On May 5 2021, video of purported traffic reporter Anavid Reyes “having a meltdown” on live television appeared on Reddit’s r/funny:
That post (“This traffic reporter has a meltdown and show how ridiculous his job really is”) did not indicate whether it was supposed to be considered real or part of a bit. The post had a link to a February 2021 YouTube video by user John Crist (johnbcrist), with more than a million views (a million more on Facebook Watch) and the following brief description:
mans said he just checks google maps and reports that lol
Top comments referenced elements of the video, including “Anavid Reyes” objecting to the pronunciation of their name on live television, and the individual seen in the video largely discounting the value of live traffic segments on broadcast TV:
“I bet many real reporters want to say stuff like this when out on assignment.”
“This is the same reporter that melted down when it was snowing lolol”
“How to say I quit, without actually staying I quit lol”
“This guy should be an investigative journalist. Then for once we’d get actual news instead of propaganda”
“This guy is literally trying to give his position away to GPS. He making his job obsolete ????”
“I’m dying. This is hysterical. Then the news desk guy mispronounces poor man’s name again. I’d watch this guy everyday.”
One of the comments observed that the man was “the same reporter” who had “melted down when it was snowing.” On the same YouTube channel, a November 2020 video with five million views was titled “Weather Man MELTS down on live TV”; a description read:
Weatherman loses it and questions his whole existence and life while waiting outside in the snow just to get a live shot of snow.
A description for Crist’s YouTube channel explained:
Honestly where have you BEEN?? Welcome to the official YouTube home of standup comedian John Crist, featuring weekly sketches uploads, Crist’s new show One Take, and of course award winning standup comedy! Good times guaranteed.
Anavid Reyes is the real name of a real traffic correspondent for a real news station, Houston-area news station KPRC. Reyes is a woman who bears absolutely no resemblance to the character Crist plays in the video; she uploaded a photograph of herself on set to Instagram in April 2021:
The videos clearly featured the same “correspondent” — Crist doing a bit. In the videos, Crist uses real regional news footage, splicing his “segments” into banter between anchors. That made his clips at least reasonably plausible to anyone outside the area. Viewers of the network whose footage was used might visually recognize Reyes, but people outside that area might not.
Although Anavid Reyes was real, the segment titled “Traffic Reporter Melts Down on Live TV” was not — it was the work of YouTube comedian John Crist. Crist’s YouTube descriptions on the videos were (likely deliberately) vague enough to allow for misunderstanding — and the unflaired post to r/funny illustrated how the clip was more engaging when viewed as possibly “real.”