Oh, Rickrolling. Just when we think we can give you up, you prove to us, time and time again, that you will never let us down. That said, we feel we may have officially finally witnessed the inevitable climax to the decades-long meme.
It began yesterday, when Rick Astley (who, of all people, apparently has his own very charming Reddit account) shared a behind-the-scenes photo on the site from his first tour back in 1989. “I’ve found a few funny memories during lockdown,” he captioned alongside the image of an extremely baby-faced Astley riding around on a bike backstage before a show in Las Vegas.
Sure, it’s a cute picture of a musician taken amidst a massive (if brief) success, decades before a notoriously toxic message board would reanimate his career via a surreal bait-and-switch gag meme. But is that sentence we just typed as weird as it possibly could be? The answer, unsurprisingly, is “Hell no.” What if someone pulled an Inception-like meme heist and replied to Astley’s post with a Rickroll of their own?
“I think I might cry!!! It’s actually you. I met you at a backstage even when I was 12. Seriously a big fan. I’ve seen you in concert five times,” wrote u/theMalleableDuck while linking out to a clip of “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Reddit proceeded to predictably melt down over the post, with even Astley appearing to at least begrudgingly appreciate it, since he replied with a simple clap emoji. And, lo, internet history was made, as this appears, at least from our recollection, to be the first documented case of Rick Astley getting himself Rickrolled.
Yes, it’s an amusing shenanigan. And sure, we need all the levity we can get these days. But, we can’t help but wonder—in rolling Rick himself, are we upsetting the balance of the universe? Has a meme finally become so dense, so meta, that it will soon collapse in on itself like some utterly inane black hole?
We’ve reached the event horizon of memes, people. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
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