Tag Archives: youtube

Dan & Phil Fandom Inside Jokes


This piece is about an incident-turned-meme that is widely known inside the Dan & Phil fandom about Phil falling off a stage.

Main Piece:

“L: This is a thing everyone in the Dan & Phil fandom know about. On their most recent tour, Interactive Introverts, their first or second night – one of the first few nights, Phil one of the two main people, fell off the stage and into the audience. Someone saw it and now there are jokes about it and everyone knows about it. Like someone turned it into a Valentine’s Day card.

M: They made memes about it?

L: Yeah, like “i’ve fallen for you like Phil fell off the stage.” Like that kind of thing.”


The informant is a 13 year old girl who is part of a Youtuber fandom for the youtubers Dan and Phil. She regularly keeps up with their videos and social media posts. She even went to their latest tour and bought their merchandise. She has kept up with inside jokes in the fandom, such as this, that have become memes that only those in the fandom understand. She has stated her affinity for the pair comes from their approach to comedy and reliability.


This type of obsession reminds me of obsessions with boybands like One Direction or even earlier boybands like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. When One Direction was in their hayday, it was common for fans to have inside jokes about the specific members. The informant’s affinity for Phil over Dan also reminded me of this aspect of fandoms as well. It is common for a fan to prefer one member of a band over the others and almost “claim” them as theirs. This is more common in fandoms surrounding boybands or other musical groups than comedy groups. The fact that memes have been created from one specific moment and have lasted for awhile show how powerful the fandom can be.


3:00 AM Challenge

Instructor: Can you guys think of any legends or ghost stories that you learned at home or from friends?

(There were multiple responses from varying students, however this post focuses on a single student’s response)


Daisy*: “Does the 3 AM challenge count?”

Instructor: “well, that depends. What is the 3 AM challenge?”

Daisy*:  “It’s a youtube challenge. You have to stay up all night long, until three in the morning. And then you do normal things and they get weird, like, the lights turn off, or you get chills. Lots of people do it and make a youtube video of it”

Instructor: “Have you done the 3 AM challenge?”

Daisy*: “I did it with my cousin. It was hard to stay awake, but at 3 AM we went to make food, and my cousin went and cracked the eggs and he came back and told me that one of the eggs turned black when he cracked it, and at 3:01 it was back to normal.”

Instructor: “Why do you have to do it at 3 AM?”

Daisy*: “I think it’s because that’s when the devil comes out at night. So he is the one that makes all of the bad things happen.”


This challenge is one of many that have cropped up among young youtube users and on other social media platforms over the past 5-10 years. However, this one is unique because it’s focused on a paranormal occurrence, rather than some sort of physical challenge (ie; the cinnamon challenge). All of the students in the class were seemingly aware of what this was, and many of them had varying accounts of either participating in the challenge or knowing someone who did. A quick youtube search under “3 AM Challenge” yielded an astounding 144,000,000 results, the most popular of which were centered about themes of demonic possession, and paranormal sightings at 3 AM. While the reasoning behind the precise time of the activity remains unclear, it is evident that many believe that it has a demonic of dark influence. There is no evidence that 3 AM has any significance in the bible or any other major religious text, however this seems to be a more recent adaptation of the concept of “the witching hour” which has historically taken place at midnight. What is most interesting is that even though this challenge seems rather frightening, none of the students seemed afraid of it, and most were boasting about how it “Wasn’t that scary”.


* The informant is a minor and was a participant in the JEP Program at USC. Daisy* is an alias to protect the student’s privacy.

MLG Remixes

The informant is a 19-year old college student.


BW: An MLG Remix is hard to explain.. It’s like,, making fun of the culture of like middle schoolers on Xbox Live, and everything around that. There are these gaming channels on Youtube that celebrate the highlights in a game of Call of Duty or Battlefield or something–usually CoD, and then set it to Dubstep music. MLG Remixes make fun of that by adding lots of really loud dubstep, a bunch of songs piled on top each other ’till you can’t even hear them… and also a bunch of other symbols and reoccurring.. “motifs” you can call them. Like Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Snoop Dogg, smoking weed–they usually all show up in these MLG Remix videos. They’re meant to be funny too, like over-the-top, hyper-crazy, ironic.

What does MLG stand for?

BW: Major League Gaming. That’s the whole crowd that they make fun of, because they’re so serious about video games.


Various MLG Remixes:


And his name is John Cena


John Cena is a well-known WWE wrestler and Hollywood actor. In 2012, a prank call aired on a local radio station (“Z morning Zoo”) where the DJs repeatedly played a sound clip advertising John Cena’s wrestling career to a wife who was fed up with her husband’s obsession with WWE wrestling. Two years later (2014), the channel “RuinCommentsOfficial” uploaded a recording of the prank call to YouTube which gained over 20 million views. Another year after that (2015), the sound clip from the video resurfaced as a popular meme on on Vine, an internet platform where users can post 6 second video clips. Several other websites, such as Reddit and Tumblr, also contributed to this trend. Since then, hundreds of thousands of versions of the John Cena clip have appeared across the internet.


The sound clip from the radio station prank call and a video of John Cena will pop up in the middle of a video which was seemingly about something unrelated to John Cena and WWE wrestling. There is usually no connection between the interrupted video and John Cena. Occasionally, the John Cena audio clip is mixed with a preexisting video meme.


The prank call video that the meme originated from:

A compilation of John Cena vine:


Far more people participated in the spreading of the John Cena meme than actually watch WWE wrestling or are fans of John Cena, so there was a reason people were drawn to this folklore than actually had a personal investment in the subject matter. However, because of the way the meme originated, internet users were able to adapt the collective internet “inside joke” of the John Cena audio clip to fit into any other type of video that may interest them. Therefore, every person who came across the John Cena meme could contribute their own take on the joke and no one needed to even know who John Cena really was to join in on the laughter feel connected to the internet community.

Getting “Rick Rolled”

On sites like YouTube, it has been customary to “Rick Roll” someone who is looking for specific content/video. Often, when someone is searching for something of interest online, it is common to click on a seemingly relevant link to instead find the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up” playing. Even though this prank is harmless, it tends to be incredibly frustrating for its victims, as they are left feeling deceived and without whatever it is they were looking for. For the pranksters who are uploading these videos intentionally, this prank is quite entertaining because it allows them to feel that they have tricked a complete stranger.

The informant, Ian, is a 21-year-old university student who considers himself a gamer and internet enthusiast. He was first introduced to this phenomenon in the 9th grade after attempting to find a video he had been looking for on YouTube. He admits that while it can be frustrating to fall victim to it, it is still highly entertaining because it is so unexpected. He also enjoys how silly the video seems compared to today’s music videos. To him, the trend is interesting because it represents the randomness of and complete lack of control over the internet.

This phenomenon is fascinating because of its unpredictable nature. In American society, people tend to value completely understanding their actions and being able to predict their consequences. It is because of this that these videos are so disconcerting. We are so used to being able to easily find what we are looking for that it is genuinely surprising when something completely irrelevant shows up instead.

The relevant video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

Creationist Cat

While conversing with an informant about cyberlore, internet cats, cat videos, and the like, she told me about “Creationist Cat,” so I asked her to elaborate in an interview.

Informant: “There’s this thing on the Internet called ‘creationist cat,’ and it’s sort of a parody of creationist ideals… I watched the videos all the time ‘cus I think they’re entertaining and funny. And… usually he does sort of like, parodies… the cat is actually, like, made to talk, and he does parodies of like the most, sort of, extreme and irrational creationist ideals, but it’s satire. He’s acting like he really believes in it, um and, I don’t know like one example is, he did a TED talk, or a ‘TED’ talk – not obviously a real one – about how Noah’s ark was real and he goes on about how like he can talk to other animals and they all vouched for it and it was actually a real thing that actually happened and, yeah it was really funny.”

Collector: “So why do you think that the creator of the cat videos is doing this, like, what’s the point?”

Informant: “Um, I think mostly for entertainment, but I also think it’s maybe rooted in, like a desire to illegitimize that whole theory of thought, you know, like making it seem silly so that people who are creationist might be like, ‘oh, this is actually silly.’ OR just for the entertainment of people who already reject that entire mass of ideology.”

Collector: “Yeah, and who did you learn about these cat videos from?

Informant: “Um, I think it was on like suggested, like, ‘what to watch’ on YouTube, you know like a suggestion and I saw one video and I started like, looking for more content from this, because I thought that it was just, really funny”

Collector: “What is your personal opinion on the topic?”

Informant: “Um, I don’t know, I just like cats in general, but it sort of makes it even funnier what he’s trying to do, ‘cus if it was just some person doing it, it would seem more hateful, but since it’s a cat, it makes it… I don’t know, it like softens the blow, almost? Yeah, so I mean, um, that’s probably I don’t know, that’s probably why I like it so much”

Collector: “Haven’t cat videos been made before?”

Informant: “I think it’s a play off of that… ‘cus like cat videos and like, cats are so related to the Internet, you know, I don’t know, they’re so big, and now… maybe just cause like cats are awesome, actually, I see it, when like you have someone who’s in the internet all the time, they’re a lot like a cat. Like, you know, like, very secluded, they’re sedentary, you know, they’re maybe not as friendly, so maybe that’s why they relate to cats so well. And that’s why they became such a big thing”

As almost any frequent visitor of meme sites and YouTube will tell you, cats are a big deal on the internet. Some people have gone beyond simple memes and videos, and used their computer skills to create more elaborate content, such as Creationist Cat. As evidenced by the informer’s experience, internet cats can be used for many purposes, including entertainment and political/religious commentary. Creationist Cat is a prime example of the combination of those two.

No Soap, Radio

The Joke:

“There were two elephants in a bathtub. One elephant said to the other, ‘Pass the soap.’ And the other elephant said, ‘No soap, radio!’”

The informant, a sophomore in high school and my sister, told me this joke. She says that she got it from watching a video on YouTube of user SuperMac18 when she was in seventh grade, in 2010. She says that she and a friend of hers went around telling this joke to their entire grade. The joke is that it doesn’t make any sense. The teller of the joke is supposed to tell it, then laugh and act like the person they tell it to is missing something. Some people pretend that they get it and laugh, as many of the informant’s young classmates did. When the informant told this to my mom and I, both of us were very confused while the informant chuckled to herself as if amused that we didn’t understand; she finally caved and told us the punch line—that there was none. Therefore, it is not merely a joke, but a practical joke. The telling of the joke is in essence a prank on the audience, until they are also brought in on the joke. Since my sister got this from a young YouTuber (at the time SuperMac18 was 15-year-old boy) and was in middle school, I believe that the purpose of telling this joke comes from an immature joy in others’ confusion. Young middle-schoolers tend to enjoy feeling superior to others, using some type of knowledge in order to do so.