This Week’s Internet Thing: Rickrolling


To the list of inexplicable web phenomena that spring up—only to disappear just as quickly—that includes severely grammar-impaired felines and some truly awful doings involving two girls and one cup, you can now add Rick Astley.

Astley, 80′s one hit wonder of British soul, has lately been used as a punchline for a particular web joke called Rickrolling, wherein a disguised link sends unsuspecting web surfers down the blandly soul-inflected rabbit hole of his 1987 Lite-FM staple "Never Gonna Give You Up."

An article in Monday’s New York Times addressed the trend via a YouTube video of a public Rickroll that Mediabistro’s FishbowlNY insists is a fake. (A prank in an article about a prank! Is it April Fools’ Day yet?) After musing about Rickrolling–"Rickrolling is a descendant of an older Internet joke called duckrolling. A Web site or blog post would offer a link to something popular — say celebrity photos or video gaming news — that led unsuspecting viewers to a bizarre image of a duck on wheels"—the Times‘ Evelyn Nussenbaum, writes, "It is not clear what Mr. Astley himself thinks about rickrolling."

After a long day’s wait, readers of The Los Angeles Times‘ Web Scout blog now know just what Mr. Astley thinks about his namesake prank: "I just think it’s bizarre and funny," the surprisingly good humored singer told the Web Scout. "I think it’s just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it… But that’s what brilliant about the Internet." Yes, brilliant. Until the next thing.