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Phone Kid becomes 2018’s first hilarious meme at Super Bowl

POSTED February 5, 2018 9:19 p.m.
The first major meme of 2018 came during Super Bowl LII on Sunday night.

During Sunday night's halftime show, performer Justin Timberlake danced and sang many of his hits. He also paid tribute to Prince, the late music artist who died in 2016. The tribute was fitting as the Super Bowl took place in Minnesota, Prince’s home state.

However, the halftime show’s biggest moment came not from Timberlake, but a humble kid in the stands.

Toward the end of his act, Timberlake climbed the steps of U.S. Bank Stadium to celebrate with the fans. He paused while climbing up the stairs and took a selfie with one particular child, who was later revealed to be 13-year-old Ryan McKenna.

McKenna and Timberlake took a selfie together and the internet exploded.

Like “Left Shark” years ago, Phone Kid (sometimes referred to as Selfie Kid) became the punchline for many new internet jokes and memes, according to Uproxx.

This is McKenna's actual selfie with Timberlake.

But the internet captured another moment in their celebration. As Timberlake left, the kid quickly looked at his phone. Viewers weren't sure what he was looking at, but most took their best guesses. Mashable even called him “the best part of the Super Bowl halftime show.”

Many of the guesses, from brands and people alike, poked fun at pop culture and the everyday struggles of Americans in 2018.

Cue the meme.

Actual footage of me at social events

A post shared by Lola Tash and Nicole Argiris (@mytherapistsays) on

McKenna spoke exclusively to New York magazine about his moment of fame. He said he wasn’t Googling anything in particular or ignoring Timberlake.

McKenna said he filmed a video with Timberlake when his phone shut down. He restarted it quickly and then snagged the selfie.

“Yeah, if you see all the memes that’s why I was on my phone. I was restarting it,” he told New York magazine.


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