Bottom Line: Rick Rolling is a message board spawned meme that combines the Internet’s love of musical comedy with the joy of getting one over on someone. Add to that the 1980s kitsch of Rick Astley and a meme is born.
Rickrolling is an Internet meme typically involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a web link that they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been “Rickrolled”.
As the practice has spread, two of the various Rickrolling videos available online have been viewed more than 39 million times combined. These figures track the total number of visits, not individual viewers. Rickrolling has extended beyond Web links to playing the video or song disruptively in other situations, including public places; this culminated when Astley and the song made a surprise appearance in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a televised event with tens of millions of viewers.
To send someone a link to 80s pop star Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video, making them believe that they’re gonna see something completely different. The meme originated in 4chan’s /v/ (videogame) board, when the official “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” trailer was coming out on the game’s website but couldn’t be watched due to heavy traffic. Playing a prank on everyone who was reading, an anonymous 4chaner said that the trailer was on YouTube and posted a link to Astley’s song. Since then, the Rick Roll has been made countless times, not only on 4chan but on the whole of the Internet.
Videos: Rick Roll
Pictures: Rick Roll
Video Search Results: 78,000 – 4.5
Photo Search Results: 79,100 – 4.5
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