For eight years, Steve Buscemi with a skateboard personifies celebrities and brands who want to speak the same language with young people.
February 16 marked the eight-year anniversary of How Do You Do, Fellow Kids. All these years, actor Steve Buscemi in a cap and with a skateboard in his hands personifies the absurd attempts of adults to marry their own in the company of young people. Another popular meme about generations, “ Okay Boomer, ” was forgotten after a few months. And “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids” has remained relevant since 2012.
TJ figured out how the joke came about, how it was used and whether the 62-year-old Buscemi realized his Internet fame.
Shot with Steve Buscemi in the “youth” image – from the American sitcom 30 Rock, aired on the NBC channel from 2006 to 2013. The star of Mad Dogs and the Underground Empire played the role of Lenny Wozniak, a private detective who is periodically hired by the hero Jack Donahie (Alec Baldwin).
In total, the Buscemi character appeared in six episodes, the penultimate time in the episode “The Tuxedo Begins”, which was released on TV on February 16, 2012. In the story, Wozniak recalls his previous investigations, including the “successful disguise” as a high school student during his introduction to the school.
As evidence, they show a flashback, where at that time the 55-year-old Buscemi character is trying to marry his in the company of teenagers. Everything in the image of a detective shows how bad his disguise is: a cap back to front, just two skateboards in his hands and a t-shirt with a “Music band” print. In this form, he approaches the students and says: “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?” (“How are you, kids?”).
This flashback was dismantled at Medium and came to the conclusion that the humorous effect here is built on the theory of language expectations. It assumes that people develop certain norms of how a person should use the language in certain situations. We develop expectations based on the context: how a person looks, how he behaves, how old he is.
In this case, the Buscemi character dresses as a teenager, but completely forgets about the language. It would seem that in accordance with the “cover” he should pick up some youth greeting. But it is enough only for a fairly adult “How are you, kids.”
From meme to cosplay
The episode from the sitcom quickly became a reaction picture (in other cases, a gif reaction) and spread across the network. Using a meme is quite simple: it was sent in response to an attempt by an adult to marry one in the Internet community.
Reactions with Buscemi could be seen on 4chan, Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter. And it’s still possible – Google Trends data show that the meme for eight years has not been forgotten.
The first “layer” of the meme is no different from the meaning embedded in the episode in the series 30 Rock: this is just an absurd attempt to pass as one in the company of youth.
Then came the turn of art, parodies and even cosplay. The image of Lenny Wozniak was not very complicated, so Halloween costumes began to devote to me.
Universal brand mockery
In August 2014, three Reddit users – three_am, dillonfbecker, and Urplescurple – founded the subreddit r / Fellowkids. Its name is a reference to the very phrase of Steve Buscemi, as well as the idea: to collect in one place the attempts of brands and celebrities to seem cool and youthful on the Internet. And not all of them are strange or disastrous – in rare posts, on the contrary, they are praised.
How exactly do brands usually try to join the modern online culture? Basically, these are memes, situational jokes and an attempt to play on trends. For example, in 2016, many brands were burned with Pokemon Go, and a year later on spinners. Although now there are also many ways to fail in trying to speak the same language with young people.
Marketers and agencies are sometimes blind to how divorced they are from reality and how quickly things are changing. They think they are successful with a couple of hundred likes. R / Fellowkids is a way to keep old marketers in check. Well, laugh at them.Rohit TawaniDigiday expert
For five and a half years, the section has gained more than 700 thousand subscribers. Avatar r / Fellowkids – of course, Steve Buscemi in a cap and with a skateboard.
At some point, the irony reached the meta level. For example, in 2016, Bagel Bites made a joke about its own status as a “brand that tries to memes,” and defeated the meme “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids”.
How Buscemi treats me now
Steve Buscemi is now 62 years old. And the actor has a rather complicated relationship with memes to himself. In addition to “Fellow Kids”, there is another joke about him: on the network, Buscemi’s eyes were substituted for various characters, which was called Buscemeyes .
In 2014, at the Late Night With Seth Meyers evening show, the presenter showed the actor a series of pictures where his eyes were set up for Disney princesses. Buscemi reacted negatively to this: “I do not think this is ridiculous.” He also added that the characters look as though “sexier”. Six years later, the actor repeated this idea on the Jimmy Fallon show when he was shown Baby Yoda with Buscemi’s eyes.
Buscemi never spoke publicly about his attitude to the How Do You Do, Fellow Kids meme. It was also unknown for a long time whether he even knew about this side of his Internet fame. But on January 20, 2020, he came out to announce a nomination for the United States Film Actors Guild Awards. Going to the microphone, he greeted the audience: “How do you do, fellow actors?”.
Screenwriter Genelli Riley later said that she met with Buscemi behind the scenes and noted his reference to meme. “Do you think they understood [the reference]?” The actor replied. But even if I didn’t understand the hall, I understood the Internet.
Randomly ran into Steve Buscemi and told him how much I loved his “How do you do, fellow actors?” at the SAG Awards. He asked if I think people got it.— Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) January 22, 2020
I know my house did!