How Bad Can I Be? The Lorax meme

How Bad Can I Be? (The Lorax)

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Updated May 13, 2023 at 06:34AM EDT by Rebecca Rhodes.

Added May 12, 2023 at 11:01AM EDT by Owen.

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How Bad Can I Be? also known as C'mon How Bad Can It Possibly Be? refers to a song from the animated movie The Lorax (based on the Dr. Suess book) performed by The Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms) in which he's playing the guitar and rationalizing though the lyrics why he's not evil and how what he's doing is "good for the economy." The song trended in memetic remixes and YouTube Poop Music Videos upon the film's 2012 release; however, the song and movie scene didn't become a predominant meme trend until early 2023 on TikTok, following the popularity of other Lorax-related TikTok trends such as the Lorax leaving and "If it has a screen the Lorax can be seen". The meme is also similar to the precursor trend "Let It Grow" that used a different song from the 2012 movie.


On March 2nd, 2012, The Lorax movie was released in American theaters.[1] In one scene of the movie, The Once-ler (played by Ed Helms) sings a song called "How Bad Can I Be?" which was written by John Powell, Allan Grigg and Paul Cinco.[2] About a year later, on July 19th, 2013, YouTuber[3] Jimmie Channel uploaded the scene from the film in HD with lyrics, gaining roughly 19 million views in 10 years (shown below).

Currently, the first-known memetic variation of the song was a video uploaded by YouTuber[4] Joeyblondewolf2 on June 18th, 2012, in which they were cosplaying as the Once-ler and doing a cover of the song and recreation of the movie scene. Over the course of 11 years, the video gained roughly 5.1 million views and 47,000 likes (shown below).


Starting in late 2016 and early 2017, YouTube[5] users started to post bass-boosted and earrape YouTube Poop versions of a different song from The Lorax movie called "Let It Grow." The "Let It Grow" trend inspired others on YouTube to make similar videos with "How Bad Can I Be?" For instance, on January 11th, 2017, YouTuber[6] EarwigPlant uploaded a video called, "How bad can i be but its in the description," gaining roughly 4 million views and 59,000 likes in six years (shown below, left). On December 21st, 2017, YouTuber[7] ask343 uploaded a Roblox version of the song, gaining roughly 2.8 million views and 46,000 likes in six years (shown below, right).

TikTok Trend

Starting in 2022, TikTokers started to add captions to the "How Bad Can I Be?" video that imagined situations in which someone was convincing another that they weren't bad. For instance, one of the earliest known was posted by TikToker[8] @coldymccold on July 4th, 2022, gaining roughly 18,600 plays and 800 likes in 10 months (shown below, left). On September 3rd, 2023, TikToker[9] @pickle_l0l posted a video that followed the same format, gaining roughly 89,900 plays and 3,800 likes in eight months (shown below, right).

@coldymccold πŸ€‘πŸ€‘πŸ€‘ #fyp #fypγ‚· #foryou #foryoupage #πŸ₯ΆπŸ₯ΆπŸ₯Ά #funny #howbadcanibe #lorax #rich #wowguysimrich ♬ original sound – Coldy

@pickle_l0l #howbadcanibe #memes #fyp ♬ Why are yall using this sound – Pickle

In early 2023, the meme format became increasingly viral, evident in a video posted by TikToker[10] @__cloaked on March 9th, 2023 that identified Disney "discovering gay people," gaining roughly 4.2 million plays and 820,300 likes in two months (shown below, left). In May 2023, other types of viral memes used the song, such as a video posted by TikToker[11] @quangworld on May 5th, 2023, which received roughly 1.1 million plays and 179,900 likes in one week (shown below, right).

@__cloaked Disney be making bag πŸ’Έ#viral #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #xyzbca #relatable #disney #meme #thelorax ♬ How Bad Can I Be? – Ed Helms

@quangworld #lorax #funny #quangworld#fypγ‚· ♬ How Bad Can I Be? – Ed Helms

By May 12th, 2023, the TikTok sound for "How Bad Can I Be?" had amassed over 463,500 videos using it.[12]

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