The enduring appeal of sticking out one’s tongue and shouting “Wassup!”

It’s back.  I guess enough time has passed for the culture to have gotten over its Wassup! overdose in 2000.

The latest viral video charts show Wassup2008 at number one and the original Budweiser Wassup ad climbing up the charts at number 11.  Oh dear!

I can remember emerging slightly shell-shocked from the editing suite after we filmed the first Wassup! spots.  I’d listened to the phrase constantly for a week and was understandably heartily sick of hearing it.  So when people would come up to me and tell me, months later, how sick they were of hearing the phrase, i would nod politely and, in my head, go “Tell me about it pal!”.  I was arguably the first Wassup! burnout.

Like anything that is conspicuously successful, the whole Wassup! pop cultural phenomenon was written about and analyzed endlessly by the media at the time.  I recall being surprised about how blase i had become about being interviewed about the same thing over and over and over.  Lots of writers pointed out how the spots were great representations of male bonding etc…etc.

But for me the thing that made the whole thing work was much more basic.  And it was this.  When you screamed Wassuuuuuuup! a little bit of nervous energy left your upper body.  And you actually felt slightly better for saying it.  In much the same way that saying “IS NICE!!!” Borat-style is slightly cathartic.  It’s the same principle, physiologically speaking.

Go on, try saying both catchphrases.  You’ll feel better!

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