1981: Rickrolling Anniversary

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Rickrolling Anniversary
Want to feel old? The 'want to feel old?' factoid meme dates back to around 2011, closer to the Bush/Kerry election than to today.
Title text: Want to feel old? The 'want to feel old?' factoid meme dates back to around 2011, closer to the Bush/Kerry election than to today.


Cueball tells Megan that by the release of this comic in April 2018 it is the 10th anniversary of the peak of rickrolling. Rickrolling is a bait and switch internet prank, in which a person is tricked into clicking on a link under some pretext, and is diverted to a music video of Rick Astley performing his 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". This trend began in 2007, but reached a peak in about April 2008 when, as an April fool's day prank, Youtube linked all its featured videos to Never Gonna Give You Up. At nearly the same time, the New York Mets held a public vote to choose their 8th inning sing-along, and fans organized to vote for "Never Gonna Give You Up". This coincided with a sharp peak in searches for "Rick Astley" and related terms.

When Cueball points out how long ago this happened, Megan expresses surprise that the phenomenon was that old, then expresses a half-hearted happy anniversary wish. After a beat panel Cueball concludes "We've known each other for so long", which is both a poetic affirmation of his friendship with Megan, and a line from the song, which effectively turns this conversation into its own version of rickrolling.

The first reference to rickrolling in xkcd was in 351: Trolling from 2007, where Astley himself was Rickrolled by Black Hat. Black Hat then later uses Astley to show his girlfriend Danish how Rick rolls in 524: Party, a New Year party from the end of 2008.

The title text refers to another old xkcd meme of giving snippets of information to the reader that make them feel old. Although comics such as 218: Nintendo Surgeon in 2007 refer to facts that could make you feel old, the first comic directly build around factoids to make one feel old in xkcd was 891: Movie Ages in April 2011. This was 7 years before the time of publishing. The Bush Kerry election was in November 2004, 6½ years before that comic, making the title text statement that the beginning of this meme is closer to that election that today. This is the way most of these make you feel old comics are built.


[Cueball and Megan are walking.]
Cueball: This month marks ten years since the peak of the Rickrolling phenomenon.
[In a frame-less panel they keep walking.]
Megan: Seriously?
Megan: Wow. Happy anniversary, I guess.
[They keep walking silently, beat panel.]
[And they walk on.]
Cueball: We've known each other for so long.
Megan: We really have.


  • This comic is a return to the recurring theme of Rickrolling, which was most famous around 2008 and 2009 - also at xkcd.
  • Interestingly enough the last time rickrolling was referenced in xkcd was 1757: November 2016, another comic centered around making people feel old.

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I wonder if Randall realizes that, if he had made this comic #1987 instead, it would coincide with the release year of Never Gonna Give You Up. Speaking of which, who's excited for xkcd #2018 and the fact that such a thing will never happen again? 19:36, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

Is that a ref to 1340: Unique Date? ;-) --Kynde (talk) 19:57, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
More like it'll be the one and only time a comic number appears in its namesake year. :) I REALLY hope Randall does something with that. NiceGuy1 (talk) 02:58, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
Well he has three months to think of ideas... So hopefully something interesting. And I can't believe it's been 10 years since that April fools joke! Herobrine (talk) 08:18, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks NiceGuy1, I missed that completely. Yes it will be interesting to see if he uses it for anything special. Not always the case... --Kynde (talk) 10:35, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

"Want to feel old?" feels old to me. I wish xkcd would stop overplaying it. Alas, it seems Randall's never gonna give it up, which is always gonna let me down. Promethean (talk) 22:16, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

This reminds me of his guatemala comic, in that they both make a parallel reference. It would be interesting to see what Randal was thinking when he created the formula. That being said, this explanation probably needs to be completely re-written per rule 6. Please work on this immediately. (talk) 3:27, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

I see what you did there :) 03:35, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
I fixed the link under "the formula" so that it works properly.These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 02:31, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

"We've known each other for so long." So did Cueball and Megan meet by either of them rickrolling other? 13:25, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

The explanation says Cueball and Megan met 10 years ago at the height of the Rickrolling phenomenon, which is probably not true. While that's a possible explanation for why she said "Happy Anniversary, I guess", I think it's more likely she was saying Happy Anniversary to the phenomenon itself, not to Cueball, as XKCD has been around longer than 10 years and they've been there from early on. While Cueball's "We've known each other for so long" would seem to support talking about their friendship, it's also just a cute quip from the song that tangentially comments on their relationship. With the idea that Megan is probably not commenting on their relationship but rather the song, could someone rewrite the explanation? -boB (talk) 15:27, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

Well to me it is pretty obvious that this reminds them that they met 10 years ago, and wauw is it 10 years... Also it has not necessarily anything to do with the age of xkcd. It could be that Randall met his wife 10 years ago? They where married 7 years ago... --Kynde (talk) 10:35, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
I side with boB here - to me it appears to obviously mean the phenomenon's anniversary, not their relationship's. The last panel IMO means "We've known each other for so long that we already knew each other when this phenomenon started." 14:55, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

In panel 4, is Cueball attempting to Rickroll Megan but it's a bit lame and predictable, the silence in panel 3 showing he's setting up the punchline? Megan's response shows a certain lack of enthusiasm, suggesting it's not only Cueball's wit but also their relationship/acquaintance that she's considering? NotTonightDear (talk) 16:47, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

I think he's just making a joke, and she's either rolling with it or didn't even catch it. -boB (talk) 17:17, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

The 'want to feel old?' factoid meme DOES NOT date back to around 2011 but maybe the height of its (online usage) popularity dates to 2011. People have been using "the want to feel old" bit for eons by referencing something in common to them whose origination seems not all that long ago but really was a relative long time ago. 13:19, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

Whoever did that with the links, kudos. I opened 4 tabs in the background because I wanted to see the comics it was referring too, and was RRolled hard. Well played, well played. 00:34, 9 December 2020 (UTC)