In the last 10 years, the internet has seen viral videos, popular memes and trending challenges. While some remained popular on the web for months, others have had long lifespans, but still managed to pass right over our heads. One you may have missed is rickrolling. Never fear, Parentology is here to enlighten you.
The Origins of Rickrolling
Before rickrolling, first came an egg, then a duck. According to the website Today I Found Out, the founder of 4chan message board, Christopher Poole, programed a prank on the site. Whenever a user wrote the word egg, it would autocorrect to duck. In 2006, the meme of a duck on wheels made its appearance, sealing the moniker of Poole’s prank as: duckrolling.
Fast-forward to 2007, when another 4chan prankster decided Rick Astley’s 1987 hit single “Never Gonna Give You Up” was perfect fodder for an online prank. Rickrolling was born.
Before we go any further… If you haven’t seen the infamous video, here’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”:
In May 2007, an anonymous 4chan user posted a link to the site claiming it was to a trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV. Instead, link clickers were sent to Astley’s catchy music video, replete with horrible dance moves.
Rickrolling became a go-to for internet trolls who love a good joke that’s pure, innocent fun. Some people have even been rickrolled on camera. From reporters to news anchors, no one has been safe. Even Rick Astley…
When Astley began receiving video links that sent him to “Never Gonna Give You Up,” he was perplexed. His daughter Emilie eventually clued him in.
Astley’s reaction, as reported by Today I Found Out, “I always liken it to when people look through their photo albums or home videos from 20 years ago and think, Gosh, did I really wear that? The difference is, thankfully on the one hand and perhaps a bit scarily on the other, mine are out there for the public to see whenever they want. I find some Rickrolls really funny. Have you seen the one with President Barack Obama? Someone has cut up his speeches and put them together so that he sings “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It’s totally amazing. I find it bonkers, by the way!
Then Astley got in on the fun. At the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he interrupted a performance by characters from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.