RickRolling: 2007-2008

RickRolling, the popular Internet-based phenomenon that involved tricking people into viewing the video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” died a violent death last Thursday somewhere between 77th St and Herald Square in New York City. The horrific event was caught on tape by NBC cameramen, who were filming the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. RickRolling was approximately one year old.

Originally some bullshit weirdos on the Internet did to amuse each other, the practice of RickRolling began to bleed over into real life late last year. Astley’s hit inexplicably invaded college basketball games, Scientology protests, NPR, and various American television programs. Occasionally, these instances were punctuated by a Rick Astley imitator draped in traditional Astley garb (trench coat, black turtleneck). Astley himself was amused by the joke and initially decided he didn’t want to capitalize on the trend, preferring to let the jokers have their fun.

That changed Thursday morning, when Astley burst out of a parade float in midtown Manhattan and started lip-synching “Never Gonna Give You Up” to a crowd of stunned Turkey Day onlookers. Although the singer was interrupting a performance of “Best Friend” by the cast of “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends,” any element of surprise was ruined for home audiences by NBC emcee Matt Lauer, who warned viewers beforehand about “a special musical surprise.” Astley was also mentioned in the Parade’s opening credits.

With an awkward entrance and a pained look on his face, Rick Astley effectively murdered the phenomenon that bore his name in under one minute. RickRolling officially expired when some gross-looking puppet gleefully announced, “I love RickRolling!” right after “Never Gonna Give You Up” faded out. Ten minutes later, my mother called and asked if I’d ever heard of “RickyRolling.”

Reaction to the RickRoll’s death has been mixed.

“…[T]o Rickroll the Macy’s parade is a pretty inspired burial,” commented Flashman on AVClub.com.

“I was in my room watching YouTube when I hear coming outta a TV in a bedroom beside my room the ‘Rickrolling,'” said an obviously shell-shocked Roy999888 on Youtube.com. “I came over and as soon as I saw Rick I was like, ‘OMGWTFBBQHAXZORSLOL!'”

“I’m down with the Turkey Day RickRoll,” President-Elect Obama said early Monday morning while lifting weights on a hovercraft in a Shazam costume.

According to the RickRoll Wiki, at least 18 million adults in this country alone have been Rickrolled.

No one had RickRolling in the death pool.

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