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An Experiment In Meme

So recently, I came across a new meme called "The Surprise Cena".  The set up is basically the video starts and then at some point it smash cuts to a guy yelling "JOHN CENA!!!" and Cena's intro video.  It's basic, visceral reaction type stuff and it works on a level of a jump scare, but to induce laughter rather than fear.  Pretty straightforward subverting the audience's expectations style of humor.  This is why most videos in this meme are on Vine, because the 6-second format works perfectly with this type of punchline.

I also happened to come across this meme the day before the 20th Anniversary of the theatrical release of The Usual Suspects.  Stop me if you know where this is going:

I had the idea at work, and even though I thought it would get taken down, I knew this had to happen.  It was hilarious in my head!  But then a) The dialogue didn't really play out the way I'd remembered it, b) It took a day and a half to try and make the stupid thing (allowing for sleep and having to work again) and c) I could only get the first 30 seconds of dialogue to sort-of match up, and the punchline.  The rest of the video is like a bad kung-fu dub, and I don't know why.  After 30 seconds of almost working, you can actually watch the sync get further and further off the mark.  The raw audio from the video was already off, anJOHN CENAAAAA!!!!!

Anyway, there's a few reasons that my video doesn't really work as humor.  First, if you're not at all familiar with the John Cena meme, you get to the punchline, the video ends, and all you can do is go "Wait, what?"  You're too confused to laugh.  With the Vine video, even if you don't know the joke going in, the shock is so quick you can't even establish what emotion you're feeling and you're natural response is confused laughter.  With The Usual Suspects clip, it takes a minute and a half to get there, either thinking you're going to get a new ending to a movie that already had a famous one or being internet savvy and suspecting you're about to be trolled.  If you're not expecting it, the John Cena blast shifts the tone so abruptly it leaves you disappointed.

If one is familiar with the John Cena meme going in, they're going to be disappointed as well, because holy SHIT is ninety seconds an eternity compared to six.  You get your hopes up that the build will make it more epic or whatever, and it falls like a wet fart down a trouser leg.  (I mean, maybe I'm being a little to harsh on my own video.  Go watch this, then watch the first one again.  It ends up being funnier than I expected.)

All in all, it was an interesting experiment, if not for how Universal decided to handle the obvious copyright issue.  You see, I don't put ads on any of my videos, but you'll notice a pop up and perhaps even a 15 second ad beforehand.  That's because Universal agreed to let me use the clip in exchange for any monetization it could generate.  THIS IS HOW MEDIA COMPANIES SHOULD'VE DONE BUSINESS WITH THE INTERNET FROM THE START.  We promote their shit, they get the money.  DUH!  So my account didn't get shut down, I didn't have to take the video down, and Universal gets their money's worth out of the (as of writing this) 20 plays this video has generated.  All in all a win-win.

(Curious side-note: In February, I posted a track called "Absolutely Excruciating".  The original song was called "Seizure Inducer" and was 487bpm.  I then slowed it down in 2005 to 45bpm and called it "Excruciating".  I then slowed it down to over five hours in length and called it "Absolutely Excruciating".  Still with me?  Good.  Because there's A COPYRIGHT CLAIM AGAINST A SECTION TWO HOURS AND TWENTY FOUR MINUTES into this slab of randomly generated noise.  It's only over a 30 second clip.  I'll be honest, I never even listened to that part of the "song" before and I made it exist, so...I don't even know what to tell ya.)

The other point I'd like to touch on is: How am I supposed to generate plays for something like this? I mean, shit, I'm technically still a college student; I should be more hip than this.  I should KNOW, man!  But I don't.  Something I post usually gets about six people genuinely interested and four others curious.  Most of the 300+ videos I've uploaded to Youtube only have five views or less.  I'm not saying it hurts, that's just what the numbers are.  And that I have no idea how to bump them up.  The hottest this blog has ever been was...(research;research;research) oh yeah.  The Wrestling Tournament.  By a LANDSLIDE.  The rest is usually about music.  And my videos that don't...have...views are....

Well, in that fuckin' caseJOHN CENAAAA!!!!! (Doo do do dooooooo!)


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