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Bad Luck Brian: Over Night Internet Celebrity

Bad Luck Brian: Over Night Internet Celebrity
Katie Chaffee

The world that we live in today is often referred to as “The Information Era.”  Just 50 years ago the first computers were the size of a house, phones were attached by cords, and mail was written by hand. With technology advancing so rapidly, it’s crazy to think about all the technological breakthroughs I have experienced. I remember being introduced to dial-up internet, to my dad’s sweet car phone that was the size of a brick, and to Gameboy’s that allowed me to take my video games everywhere. Now we have laptops, iPads, iPods, smart phones, and thank god, the internet.  It’s amazing how far technology has come. According to inventor and author, Ray Kurzweil, “A kid in Africa with a smart phone has more access to information than the U.S. president had 15 years ago.” To save you a Google search, that president was Bill Clinton. And if smart phones were around back then, we probably would of found out about Monica Lewinsky a lot sooner. 

But that’s the world we live in now. We find out about everything instantly. Almost nothing can be kept secret. We have tools to connect us with anyone in the world within seconds. So when you upload a particularly funny or eye-catching video or picture, don’t be surprised when you wake up the next morning to find out that thousands, or even millions of people across the world know who you are. That’s what happened to Kyle, and this is how some (not so) bad luck, turned him into an internet celebrity.

Kyle is currently one of the internet’s most popular memes, Bad Luck Brian. For those of you who don’t know who Bad Luck Brian is or what a meme is, look it up. It took me approximately .16 to find the definition (thanks Google). Anyways, memes like Bad Luck Brian, Scumbag Steve, Overly Attached Girlfriend, and Berks Girl aka Ermahgerd (aka Kyle’s favorite meme) have been featured on the most popular internet sites; Imgur, Reddit, Buzzfeed, Twitter, Tumblr, Funny or Die, to name a few. In fact, Buzzfeed and Funny or Die both named Bad Luck Brian one of the most popular memes on the internet of 2012. Bad Luck Brian even has nearly 500,000 followers on Twitter, out-doing famous actors and comedians by thousands including; Aziz Ansari (actor, comedian from Parks and Recreation), Rob Schneider (actor, every Adam Sandler film), Colin Hanks (ya know, Tom Hanks son), and Adam Scott (actor, Parks and Recreation and Step Brothers). Okay, so these aren’t the most famous people in the world, but still, these people have been in show business for years and still can’t seem to rack up as many followers as a kid with an unfortunate yearbook photo. So what’s the deal? Well, I talked to the man himself to find out exactly how his internet fame begun.

About six years ago, Kyle put on his best plaid vest, combed his hair, and put on a big smile revealing a full-set of braces for his sophomore yearbook picture. Little did he know, shortly down the road, this photo would be seen by millions of people world-wide. But, there is one place that this photo cannot be found, and that is Kyle’s high school yearbook.  So why did this internet gold not make the yearbook one may ask? Well, I’ll have Kyle explain this for himself, “My principal at the time forced me to do retakes because she said that she would not allow me to look that bad in the yearbook. I did however get to scan the picture and put it on my Facebook. That is where my best bud, Ian, pulled the picture from the make Bad Luck Brian.”

Kyle and his friend Ian uploaded their first Quickmeme in January of 2012 with the caption “Takes driving test / gets first DUI”. It received less than 5 up votes on Reddit. Later that day, they tried again with another post,“Tries to stealthily fart in class /shits,” reaching the front page of the /r/adviceanimals subreddit receiving over 3,300 up votes in less than 2 months. From there on Kyle’s rejected yearbook photo became one of the most recognizable faces on the internet. Even gaining some “real-life” celebrity attention in New Orleans where he met actor, Seth Rogen. “I saw him at a taco bar in New Orleans. At first he didn’t know who I was until his buddy told him and pointed me out. I don’t get noticed that often normally, which is kinda nice,” says Kyle. However, he does receive some perks including a free Chipotle burrito from a worker who was a fan of his meme. Oddly enough he even has some impersonators, including a man in his 40′s from Germany who claims he is the real Bad Luck Brian. Luckily, Kyle has a good sense of humor about it,  “I think it’s pretty funny that people would claim to be Bad Luck Brian. Wouldn’t you claim to be someone better if you could, not a kid who has horrible things happen to him?”

Overall, Kyle is a pretty normal guy. He enjoys watching police videos such as Cops or Campus PD, claiming, “People are so dumb and after you watch a few clip it really makes you feel good about yourself.” A native of Northeastern Ohio, Kyle supports his hometown with his favorite band being The Black Keys, and favorite beer, Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Kyle is living proof of a small-town guy from Ohio turned world-wide internet celebrity. Guess he doesn’t have that bad of luck after all, however; Kyle admits “I had to pay $32 bucks for a t shirt with my own face on it.” With all this internet fame it’s hard to believe he can’t use it to his advantage more often. When asked if he ever uses his famous meme to impress the ladies he responded,”Nope. I’ve been off of the dating scene for a while now.” Guess the bad luck’s on us, ladies.

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