Memes in 2010: Epic Beard Man

Memes in 2010: Epic Beard Man

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A New American Folktale: Epic Beard Man

The legendary tale of Epic Beard Man began on a sunny day in February, when two passengers on an Oakland transit bus got into an argument-gone-fistfight, while another passenger recorded the incident with a smartphone and posted the video on YouTube. Much to the viewers’ surprise, the fight ended up with the younger and more confrontational black man getting knocked out by the older and seemingly benign white man. Yet still left with many questions and incomplete information surrounding the actual event, what ensued was a simultaneous development of two stories, one of a heroic senior citizen with Herculean strength told by the Internet and another of Thomas Bruso, a belligerent Vietnam war veteran told by Bay Area news reporters.

KYMdb Image Collection

- Know Your Meme received several entry submissions on Epic Beard Man & AC Transit Fight, as well as dozens of videos and image macros relating to the meme. Check out the image gallery in KYMdb – Epic Beard Man for the latest collection.

Development in Themes


- In first 24 hours of upload by the passenger / witness Iyanna Washington, the video gains one million plus views on YouTube.

- Instant catchphrases like “I am a mother f**ker” and “I will slap your shit!” dominate the image macros on 4chan, while many popular video remixes parodied the fight in style of 90s Japanese fighting arcade games.

- Because of Tom’s beard & display of incredible strength, the senior man was dubbed “Epic Beard Man” by Anonymous.

- Some viewers speculated alternative interpretations of Michael’s mumbly request for ambulance (“Bring the ambulance”), namely “Bring Da M&Ms” & “Bring Da Amber Lamps.”

- YouTube drama broke out between Anonymous and the videographer Iyanna Washington, leading to the launch of Anonymous’ Operation: I am a Motherf**ker.

- Identity of Epic Beard Man revealed as Vietnam war veteran Thomas Bruso, infamous in Oakland for his reputation of belligerence.

- YouTube comments section ran amok with arguments on issues of race relations and war veterans, but most YouTube video responses gave kudos to the bearded older gentleman.

- Epic Beard Man phenomenon also resulted in the creation of several single-serving sites, including" with the message “find the bag and return it”,, that says “EPIC BEARD MAN sup /b/” and related entries on MemeGenerator and Encyclopedia Dramatica.

- Tribute images continue, Mysterious female spectator in the background becomes associated with Amber Lamps.

- Nathan Maas has made a mini documentary series called I Am A Motherfucker

More Meme Reviews

And don’t forget to check out the rest of 2010 meme reviews!

- KYM Blog – Memes in 2010: Downfall
- KYM Blog – Memes in 2010: Effing Magnets
- KYM Blog – Memes in 2010: Douel Rainbow
- KYM Blog – Memes in 2010: Antoine Dodson
- KYM Monthly Review – Complete Listing of Past Issues

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