Bad Luck Brian Meme

Posted by Memetics Researcher on

The Origin of "Bad Luck Brian" and What He Looks Like Today

You know him. He’s awkward. He’s eager. He messes everything up.

He’s Bad Luck Brian.

But where did he come from? Who is Bad Luck Brian?

This is a real yearbook photo of a real guy. Ian Davies used a yearbook photo of his friend Kyle Craven, captioned it with “Takes driving test … gets first DUI,” and submitted it on Reddit on January 23, 2012. That first pic only got five upvotes, but another meme of the image was posted later that day with the caption, “Tries to stealthily fart in class … s**ts,” and would you know it? That’s what made the meme blow up.

That image gained more than 3,300 upvotes in less than two months. And thus, a meme was born.

From that day forward, the meme was everywhere. After becoming super popular on Reddit, it was picked up by sites like 9gag and Pinterest. Pretty soon, it was featured in collections on BuzzFeed, Funny or Die, Tumblr, and Facebook.

On April 11, 2012, a Reddit user claiming to be Bad Luck Brian tried to do an AMA in the Ask Me Anything subreddit, but the thread was removed, the moderator explaining that AMAs “should focus on something uncommon that plays a central role in your life or a truly unique or interesting event.” Apparently, becoming a hugely popular meme didn’t count. People were mad, understandably. The moderator’s explanation amassed more than 35,000 downvotes, nearly the most in Reddit history.

So, on May 8, the Redditor came back with an AMA on a different subreddit. In the thread, Kyle revealed his identity and explained that the photo was taken as his seventh-grade school photo, but the principal made him take it over again because she thought Kyle was making that silly face on purpose. (He was.)

In the AMA thread, Kyle relayed several stories about his relatively good luck, suggesting his life wasn’t at all like Bad Luck Brian’s. He explained how he once won and XBox 360 and a PSP within two weeks and actor Seth Rogen actually recognized him from the meme!

So what does Bad Luck Brian look like these days? He looks a little something like this:

In 2015, The Washington post caught up with Kyle. He is a project manager at his dad’s construction company, which builds churches. Bad Luck Brian is still used for the occasional ad campaign, and Kyle negotiates the deals himself. He estimates that he’s made between $15,000 and $20,000 from the meme, which he says is “not bad for doing basically nothing.”

It’s not something that consumes his life the way it used to, but Bad Luck Brian is still a classic, and clearly, it’s here to stay.

So there you have it! Bad Luck Brian is actually named Kyle, and unlike the meme of himself, he has pretty good luck. Who’d a thunk?


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