Hello internet users! Today we’re going on a trip down memory lane in search of old web memes. So be careful, let’s get it right: what we’re going to talk about is “memes” in the primary sense of the term, namely images and phenomena that have spread and been replicated many times by doing evolve the culture of the web. Get your 56k modem and ballpoint mouse ready because this top is going to take you way back in time.
1. Le Oogachacka Baby (ou Dancing Baby) (1996)
Memes existed before the internet (yeah, it’s complicated, we won’t go into details), but the Oogachacka Baby is considered to be the first to have appeared on the web in 1996. It was just a 3D baby who performed a cha-cha movement developed by the creators of 3D software, and the trick was shared everywhere in the forums or by email. Little by little, he came out of the web and we found him on TV, in pubs and even in the series Ally McBeal where it was accompanied by the music of Blue Swede, Hooked on a Feeling. It is this version that gave it its definitive name and made it famous throughout the world. But only old people remember it.
2. It’s A Trap! (2002)
This is one of the very first “reaction picture” memes. He represents Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi who exclaims « It’s a trap! »that is ” It’s a trap ! » in French. The image became super popular in the early 2000s and people would post it when they smelled a trap or a scam on the web. In short, you know how this type of meme works, we don’t make it to you.
3. Afro Ninja (2005)
In 2004, a casting call was held to advertise Nike’s Air Force One shoes. Problem, one of the stuntmen cast, Mark Hicks, totally messed up his backflip and nunchaku movement sequence in front of the camera. The funny thing is that he was still hired for the ad. The least funny (for Mark) is that the video of his failure leaked on the internet and became a meme. A year later, the game Tekken 5 even advertised by reusing failed stunts from the cast of the Nike ad. It’s not nice to make fun, but there it’s impossible not to laugh.
4. Star Wars Kid (2003)
This is the funny and sad story of Ghyslain Raza, a 14-year-old Canadian who filmed himself impersonating a Jedi armed with a staff. The poor guy had forgotten the video in the recording studio and others had picked it up and then released it. A guy had added special effects and music, then the video went viral. The result was really great and has been hijacked ad infinitum, but the dark side (hehe) of the story is that Ghyslain took it very badly and got harassed for it. This is one of the first times we started talking about online harassment, and we must admit that it makes the joke much less funny. Moreover, 20 years later, Raza participates in a documentary which comes out this March 31 on the Star Wars Kid phenomenon and cyberbullying. Shouldn’t be bad.
5. Chocolate Rain (2007)
There, the story is much simpler: Tay Zonday, a 25-year-old American, released a song called Chocolate Rain in 2007 on YouTube, and the video went viral. But like hyper, hyper viral. We don’t know exactly why it was so popular, if it’s thanks to Tay’s deep voice, his particular look, his way of breathing next to the microphone, the repetitive piano melody or a little of all that at a time. Regardless, the video has been parodied thousands of times and remained one of YouTube’s most viewed for years. A big fat phenomenon.
6. Numa Numa Guy (2004)
It’s probably the best known, oldest and funniest lip sync in internet history. We owe it to Gary Brolsma, the American who decided to film himself doing playback on Love of the lindens of O-Zone. It’s all stupid, but it was enough to generate millions of views and shares. Brolsma was even entitled to his appearance in the clip of Pork and Beans of Weezer in the middle of many other phenomena of the beginnings of the Internet, and that is a great consecration.
7. Les Chuck Norris Facts (2005)
In the 2000s we knew how to have fun like crazy, and Chuck Norris allowed our imagination to express itself to infinity. The delirium – initiated by the comedy site Something Awful in 2005 – was to write facts about Chuck Norris to show how he was the strongest and manliest man in the universe. It gave stuff like: “One day Chuck Norris had a zero in Latin, since Latin is a dead language. », “The future sometimes wonders what Chuck Norris has in store for it. », “Chuck Norris can speak Braille” or “Chuck Norris does not lie, it is the truth that is wrong. ». Today it’s become a little corny, but at the time it really made us laugh.
8. Le Dramatic Chipmunk (2007)
We come to the very beginnings of YouTube with the Dramatic Chipmunk, a 5-second video of a prairie dog turning around while staring at the camera to dramatic music. Silly, but effective. The trick has been parodied thousands of times on YouTube, on TV, and in Gifs regularly accompanied by messages like in current memes. To think that this prairie dog was never aware of his success. It’s crazy.
9. (Bonus) The South Park episode with former YouTube stars
You should recognize a few memes from the Internet.