Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Get to know the man behind one of the COVID era’s raunchiest memes
Screenshot: Vice (YouTube)

With so many of us trapped indoors recently, it’s not surprising that the past few months have seen a deluge of new memes. The biggest is undoubtedly “Wood Sitting on a Bed,” which, whether or intentionally or not, you’ve probably seen by this point. It’s been employed in all manner of bait-and-switch trolling posts, most often in the form of fake, coronavirus-related Fox News links.

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But just who is this mystery Wood? On Wednesday, Vice released a short YouTube documentary uncovering the man behind one of the COVID era’s raunchiest memes. And, like pretty much everything on the internet, its backstory is kind of a bummer.

As the investigation reveals, the man behind “Wood Sitting on a Bed” was Wardy “The Wood” Joubert III, who unfortunately passed away from a heart attack in 2016. Interviews with friends and family describe him as a devout churchgoer who donated a large portion of his time, money, and energy to charity work and youth football mentoring.

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Joubert also intermittently experienced financial difficulties, which in 2010 led to him doing a nude photoshoot for Walter Smith, a mutual friend at his gym who incidentally owned a website specializing in “gay daddy bear” photography. That was that, until about four years later when the image found its way onto Reddit and 4chan and took on a life its own.

“Those photos weren’t even who Wardy really was,” his stepmother recounts to Vice. His pastor, meanwhile, remembers him as a church deacon who “didn’t thump the Bible, didn’t throw the Bible. He lived the Bible.”

“You can’t reduce any of us to one thing. So you can’t reduce him to this picture, at all,” adds Smith.

Since the public reveal of his identity, a GoFundMe page dedicated to covering the costs of Joubert’s funeral arrangements has been inundated with donations from fans of the meme, many of whom thank him for providing a smile during an otherwise super screwed-up time.

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).

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