Title text: I wonder what 2008 meme will go bizarrely mainstream in 2009 like rickrolling did in 2007-2008. I accidentally <noun>? Yo, dawg? Place your bets now!
In the first panel, we see Black Hat telling Cueball that he has hired Rick Astley to show up at a party for a girl. Cueball, assuming Rick Astley is going to perform a live rickroll, asks if that is not "so last year". Rickrolling is where one is redirected to a video of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up" via a weblink purporting to be something else. It was later extended to any situation where the song is used disruptively, such as during a party. It started in 2006 and grew until peaking on April Fool's Day in 2008. Thus at New Years Eve 2008, the meme was getting old. However, Black Hat assures Cueball that Rick Astley is not actually going to sing.
The comic then continued to the now ongoing party and we see the girl in question, Danish, Black Hat's girlfriend, talking with Ponytail when she notices Rick Astley at her party. Like Cueball, Danish expects Rick Astley is going to sing and rickroll her live. She obviously hates this idea and braces her self for the humiliation of being rickrolled. But she is freaked out when he just stands there staring at her, but without singing. In the end his presence alone causes her to hear the song in her head instead, and finally she flees the room screaming slamming a door behind her. Black Hat has essentially rickrolled her in her own mind, which is far worse than just playing a song for her. But Black Hat could not have done so without the willing assistance from Rick!
So when Ponytail asks Rick Astley "what did you do to her?", he begins by saying "that, my dear" and then slowly puts on sunglasses before he answers "Is how I roll." This references both rickrolling and the "that's how I roll" meme.
Although the identity of the girl Black Hat is pranking is not stated by Randall (he refers to her as Girl 1 but he has also never given an official name to "Danish" - that is an explain xkcd name), she clearly is Danish, Black Hat's girlfriend. Danish was introduced in the Journal story-line (377: Journal 2), some time prior to this comic. At first her reaction may no look like Danish, who should play it cool according to the her first appearance! Black Hat, however, is a master and he could know that "not getting Rick rolled" would freak her even more out. Additionally, Danish is seen with Ponytail in 405: Journal 3. And in that comic Black Hat also shows that he can get back at her, after she claimed she was better than him in 377: Journal 2. He also tricks her into blowing her own garage up in 433: Journal 5. So of course he can trick her, and of course she will hate that he has rick rolled her. So not doing it with Rick Astley in her house, would drive her mad, just like Black Hat would love, even if she is his girl friend. This would also not have happened for a normal girl like Megan, whom Danish slightly resembles. Normal people will laugh not cry after being rickrolled.
The title text refers to the fact that rickrolling first appeared in 2007 (on 4chan) and became viral for over a year. Giving that this is a New Year comic it is thus relevant to asks what meme will replace Rickrolling in the new year, 2009. Although Randall makes reference to the "Xzibit Yo Dawg" and "I accidentally..." photocaptioning memes, memebase entries suggest the "Keep Calm and Carry On" meme may well have become the most popular (and most enduring, as of 2013) meme of 2009.
As of 2022, Rickrolling is still one of the most relevant memes from that era.
- Black Hat: And so I hired Rick Astley to show up at her party.
- Cueball: And rickroll her? Isn't that a little...last year?
- Black Hat: Ah, but he's not going to sing.
- Danish: Hey is that Rick Astley?
- Ponytail: I think it is. He just came in.
- Danish: Oh no. Brace yourself.
- Danish: Wait. He's just standing there. Where's the song?
- Danish: He's staring at me.
- Danish: This is a little creepy.
- Danish: What's going on?
- Danish: That's actually Rick Astley staring at me.
- Danish: What's he doing?
- Danish: Oh God, I keep expecting it, hearing it in my head.
- [Danish pulls at her hair.]
- Danish: Just do it already!
- [Danish runs off stage right.]
- Danish: Aaaaaaaa
- [Danish slams the door leaving Ponytail and Rick Astley]
- Door: Slam
- Ponytail: Mr. Astley?
- Rick Astley: Yes?
- Ponytail: What did you do to her? What was that?
- Rick Astley: That, my dear,
- [Rick Astley puts on sunglasses.]
- Rick Astley: Is how I roll.
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