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“Better Drink My Own Piss” is an image macro series featuring a photo of Edward “Bear” Grylls, the host of UK’s wildlife survival series Born Survivor, also known as Man vs. Wild in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. While some macros use captions parodying the ridiculous and oftentimes unnecessary stunts Grylls performs on the show, they typically focus on the consumption of his own urine.
Since the on-air debut of Man vs. Wild in 2006, the series has grown into an internationally distributed cable show with over 1.2 billion viewers. According to the show’s Wikipedia entry, Grylls has climbed cliffs, parachuted from a variety of aircraft, ran through a forest fire, ate snakes and utilized a sheep corpse as a flotation device. Grylls has also been known to drink his own urine to prevent dehydration, which he demonstrated in Episode 13: Kimberley, Australia:
“If I had just peed on the ground, that’s all those fluids wasted.”
On September 7th, 2010, Redditor Faneste123 submitted a post titled “The Sun Is Going Down”, which included a Bear Grylls image macro with the caption “The sun is going down / better drink my own piss" in reference to his demonstration of urine-drinking in the episode. The post reached the front page of the /r/pics subreddit, receiving over 2,313 up votes prior to being archived.
Bear Grylls is a British writer and adventurer known for his best-selling expedition memoirs and the host of several wildlife adventure TV shows, including Born Survivor (also known as Man vs. Wild) on UK’s Channel 4. Each episode is centered around Grylls’ challenge against mother nature as he lives his life in “survival mode,” from waterfall climbing and running through forest fires to wrestling alligators and eating snakes.
Image macros were posted to the advice animal builder Meme Generator in September of 2010. On September 8th, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a post titled “Survival Tips From Bear Grylls Meme”, which featured a compilation of notable image macros. The following day, the Internet humor site Barnorama posted about the series and was subsequently linked on /r/WTF subreddit. A Quickmeme page for the series was created in February of 2011. On June 21st, the Internet humor blog Smosh published a round-up of image macros titled “22 Best Bear Grylls Memes.” On June 29th, the comedy website College Humor posted a video titled “Man Vs. Wild: The RPG”, which featured an 8-bit role-playing game version of Man vs. Wild in which Grylls drinks a bottle of piss.
The meme has continued to spread on sites like Memebase, FunnyJunk and Tumblr under the tag “#bear grylls.” As of April 11th, 2012, the Meme Generator page has over 19,000 items, the Quickmeme page has received over 6,300 submissions and a Facebook page has over 1.3 million likes.
Bear Grylls’ Reaction
On May 17th, 2011, Grylls tweeted a response to the Twitter user @replies about drinking his own pee and included a picture of himself drinking from a tea cup. The tweet was posted to Reddit shortly after, hitting the front page with over 2000 upvotes. Shortly after, a Bear Grylls “ask me anything” (AMA) request was posted to Reddit and was subsequently reported by the tech blog Mashable.
— Bear Grylls (@BearGrylls) May 18, 2011
Bear Grylls’ AMA Thread
On September 13th, 2011, several months after the request was made, Grylls started an AMA thread on Reddit. He answered the questions via YouTube videos, which were collected on the DegreeMen channel. User bonds7 asked him how he felt about being an iconic internet personality and he responded with a reference to drinking his own pee:
Discovery Channel Termination
On March 13th, 2012, the entertainment news blog The Hollywood Reporter published an article revealing that the Discovery Channel had terminated its relationship with Grylls citing a “continuing contractual dispute.” The following day, Grylls published a tweet assuring fans not to worry and that he would be back to drinking his own pee soon.
thanks guys. But don’t worry…I’ll be drinking my pee again soon!
— Bear Grylls (@BearGrylls) March 14, 2012
Hollywood Reporter – Discovery Terminates Relationship With ‘Man vs. Wild’ Star Bear Grylls