U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney with her "sourpuss" smile.
Poor Queen Elizabeth II. The 86-year-old British monarch provided a hilarious viral image by leaping into Olympic comedy history during her opening-ceremony Bond Girl stint – only to see a photo of her in a more dour moment become a different kind of Internet meme (our favorite caption: “Let the Hunger Games begin”).
Her experience on both sides of the laughter sums up the much of humor spawned by the Games: Some Olympic figures – most notably Ryan Lochte – helped feed the Internet funny machine with videos of their own, while others – including a scowling McKayla Maroney – became unwilling fodder for memes.
With seemingly everybody getting in on the meme game, the XXX Olympiad has yielded unprecedented do-it-yourself humor, delivering laughs via the Web. Take a look at these medal-worthy memes and spoofs to come out of London 2012:
U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney says the sourpuss she flashed after winning the silver medal in the vault was a product of her disappointment in her performance. The prissy picture, though, quickly spurred a Tumblr page called, “McKayla is Not Impressed,” in which she’s Photoshopped into shots of the Sistine Chapel, Stonehenge and the Moon Landing, among other decidedly impressive images. Check out the page – and a “Today” segment on the meme:
London Mayor Boris Johnson flew onto the Internet when his zipline stunt last week failed, leaving him suspended in mid-air, a Union Jack in each hand. The mishap inspired a Web page, “Dangle Boris,” in which the flamboyant pol is seen hanging from, among other places, Spider-Man’s web, and Cameron Diaz’s um, gelled, hair, from “There’s Something About Mary.” You’ll find the page here.
Gold medal-winning swimmer Ryan Lochte proved himself the Olympic humor champ, appearing in two Funny or Die videos that debuted Thursday. He makes a key cameo in a short starring Patrick Stewart as a Fagin-like ticket scalper and Simon Pegg as an Olympic impostor. In the second, Lochte’s the solo star – and explains his now infamous peeing-in-the-pool comments: “The way I see it, the pool is the biggest and most expensive toilet – and it’s all mine…. I can only pee in the pool.”
You apparently need a good sense of humor to spend all that time in the water. The U.S. Olympic swimming team went meta by doing a lip-synched version of the “Call Me Maybe,” which probably has inspired more Internet parodies this year than any other pop cultural event – except, perhaps, for the Olympics. The team’s video was approaching six million hits on YouTube as of this writing.
On the Ropes
Olympic glories fade – but, hopefully, senses of humor don’t. Kurt Angle, who won the gold in 1996 for wrestling and now grapples professionally, attempts to bull his way back into the Games – trying his meaty hands at ping pong, fencing, badminton and other bad fits – in this Funny or Die video: