Chungus: A quick oral historical past

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“What’s up, Doc?” meets “How do you do, fellow youngsters?”

From April 2-6, Warner Bros. is operating a particular occasion of their free-to-play cellular RPG Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem that includes a chubby variant of Bugs Bunny, now formally known as “Massive Chungus.” This model of Bugs first appeared in a 1941 animated brief known as Wabbit Twouble, although he was not any kind of chungus in a proper capability till now. Candy kids and unhappy adults hooked on the title would possibly assume that this new fats rabbit is simply one other wacky authentic idea. However anybody who farted round gaming Twitter for the previous few years is probably going conscious that Massive Chungus began with a meme in 2018. 

Or did he?

They are saying that explaining a joke is one of the simplest ways to kill it. That goes triple for “random web humor” that thrives off the looks of popping out of nowhere and that means nothing. 

Associates, nothing is random. Every thing has that means, and all the pieces comes from someplace. Even Chungus. Particularly Chungus. 

Nobody is aware of precisely who was the primary particular person to say the phrase “chungus.” It may have been a caveman. It may have been your dad. It may have been the well-known Meatloaf, mispronouncing his personal stage identify in Vietnamese in a weak, sweaty try to sound cultured. Relating to social media although, this off-hand tweet from 2010 is usually cited because the oldest chungus utterance. 

It would not appear to imply something although, and no offense to @Sheelgetskyphy, however the tweet did not acquire that a lot traction till eight or 9 years later when chungus had already blown up and gotten itself in every single place. The place the place chungus actually began to unfold was proper right here on Destructoid. In 2012, critiques editor James Stephanie Sterling advised a narrative of Rooster Chungus on Podtoid, Dtoid’s official podcast.

Jim Steph’s new chungus wasn’t in reference to Sheel’s tweet. This chungus wasn’t amongst us in any respect. It was an natural, impartial expression of ironic horniness, fascination with the bodily features, and affectionate disgust with flesh normally. Over the subsequent 9 years, Jim Stephanie would frequently speak on podcasts about packing my chungus filled with worms, operating a practice on my chungus, or any variety of different sexual and/or horrific acts involving what, I assumed, have been in all probability my personal elements. This continues to at the present time. Like Jim Stephanie themselves, chungus is many issues without delay, and it has captured the creativeness of hundreds. 

And so, “chungus” turned a kind of a catch-all catchphrase for followers of Podtoid and a number of different podcasts Jim Steph starred on. Like so many web issues, those that understood it felt like they have been a part of a mainstream-unfriendly inside joke, and in that manner, discovered a particular sense of group by it. Additionally like many web inside jokes, the persistence of time ultimately led it to bubble as much as the plenty, although there have been nonetheless just a few steps of chungus forward earlier than it will get there. 

One of many main steps was the video beneath, created by Podtoid fan Blockbird in 2013. 

The audio got here from the podcast, however setting it to visuals from The Darkish Knight Rises was all Blockbird’s concept. The video did pretty properly on YouTube, nevertheless it wasn’t till 2018 when the video was embedded on Fb, uncredited, by a web page known as The Deepest A part of the Web, that it actually took off. I am not going to embed the video right here, however final I checked, it received about ten million views, and options Jim Stephanie exclaiming “I’m the Chungus” at the least as soon as. Right here is their tweet from 2018 reporting on the scenario. 

So whereas we had questioned for years if little chungus-like concepts like Rick and Morty’s Plumbus have been both chungus-influenced or straight chungus associated, this was the primary time we knew for sure that chungus had been taken and delivered by international palms to a bigger, chungus-hungry viewers. It was somewhat unusual, however we figured it was only a transient, scorching flash within the chungus pan. Then, in December of that yr, we noticed chungus blow up in methods we by no means may have predicted. 

In December of 2018,  GameStop retailer supervisor Justin Laufer posted a narrative on Fb a couple of buyer who got here to the shop asking to purchase a sport for his or her youngster known as Massive Chungus for the PS4. This was in reference to faux field artwork {that a} Reddit consumer named GaryTheTaco (who has since been banned from the positioning) had created as a joke. From there, the meme unfold like wildfire, resulting in songs, fan fiction, and God is aware of what else, ultimately main Warner Bros. to take it and make it “actual.”

However why did this occur? Why did this nonsense phrase grow to be one thing a billion-dollar company would co-opt and money in on?

It is anybody’s guess, but when I have been to take a stab at it, I would say it has to do with a sure rigidity that was within the air at the moment, and it is a rigidity that lingers at the moment. The principles are continuously being upended. Daily you are on-line, you might uncover some unusual new curiosity, new fetish, or new subculture that you could be or could not wish to be part of. Within the days earlier than high-speed web; TV, motion pictures, and radio have been largely in charge of what we thought-about “regular.” There was a sure customary of magnificence that all of us thought we have been supposed to stick to (skinny, clear, human).

Now, in 2021, goal requirements of magnificence are fractured at greatest, obliterated at worst. Daily, individuals brazenly clarify on-line that they’re most drawn to fats males, or ladies with dragon tails, or online game characters with no gender in any respect, they usually accomplish that with out disgrace, main them to inevitably discover others that share their emotions. That is what chungus was on Podtoid, and that is what the half-sarcastic adoration of a chunky cartoon rabbit was taking part in off of whether or not individuals knew it or not. Older generations could really feel left behind by the abandonment of a universally agreed-upon customary for magnificence and normalcy. They could wish to attempt to sustain, to ask to purchase some recent chungus on the native GameStop with a view to join with their youngster, therefore the joke, and why it resonated with so many individuals. 

And now, you may truly purchase some actual chungus. Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem is not bought in shops, however you may wager that quite a lot of dad and mom booted up this sport this weekend with their youngsters with a view to “See what all of the fuss was about” concerning “that image of a fats rabbit that makes my son giggle each time they see it”. Massive Chungus is now simply one other “regular” factor, a crowd-pleasing icon that performs it secure. The underlying tickle that made Massive Chungus, and all different chunguses (chungii?) pop with surreal appeal has been flattened.

Chungus is lifeless. Lengthy dwell Chungus. 

 

 

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