’s been lauded as an example of kindness and compassion across the nation. The video brought in more than $50 after he decided to donate all the funds raised from his brief television appearance to the America Needs Another Lawyer program.
It began as a whim. The night before the tweet, Brend walked into the legendary sports reporter Keith Murphy’s office and asked for help mailing in the only thing he was in charge of as the resident intern at WHO.
“Boy do I have a skit for you,” Murphy said with a smile. A night later, Jake hit send on this tweet:
Then, the world began to take notice.
By the end of the day, local and national media started picking up the skit. On Thursday, Brend appeared on Dallas’ 3rd largest sports radio station, The Ticket. Soon after, he even did an ad read for a Horror Podcast that he had to Google before agreeing to participate.
“I do have kind of a big heart,” Brend said of his decision to turn his 15 seconds of fame into a fundraising opportunity. “My friends know me as kind of a softy. I’m ‘the nice guy.’”
As his profile has grown, he’s received numerous requests to join in on the already overplayed NIL satire culture, recognition from strangers, and even romantic overtures from many individuals, including a “Brian in Iowa City” that Brend had to block on all social media.
“At work, people recognize me. At home, my mother recognizes me,” he said. “I’m happy with all of it. None of this could have happened without people out there recognizing me and realizing this is a good cause and everything. If people want to take pictures with me and get all up in my personal space, I’m all for it.”
A routine and totally normal background check of Brend’s social media revealed two heartbreaking and inappropriate tweets, one emphatically admitting that Iowa State stole the color black from the University of Iowa, and one comparing former Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi to Patrick Mahomes. The tweets date back to 2020, when Brend was a 19-year-old college student.
When asked about the tweets, Brend was remorseful and thanked WRNL for pointing them out, saying they made him “sick.” He has since deleted them.
“That’s not something that I’m proud of at all, but I do accept that I’m being cancelled for something so off-color,” he told WRNL during the day Thursday.
Thursday evening, Brend spoke to the media about the now-deleted tweets.
“I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought were a couple of banger tweets a year ago,” he said in a statement. “I want to sincerely apologize.”
Now, Brend wants to look to the future.
“With the profile and recognition and status I’ve gotten with this, I’d like to reach out to different struggling organizations around the state such as the America Needs Another Lawyer program,” he said.
He’s entertaining the idea of joining ANAL or even Jordan Bohannon’s already defunct kickstarter “Memz,” at some level, but his newfound talent for fundraising has him rethinking his career goals.
“With all that’s gone on, I think I should probably help in other ways,” he said. ”I’m going to continue to make waves in the bowels of Cyclone Twitter. I’m still young. But at the end of the day, I’m just glad I was able to do some good in this world.”