A new “mockumentary” has appeared on YouTube titled “The Bunny Hole”. It is a web series in the style of Reno 911 and features a cast of Broadway and TV veterans.
Created by Tony Award-winning producer Ken Davenport (Kinky Boots) the mockumentary web series is about a struggling brothel in Pahrump, Nevada. The show was shot entirely on location in Pahrump. The Bunny Hole has earned accolades at the IndieFest Film Awards, the Orlando Film Festival, the LA Indie Film Festival and more.
Whenever a show of this nature comes out you must wonder what the motivation of the person is who made it. In this case, the producer and creator states he was a huge fan of Reno 911 and the HBO Series Cathouse (starring Dennis Hof) and wanted to create something that was a merger of the two. Out of that idea he created The Bunny Hole. I was never a fan of Reno 911 because of the way it mocked the Reno Sheriff’s Office and Reno in general and for the same reason I am not a fan of this show.
In the mockumentary, scenes of Pahrump are shown that are bad for our reputation and image because they show the worst of our area. The beginning of each video shows images of residences covered with trash and junk, business signs, a religious sign about adultery, our “Welcome to Pahrump” sign, and flashes of the desert landscape are displayed.
Each segment in the series is short, lasting only about two minutes. There are twelve total videos, each one focusing around the events and the girls at the brothel. They are “over the top” in their tasteless humor and are satirical in nature in each segment. The segments are purposely so stupid that there is no way to mistake them for any sort of actual documentary of the brothel industry.
Nevertheless, it reflects poorly on our area. It very inaccurately portrays both Pahrump and the brothel industry. It is not publicity that Pahrump or the brothel industry needs or wants. The brothel industry is best served by maintaining a low profile. They are here and in other areas of rural Nevada partly because they keep that low profile.
It has become more and more difficult in recent years for the brothel industry to stay “under the radar” because local brothel owner Dennis Hof is very vocal about promoting the industry. Billboards, news bulletins, and other press bring a high profile not only to him and his brothels but to the entire brothel industry.
Talk to most local residents and for the most part, they don’t care if the brothels are here and they wouldn’t care if they weren’t here. But when they start seeing brothels in the newspaper, the national press, and now mockumentaries such as “The Bunny Hole” they start to question if they are worth having in our community because of the negative publicity. High profile brothel owners and lots of press just compound the problem. If they stay in the background most people just forget about them or choose to ignore that the brothels are even here.
In the opening segments before the scenes at the brothel you are given the immediate impression that Pahrump is just an ugly, scummy place to live. Yes, it’s meant to be off-color humor but I wonder if we went to the producer’s home area and created a mockumentary about it, if they would find humor in that too?
I would guess not. To be honest, there are some things in Pahrump that do look bad and that does make it easier for outsiders to belittle us on the Internet. And once on the internet, it’s always on the internet!
The Reno area survived Reno 911 and they did it with positive marketing campaigns portraying the best of the area which is exactly what our community has been trying to do here. If you look beyond the less-than-attractive problem areas you find a nice, easy going, independent community that is a great place to live.
We will survive “The Bunny Hole” mockumentary just like we have survived other attacks on our area’s reputation but this type of negative publicity sets back the effort to improve people’s perception of Pahrump. We need to keep moving forward with the positives!
Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org