On a typical February day, Paul Vile would wake up at 4 a.m. to go to his job as a bricklayer, leave work about 12 hours later, and then maybe hit the gym before winding down for the night.
Thanks to the Eagles, it’s been far from a normal February for Vile — also known as the Jelloman.
Jello shots and slingshot in tow, Vile showed up at the post-NFC Championship celebration on Broad Street, surfing the crowd while launching the shots at the people below him. The crowd, which was already going wild, went even more wild, and footage of the fun spread across social media, from TikTok to Twitter and beyond.
Since then, the Jelloman’s been flooded with invites.
Between prepping 4,000 green jello shots, booking the gigs where he’ll distribute them, and fielding media requests, his pre-Super Bowl week is jam packed.
“I’m just kind of like, in a daze just trying to get these jello shots together,” Vile told Billy Penn, adding that he had to take time off from regular work to handle it all.
Jello-slinging is usually more of a summer thing for Vile, who is the brother of Kurt Vile and a known quantity on the music scene himself. He’s also the subject of a documentary that’s been in production since 2017. His “jello-related activities” date back to 2008 or 2009, he said.
Things started with selling jello shots and t-shirts at music festivals. He made a name for himself gifting bands “murals” constructed of jello shots and duct tape atop 1-inch insulation slabs. He now gets invited to festivals, where he also sometimes crowd-surfs and tosses jello shots from the stage.
A few times a season, Vile sets up at Eagles games and launches jello shots off the roof of his van, he said — something he also did along the 2018 Super Bowl victory parade route.
When the Eagles made it to the NFC Championship, he made sure he was ready to take to Broad Street as soon as they won and guaranteed their spot.
The videos of him “jello-surfing” have since gotten hundreds of thousands of views, and the Eagles’ official TikTok account even commented on one of his posts. Vile’s younger brother did an illustration based on that comment and made it into a t-shirt — around 400 have so far been sold.
That viral crowd-surfing experience, Vile said, was “the ultimate time I’ve done it so far.”
Since his Broad Street moment, he’s booked two solid gigs — one of which is the pregame party at The Ave Live in Northern Liberties on Sunday — and plenty of other people have hit him up to ask for appearances or interviews. (Vile has also been trying to get Jason Kelce’s attention, hoping to do a bucket of green jello shots with him if the team wins.)
“Basically, I’m like a jello clown right now for this whole little run,” Vile said.
How do you even make 4,000 jello shots in one week? It’s a pretty involved endeavor.
According to Vile, the process requires:
- 4,000 1-ounce cups with lids
- 3 to 6 tables
- a vat with 30 gallons of boiling water (he uses the kind meant for crawfish boils)
- 10 five-gallon buckets
- 75 pounds of powdered jello mix
- 40 handles of vodka (a total of 70 liters)
Once the shots are made, they all get stored in Yeti coolers with ice, and carried to events.
If he’s using cheap vodka, it ends up costing around $700 to make a batch that big, Vile estimated.
Prepping that many shots would typically require about 8 hours of nonstop work. But this week, his process is stretching over 3 days since he’s been busy with planning for the events and fielding media requests — and trying to track down lime-flavored gelatin.
Vile usually buys his jello powder wholesale, but since he didn’t have enough green mix on hand, he’s had to visit six different Giant supermarkets to find all the supplies. He’d usually just take whatever flavors he has left for an event during his off-season, but this week, he’s committed to lime.
“I’ve been getting shit for not having green jello shots lately,” he said. “So at least for this run, I’m just going to spend.”
Vile didn’t say exactly what his plans are if Sunday’s outcome ends up being a happy one for the Eagles — more crowd-surfing and jello-slingshotting is certainly a possibility.
“It’s cool to see Philly get this experience again,” Vile said. “We were close with the Phillies, and you know, we had the Eagles a couple years ago win. Philly’s the most insane, awesome city ever … it’s just cool to see everybody get to throw it in everyone’s face again.”