'Bad Luck Brian' meme brings in a big paycheck
Remember that unfortunate looking kid whose awkward yearbook photo became an internet sensation? Well, he's laughing his way to the bank.
If you've been on the internet in the last three years, you're probably familiar with Bad Luck Brian. His ugly red plaid sweater, goofy metallic smile, and squinty eyes inspired unfortunate memes like "Gets first kiss ... mono," "Receives note from crush ... restraining order," and "Plans his own birthday party ... still not invited."
While the memes may seem mean spirited, Bad Luck Brian is actually in on the joke. In an article published in the Washington Post, Kyle Craven (the real name of Bad Luck Brian) details how the school portrait was always intended to be funny. The self-described "class clown" says he went to a thrift store to find the perfect sweater, and rubbed his face to make it as red as possible just before taking the 2005-2006 yearbook photo.
The then-sixteen year old and his friends thought the portrait came out perfect, but his high school principal didn't agree and she made him retake it.
Then in January 2012, a friend of Kyle's called to inform him that he uploaded a meme to Reddit featuring the original photo renaming him Brian. He added the caption, "Takes driving test... gets first DUI."
The meme went viral and Kyle became internet famous. Bad Luck Brian inspired millions to share and create their own renditions of posts.
Kyle appeared on blogs, advertisements, t-shirts sold at Walmart and Hot Topic. There were Bad Luck Brian stuffed animals, Bad Luck Brian paperweights. He even appeared as Bad Luck Brian in YouTube videos. He claims to have made nearly $20,000 off of the meme, which may not be enough money to live off of, but not bad considering his only cost was an ugly thrift store sweater.
In the years since the meme first took off, Bad Luck Brian's popularity has waned and Kyle has started working as a project manager for church construction. However, it's important to note in the world of viral internet content, years of success is a rarity ... so Bad Luck Brian is really anything but bad luck.
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