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“Nope! Chuck Testa” is a catchphrase associated with taxidermist Chuck Testa from Ojai Valley, California. The expression became popular after an advertisement for his services, produced by filmmakers Rhett McLaughlin and Charles “Link” Neal, was posted to Reddit in September of 2011.
On August 14th, 2011, a video titled “Official Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV Commercial” was uploaded via YouTube. The video featured several skits in which people were fooled into thinking Testa’s taxidermied animals are alive before he would suddenly appear and proclaim “Nope! Chuck Testa.”
The video remained largely unnoticed until it was submitted to Reddit in a post titled “This is probably the funniest low-budget commercial I have ever seen” by user LunaMcLovin on September 15th, 2011. The post reached the front page and received over 12,000 up votes within the first 24 hours. Within eight months, the video had accumulated over 11 million views.
Testa’s Ojai Valley Taxidermy was selected in May of 2011 to appear in an episode of Commercial Kings, an IFC television show centered around the production of viral advertisements for small businesses starring YouTube filmmakers Rhett and Link. The show was launched after Rhett and Link successfully produced several viral commercials for their “I Love Local Commercials” web series, including the “Red House Furniture”, “Cullman Liquidation Center” and “TDM Auto” ads.
On September 15th, 2011, the video was posted to BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post and Best Week Ever. The same day, the first photoshop derivative was posted by Redditor KerrickLong, featuring an image of a shark attacking a man climbing into a helicopter. The post reached the front page, receiving over 11,000 up votes within the first 24 hours.
On September 16th, round-ups of Chuck Testa-related images were posted on both BoingBoing and BuzzFeed. The same day, an AMA (Ask Me Anything) Request for Chuck Testa was posted by Redditor alecsince87 and the “Nope, It’s Chuck Testa” Tumblr blog was launched. On September 19th, 2011, the Internet humor blog Smosh published a series of notable photoshopped examples featuring Chuck Testa. The following day, CNBC published an article titled “An Internet Sensation? Nope, It’s Just Chuck Testa”, which noted that the video had received over 2.8 million views on YouTube.
On October 1st, the single-serving site ChuckTestaRoll.com launched, which featured a looped video of the commercial edited to the beat of M.C. Hammer’s 1990 track “U Can’t Touch This” (shown left). On October 9th, YouTube filmmakers TheFineBros released a video of children commenting on the Chuck Testa commercial (shown right) as part of their “Kids React” web series.
The meme continued to spread on sites like Memebase, FunnyJunk and Tumblr under the tag “#chuck testa.” As of April 27th, 2012, a Facebook public figure page for “Chuck Testa” has received over 54,000 likes.
Most image derivatives took the form of multi-pane exploitables, with the first pane featuring a deceased celebrity or a fictional character and the second pane featuring an exploitable image of Chuck Testa with the caption “Nope.”
Chuck Testa Hat
On September 16th, rumors began circulating that the skull on Testa’s hat was actually a Nazi SS Death’s Head symbol. Testa replied to the rumors by commenting on the YouTube video page:
“Hi everyone! Thanks for buzz regarding the commercial, just wanted to address the pin on my hat. I’m part of the California historical group who does WW2 reenactments. I’m part of the US 2nd infantry division and I retrieved the pin in a battle against the 12th SS. I apologize if this offended anyone, hope you can enjoy the video for what it is.
Chuck Testa Response
On September 18th, 2011, Chuck Testa responded to the commercial’s success in a YouTube video titled “Chuck Testa says thank you.” In the video, Testa thanked viewers and Rhett & Link for the positive reaction to the ad.
On September 20th, BuzzFeed interviewed Chuck Testa and the producers of the video Rhett and Link. During the Q&A session, Testa stated that he had been unaware of Internet memes and viral videos prior to his stardom, but he was pleased to see his video take off and receive positive support form the viewers:
BuzzFeed: Had you seen many viral videos before this?
Chuck Testa: Let me put it to you this way. I don’t even have a cell phone. I hadn’t even heard the word, what do you call them? Mimes? Memes?
When asked whether the commercial was produced with intent for viral reception, Rhett and Link stated that they worked closely with Testa on the delivery of the punchline (“Nope, it’s Chuck Testa”) and hinted at the importance of catchphrases in creating viral commercials:
BuzzFeed: Were you hoping that the punchline -- “Nope, it’s Chuck Testa” -- would turn into the kind of thing that people would quote themselves and incorporate into their own jokes? Were you aiming to make a meme?
Link: We definitely scripted and conceptualized the repetition of the “Nope, it’s Chuck Testa” line in a way that people would find funny. I had the concept but we did not anticipate how people would react. That said, what we’ve learned from this experience will definitely inform how we make commercials in the future. I couldn’t predict how Chuck would say “Nope.” I had an idea for how I wanted him to sound, and we got there, but the online reaction is the kind of stuff, what people do with it, that you can’t predict.
Rhett: The approach is always to make something that people latch onto.
Dope Zebra Video
On January 19th, 2012, Rhett and Link uploaded a video titled “Dope Zebra – Rhett & Link”, which featured a person dancing in a Zebra suit who is revealed to be Chuck Testa at the end. The video received over 3.6 million views within three months.
The Huffington Post – Ojai Valley Taxidermy Commercial Is The Perfect Local Ad
Best Week Ever – This Local Taxidermy Commercial Is Perfect In Every Way
Huffington Post – Chuck Testa Meme Blurs The Line Between Life And Death