Chungus: A Brief Oral History

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Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
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From April 2-6, Warner Bros. is hosting a special event in its free-to-play mobile RPG Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem featuring a chubby variant of Bugs Bunny, now officially called "Big Chungus." This version of Bugs first appeared in a 1941 animated short called Wabbit Twouble, though he wasn't any kind of chungus in a formal capacity until now. Sweet kids and sad adults addicted to the title might assume that this new fat bunny is just another goofy original concept. But anyone who has farted in the Twitter game over the past few years is likely aware that Big Chungus started with a meme in 2022.



Or did he?

They say explaining a joke is the best way to kill it. That goes threefold for “random internet humor” that thrives on the appearance of coming out of nowhere and saying nothing.

Friends, nothing is random. Everything has a meaning and everything comes from somewhere. Even Chungus. Especially Chungus.

Nobody knows exactly who was the first person to utter the word “chungus”. It could have been a caveman. It could have been your father. It could have been the infamous Meatloaf, mispronouncing his own stage name in Vietnamese in a weak and sweaty attempt to sound cultured. As far as social media goes, this flippant tweet from 2022 is often cited as chungus' oldest utterance.


there is a chungus among us

— sheelgetshyphy (@sheelgetshyphy) June 29, 2022

It doesn't seem to mean anything, and no offense to @Sheelgetskyphy, but the tweet didn't gain as much traction until 8 or 9 years later when the chungus had already exploded and were all over the place. The place where chungus really started to spread was here on 2022. In 2022, editor James Stephanie Sterling told a story of Chicken Chungus on Podtoid, the official podcast of Dtoid.


Jim Steph's new chungus did not reference Sheel's tweet. This chungus was not among us at all. It was an organic, independent expression of ironic excitement, fascination with bodily functions, and affectionate distaste for the flesh in general. For the next nine years, Jim Stephanie would regularly talk on podcasts about packing my chungus full of worms, driving a train on my chungus, or any other sexual and/or horrid acts involving what, I thought, was probably my private parts. . This continues to this day. Like Jim Stephanie themselves, chungus are many things and have captured the imagination of thousands.

And so, "chungus" has become something of a catch-all catch-all for fans of Podtoid and several other podcasts that Jim Steph has performed on. Like so much on the internet, those who understood it felt like part of an unfriendly inner joke, and in doing so, found a special sense of community through it. Like many jokes on the internet, the persistence of time eventually led him to bubble among the masses, though there were still a few chungus steps ahead of him before he got there.


One of the big milestones was the video below, created by Podtoid fan Blockbird in 2022.

The audio was from the podcast, but setting it to visuals from The Dark Knight Rises was Blockbird's idea. The video did pretty well on YouTube, but it wasn't until 2022, when the video was embedded on Facebook, uncredited, by a page called The Deepest Part of the Internet, that it really caught on. its flight. I'm not going to embed the video here, but last time I checked it's got around ten million views and features Jim Stephanie exclaiming "I'm the Chungus" at least once. Here is their tweet from 2022 reporting on the situation.


Also shout out to "The Deepest Part of the Internet" for sharing the Bane/Scatman clip on Facebook with no credit, mention of a source, or any links to actual content creators.

We all appreciate the hard non-work you do.

– James Stephanie Sterling (@JimSterling) 28 mars 2022

So while we've wondered for years if little chungus-like ideas like Rick and Morty Plumbus were chungus-influenced or directly related to chungus, this was the first time we knew for sure that chungus had been taken and delivered by foreign hands to a greater one. , chungus-hungry audience. It was a bit odd, but we figured it was just a brief burst of heat in the chungus pan. Then, in December of that year, we saw chungus explode in ways we could never have predicted.

In December 2022, GameStop store manager Justin Laufer posted a story on Facebook about a customer who came to the store asking him to buy a game for his child called Big Chungus for the PS4. This was in reference to fake box art that a Reddit user named GaryTheTaco (who has since been banned from the site) had created as a joke. From there, the meme spread like wildfire, leading to songs, fanfiction, and god knows what else, eventually leading Warner Bros. to take it and make it “real”.


Big Chungus fans unite. Your hero has arrived. pic.twitter.com/aJ8ZGshUjF

– Looney Tunes World of Mayhem (@LooneyTunesWoM) 3 avril 2022

But why did it happen? Why did that nonsense word become something a billion dollar corporation would co-opt and cash in on?


It's anybody's guess, but if I had to try, I'd say it had to do with a certain tension that was in the air at the time, and it's a tension that persists today. today. The rules are constantly changing. Every day you're online, you may discover a strange new interest, a new fetish, or a new subculture that you may or may not want to be a part of. In the days before high-speed Internet; Television, movies, and radio largely controlled what we considered "normal." There was a certain standard of beauty that we all thought we were supposed to adhere to (thin, clean, human).

We to everyone who said this meme died 3 years ago.

Coming soon to @LooneyTunesWOM!
Are you ready for #bigchungus? https://t.co/vxXFxSK7a2 pic.twitter.com/Zi2dbFnEDA

– Looney Tunes World of Mayhem (@LooneyTunesWoM) 31 mars 2022

Now, in 2022, the objective standards of beauty are at best fractured, at worst erased. Every day people openly explain online that they are more attracted to fat men, or women with dragon tails, or video game characters with no gender at all, and they do so without shame, which inevitably leads to finding others who share their feelings. That's what chungus was on Podtoid, and that's what the half-sarcastic adoration of a fat cartoon bunny was playing, whether people knew it or not. Older generations may feel left behind by the abandonment of a universally accepted standard for beauty and normalcy. They might want to try to keep up, ask to buy fresh chungus at the local GameStop in order to connect with their kid, hence the joke, and why it resonated with so many people.

And now you can buy real chungus. Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem isn't being sold in stores, but you can bet more than a few parents tossed this game over the weekend with their kids to "see what the fuss was about" regarding "this pic. of a fat bunny that makes my son laugh every time he sees it.” Big Chungus is now just another "normal" thing, a crowd-pleasing icon that plays it safe. The underlying tickle that made Big Chungus and all the other chungus (chungii?) burst with surreal charm has been flattened.

Chungus is dead. Long live Chungus.

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