Last night on Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions, the cream of the crop gathered to test their mental prowess and buzzer-pressing reflexes against their fellow peers, the best of the best. Alex Trebek knew that the questions (technically: “answers”) had to be tough, and he and his elite team pulled facts and tidbits from the farthest corners of the knowledgescape.
That’s how we ended up with this:
Long ago, when you, dear reader, were just a twinkle in your mother’s eye, this arcane text was the pinnacle of internet humor. It was known simply as the Rickroll, and you never knew when it would strike. The text comes from the chorus of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The primary objective in this never-ending game was to post a hyperlink masking the song’s music video, and then trick people into clicking on the link. Following a link only to be greeted with the opening drumbeats of this catchy ditty conjured up feelings of intense failure and shame.
Now there are many hyperlinks that make you feel bad online. A decade ago, there was only one. Mr. Trebek executed a successful variant known as a “live Rickroll,” (see also: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2008) which clearly stunned the audience into laughter, but did not phase contestant Buzzy Cohen, a guy who looks like he’s clearly spent some time on Reddit.