Entertainment

Man behind Blinking White Guy meme on ‘scary’ side of viral fame

Drew Scanlon insists he’s only been recognised once (Picture: Twitter)

If you’ve ever wanted to show off your total shock and surprise at something, we can only imagine you’ve turned to the Blinking White Guy meme.

The gif, which shows a man in a blue shirt blink and shoot a double-take of disbelief, has got to be one of the most popular reaction memes out there.

It stems from a 2013 episode of GiantBomb series Unprofessional Fridays where Drew Scanlon’s incredulous reaction to Jeff Gerstmann saying ‘farming with my hoe’ while playing Starbound was captured and, thus, immortalised online forever.

Speaking on Radio 1 to Scott Mills and Chris Stark this afternoon, Drew reflected on viral fame and insisted ‘memes are real people. I am real’.

Asked whether he whips out his own meme from time to time, Drew said: ‘I don’t really. My friends love to send it to me, cause they think it’s funny’, however he felt using his own meme is ‘a little uncool’, and ‘a little like the band wearing their own T-shirt’.

Noted.

Sharing he wasn’t sure why it took several years for his reaction to go viral, after the meme first gained traction in 2017, he went on to add he seldom gets recognised on the street because of it.

Which makes us go a little like:

White Guy Blinking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

He said: ‘A lot of people don’t realise it’s me. I think I look pretty different now. That was eight years ago.

‘I’ve actually only been recognised one time because of the meme. I think number one, I look different and number two, I don’t think people expect memes to be real.’

In the years that have passed Drew has grown a beard and his blond hair is now longer than in his famous gif.

Still, while he can go to the shops without being mobbed by hoards of people furiously blinking at him, the online star concedes viral fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and he spends his time trying to remain on the good side of the internet because of it.

On the downsides to becoming a meme, albeit a fairly innocent and sincerely-used one, he said: ‘You have no control over it. It can be a little scary when you realise how big the internet is.

‘It’s your face, it’s kinda your identity, it’s a little strange not to have control over it, but I feel like if you’re cool that helps the internet not want to turn on you. So that’s what I try to do.’

Upside?

‘It showed up on The Daily Show here in the US. The director Ava DuVernay [also] used it, which was amazing.’

Double downside: ‘It will not die.’


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