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“Come At Me Bro” is a confrontational expression used to suggest that one will not physically initiate a fight but is willing to fight if the situation arises. In image macro, the phrase is typically overlaid on a picture wherein the subject is making an aggressive posture, usually with arms spread out to each side.
The phrase was popularized by the cast member Ronnie from Season 1, Episode 6 of the MTV reality series Jersey Shore, originally aired on January 7th, 2010, in which he engages in a physical scuffle with a person on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights, NJ:
Guy: (Begins taunting Ronnie)
Ronnie: Come at me bro!
Guy: (more taunting)
Ronnie: No dude, you come at me bro. Hold your girl back and come at me bro!
Guy: (even more taunting)
Ronnie: COME AT ME BRO, NO YOU COME AT ME BRO!!
(Conversation repeats consecutively and circles for minutes)
On February 10th, 2010, Urban Dictionary user AmericaFTW submitted an entry for “come at me bro,” which cited the Jersey Shore episode as the origin of the phrase. On June 8th, 2011, YouTuber MrWalto69 uploaded a video titled “Zyzz: Come At Me Bro” featuring footage of the deceased amateur bodybuilder Aziz Shavershian (shown below). In the first three years, the video gathered more than 1.56 million views and 4,100 comments.
On September 20th, a photograph was submitted to the /r/pics subreddit, which featured a detention slip given to a student for removing his shirt and yelling “come at me bro” (shown below, left). Prior to being archived, the post gained over 690 up votes and 100 comments. On March 28th, 2012, FunnyJunk user penutbuterjelytime uploaded an animated GIF titled “Come at Me Bro!”, featuring a cow aggressively reacting to a camera with several confrontational captions (shown below, right).
On January 30th, 2013, the viral content site BuzzFeed published a compilation of notable “come at me bro” image macros featuring various animal subjects (shown below, left). On July 8th, BuzzFeed published another “come at me bro” compilation with photographs of United States presidents with outstretched arms (shown below, right).