There’s a lot of funny stuff on the internet. The internet is well known for its sense of humour. But the internet is also really, really good at distilling things down to their bare essentials, as will no doubt be confirmed in a few years time when the internet is nothing but a collection of amusing sound effects and flashing images. That’s why… ah, let’s let Vox explain as they try to explain meme de jour “dat boi”:
Essentially, dat boi is funny because he’s random. For one, it’s a frog riding a unicycle. He’s also called a “boi,” which he is clearly not, but he can pull off the name because he just looks so damn calm and confident on that unicycle. And to top it off, everyone seems really excited to see him (“o shit waddup!”), even though there’s no reason to be that excited for a silly frog. So if you take dat boi and put him in other random situations, it’s hilarious.
If that still doesn’t make sense to you, consider how big of a role randomness plays in comedy. Some of the best-known jokes (“Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side!”) are effective because they play with our expectations to catch us off guard, and we deal with that with laughter. (Yeah, yeah. Vox just explained jokes. Whatever.) A frog on a unicycle called “dat boi” is just an extension of that.
But even if you don’t find any of this funny, it is clear that much of the internet does.
Sure, we may be out-of-touch losers who’ve read more articles explaining dat boi than we’ve seen people actually using it, but we sure do know our random comedy. And this is where it leads: a picture of a frog riding a unicycle.
To be honest, we’re fine with that. Random LOL stuff is just as valid a form of comedy as any other: our problem with it over the years has been the way most of the people getting up to it seem to think spending minutes at a time dicking around is a great way to entertain and amuse. Fuck that: next time you’re faced with a stand-up spouting a bunch of animal whimsy expecting to get laughs because he’s “maintained his childhood sense of wonder” or somesuch, just think of dat boi and how a bad drawing of a frog did the same thing so much better.
Then again, maybe we could have just said all this with an image too:
All of this is to say that dat boi represents the way human-to-human communication and even joke telling is changing. It’s no longer just about having a comedian stand on a stage and spill his routine, or gathering around the living room and making knock-knock jokes. Nowadays it’s okay to take a simple image and slap some text on it, and if it’s funny enough to a lot of young people, it just might become an enormous viral hit.
Oh shit waddup indeed.