Jimmy Fallon thought he was real clever when he invited the four main kid actors from Stranger Things on The Tonight Show and then had his writer A.D. Miles confront them in character as the unexpectedly popular Barb. Now he’s been one-upped by Chelsea Handler.
In an episode of Chelsea set to stream on Netflix early Wednesday morning, Handler welcomed three of the four kids: Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas). Following a brief discussion about whether the Barb character will be returning for the show’s second season, and the general meaning of the word “justice,” Handler let her secret slip.
Since it is Matarazzo’s 14th birthday on Thursday, Handler said she wanted to give him a special present. “I want to let you know that Barb is actually alive and well and she’s here today and she’s going to come out,” the host said. “And her name is Shannon Purser.” The kids seemed genuinely surprised as the teenage actor emerged from backstage with a cake.
Purser, who had never acted in anything before taking the internet by storm in Stranger Things, told Handler that her rise to meme-status was “totally unexpected.” She added, “I didn’t think anyone would care and they did. And it’s been awesome.” Handler then promptly ruined the sentimental moment by pushing a new hashtag: #BarbLivesMatter.