The “You Guys Are Getting Paid?” meme originates from the 2013 comedy film, “We’re the Millers.” In a memorable scene, the character of Kenny Rossmore, played by Will Poulter, expresses his surprise when he learns that other characters are receiving payment for their involvement in a drug smuggling operation. This line encapsulates the humor and irony that would later fuel the meme’s popularity.
Rise to meme status
The transition from being a line of movie dialogue into a widespread meme began in early 2019. The first known iteration of this meme appeared on the subreddit r/dankmemes, in reference to the mobile game Mafia City.
The post laid the groundwork for the meme’s format, which combines the image of Poulter’s character with captions that reflect surprise about monetary gains in various contexts. The meme quickly gained traction, spreading across social media platforms and evolving with each new iteration.
The face behind the meme
Will Poulter, the actor behind the iconic line, is a well-known English actor with roles in several blockbuster films, including “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “The Maze Runner,” and “The Revenant.”
But it was Poulter’s portrayal of Kenny in “We’re the Millers” that inadvertently established him as a viral meme figure. Fans realizing that Poulter is the guy from the “You Guys Are Getting Paid?” meme has only added further to his and the meme’s popularity.
The movie behind the meme
“We’re the Millers,” directed by Rawson M. Thurber, features a star-studded cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, and, of course, Will Poulter. The plot revolves around a small-time marijuana dealer who, after being robbed, is forced to smuggle drugs from Mexico.
In order to avoid suspicion, he hires his neighbors to pose as his family and high jinks ensue. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing $270 million worldwide.
Evolution and usage
The “You Guys Are Getting Paid?” meme’s spread on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit has been meteoric. Users have applied the meme to a myriad of situations, making it a staple in online humor. Its adaptability to different contexts and the universal theme of unexpected monetary gain have contributed to its enduring presence in internet culture.
When it comes to expressing shock or doubt, this meme has become a versatile tool, especially in instances where someone is unaware of the compensation others are receiving for a task. The meme has been adapted for various scenarios, from workplace humor to social media trends, showcasing its broad appeal and relatability.
This meme is a prime example of how a single line from a movie can transcend its original context and gain a new life as a viral internet sensation. It highlights the power of humor and relatability in meme culture and how an actor’s delivery of a simple line of dialogue can resonate with audiences in unforeseen ways. As the meme continues to evolve and be shared, it stands as a testament to the internet’s constant quest for new avenues of humor.