In Conversation with the Creator of #EnergySwordSunday
The modern internet is a sewer factory of comedy. There are tons of users constantly shooting out seemingly random configurations of words in an almost algorithmic fashion until something sticks. It’s always a fun spectacle seeing what people latch onto and what people gloss over because there’s no rhyme or reason to it anymore. The general populous of Tumblr and Twitter have transcended from the classic impact font meme format into a collective absurdist consciousness of jokes that honestly have no business being funny, but they are. Endless images and text ranging from subversive to nonsensical, it is a brand new age of avant garde online jokes that are so easy to not understand.
It’s like a millenial tradition. Knowingly or unknowingly, every second online is a second of trying to stay in the loop. If you’re off of Twitter for a day you could totally miss the latest news, discourse, or thread of your friend accidentally sending his teacher an audio file of him saying “has anyone seen my dick and balls” in the voice of Winston from Overwatch.
Staying relevant is pretty much a wageless full time job, so I don’t blame you if you’ve missed the weekly joke that is #EnergySwordSunday. It’s a great trend from this era that picked up traction in April; it shines because it’s so straightforward and simple. All you have to do is photoshop an Energy Sword (a weapon from the Halo franchise) into the hands of any character from anything, incorporate “#EnergySwordSunday” into it, and post it on a sunday, and there you have your own #EnergySwordSunday meme.
Here’s one that Play Underground!’s own Max Jarrett did:
Interesting, isn’t it?
When I first saw one of these pictures I had the same reaction to what you’re feeling - confused euphoria. So I tracked down Petey Cyberbully20XX, the creator, and asked them some of the burning questions I had about the weekly joke that has been taking my dashboard by storm.
Funké: The first instance of #EnergySwordSunday showcased beloved children’s animation icon Gumby holding a sticky grenade and energy sword from the Halo Franchise. What was going through your mind when you concocted such an image?
Petey Cyberbully20XX: Well. I think Gumby is a really interesting property. The creators of Gumby like to make some very scary visuals. Melting characters. Dismemberment. Killer robots etc. I believe it was in the Gumby movie that there's a killer Gumby Robot that gets it's hand cut off and it's skin melted. Gumby and robo Gumby duel with lightsabers too. I just thought it was a good choice for my first Energy Sword edit. One of my friends is a fan of Gumby too, so I also did it for him.
It’s a joke that is so easy to contribute to. I’ve seen edits with Twin Peak’s Dale Cooper, Sailor Moon, and Peter Griffin. Wildly different characters, but the only thing that seems to matter is if they can hold an energy sword. Did you realize how approachable and accessible this meme was going to be? Was that a goal?
Yes! The meme is very approachable. Very versatile. The energy sword is iconic, yet not tied to any one character in Halo. That is why it's so funny to see it outside the context of Halo. Halo itself is something that I find very funny just by itself for no reason in particular. I never expected it too take off and become as popular as it is.
#EnergySwordSunday is a member of an extremely small club of memes that are connected to a day of the week. Did any of those weekday-memes impact or inspire the creation of it?
Not that I can think of. Maybe slightly by the very basic day of the week hashtags on Twitter like #SundayFunday. There's this one other Sunday meme that was brought to my attention after I created #EnergySwordSunday and that was FingersInHisAssSunday, some small very specific and very much not approachable meme that revolves around Kanye West, some anime character from Danganronpa, and Sans from Undertale. The meme itself is okay, but I don't think it has the potential to survive as a day of the week meme.
“Fingers in His Ass” is another recurring Sunday joke where people have edited a song about Kanye West liking fingers in his ass onto videos of Dangan Ronpa’s Komaeda and Undertale’s Sans. Do you see it as a rival or a comrade to #EnergySwordSunday?
I don't consider it to be a rival really, but I also don't see it as a comrade. There are people who like #EnergySwordSunday, there are people who like #FingersInHisAssSunday, and there are people who like both and that's okay. But when I get nearly 30 different tweets saying "Guys! Stop fighting! It's energy sword in his ass Sunday!" every week, thinking that they were the first ones to come up with that, it starts to get annoying. The way I see it is that FiHAS is harmless, but it doesn't contribute anything interesting to the Sunday experience.
It’s obvious that you’re a fan of Halo, but what sparked your interest for the series? And why have you continued to rep it for all these years?
I grew up on Halo. I got the XBOX original one Christmas and Halo was the only game we had. Or at least it seemed that way. I played Halo with my brother pretty much non stop until Halo 4, which was a huge disappointment. Sorry 343 but damn that game sucked. That definitely didn't ruin my love for the series though. The games are just incredible fun, well balanced and I love them very much. And it didn't hurt that I'm very good at First-Person Shooters. Which of course I owe to Halo.
Comedy and games seem to be a big part of your internet presence. When did the two start to bleed together for you? Also, is there a moment you can pinpoint where you realized you wanted to make jokes on this wild west of an internet?
I think that the jokes I make in real life with my friends are the kind of jokes you can just turn into a tweet. I was on Tumblr for a very long time before Twitter, but I've started to move away from it. Twitter is a great place to just throw a joke onto the internet from your phone as soon as you think of one. My sense of humor is definitely shaped by the fact that my friends also liked games growing up.There's a great sense of kindred nostalgia when it comes to beloved games and game series. Niche potential markets of comedy like what you see with @TheElderMemes making references to Elder Scrolls games. A lot of people on there have a love of the series and vast knowledge of it's world. And like Halo, you can't take those games too seriously and that's a big part of what makes it great.
You make a lot of extremely varied content online. From 3D modelling to capturing gameplay highlights to filming absurd skits, it truly seems like you’re on the grind. How do you manage to juggle all of those things at the same time?
I never have to worry about burnout because other than #EnergySwordSunday, the content that I post on Twitter is completely comprised of things that I like to do, the renders and videos etc are just a byproduct. I've been messing with Blender and Unity for a while now with the dream of publishing my own game. I also draw and write.
There are so many weird comedy trends that pop up, get oversaturated, and then die. All in the span of a day. What are your thoughts on the culture of rapid joke cycles we’re living in right now? Do you like it better like this?
I think that the death of jokes is a natural and inevitable process. It promotes a healthy circle of life for memes. Nobody likes a joke that goes on too long and is overused. I predict EnergySwordSunday won't be around for too long. And at that point I will leave it to the community, but for now it's a lot of fun and I'm loving it.
People have already adopted #EnergySwordSunday and created their own renditions to join in on the fun and keep the trend alive. You must feel great to have made something funny that people can participate in, but there’s a dark side to that too. Making comedy online (especially on Twitter and Tumblr) it’s virtually impossible to end a joke after its reached the masses. Are you ever worried you’ll have to watch someone beat your joke to the ground, and not be able to stop it?
I don't think I'll have to worry about that. At some point I will have to leave EnergySwordSunday alone. I'll check up on it here and there, but i will never resent the community for keeping it on life-support. There's nothing they could do to make me dislike EnergySwordSunday. I'm very much looking forward the next week and beyond. To all the Swordsters, Swordies, and Swordlings out there. Thank you for making EnergySwordSunday what it is. I love all of you, can't wait to see what you make next.