This particular «meme» is a video that, according to knowyourmeme.com, was filmed and uploaded to YouTube by user “Hungrybear9562” who after the meme’s initial popularity turned out to be Paul Vasquez, a Yosemite Mountain resident.
The content of the video shows a double rainbow across the sky over Yosemite Mountain, with mr. Vasquez behind the camera reacting to the phenomenon. The video sat still, hidden in the dark abyss of YouTube with close to zero views, where only the cult-meme-fanatics could find it, for almost 6 months.
It was not until Jimmy Kimmel tweeted to his more than 90.000 followers saying: “my friend Todd has declared this “funniest video in the world” – he might very well be right http://bit.ly/75ieRc” that the videos popularity started to rise.
The video turned out to be funny, not so much for the visual content, but more for mr. Vasquez’ hilarious reaction to the double rainbow.
Initially, he starts out commenting with great enthusiasm in his voice, then proceeds to start laughing, and finally crying. His reactions are funny because a double rainbow is a relatively common meteorological phenomenon.
Shortly after Kimmel’s tweet, comments started flourishing on the videos comment section, most agreeing that mr. Vasquez was clearly “stoned out of his mind”. Vasquez would later, during a knowyourmeme.com interview, deny any claims that he was intoxicated in any way, saying “The rainbow was the Universe or Spirit flowing through me (…)”
The output for “Double Rainbow” in Google’s insight tool shows this meme has had a relatively short life as an internet phenomena. After Jimmy Kimmel’s tweet about this video, its popularity sky rocketed basically from zero views to become an instant internet hype. Its popularity peaked around July 2010, which was roughly 6 months after mr. Vasquez had uploaded the video on YouTube. Up until present time, the Double Rainbow’s popularity seems to have declined to stabilize at around 15% of its peak popularity.
An interesting fact is that the Double Rainbow has been far more popular in English speaking countries, with the US, UK and New Zealand ranking top 3. There seems to be no good way of deciding its popularity on YouTube, but Double Rainbow has as of now 30.4 million views which, by far, puts the video out of YouTube’s top 160 list of videos.
One interesting thing to mention is that the “Double Rainbow Song” – a spin off video with an auto tune song based on the original exceeds 26 million views. In other words; combine all the videos based on the originals success, and you have a meme that would make its way well up the music video-infested top 160 list on YouTube.
The double rainbow meme does not seem to have given birth to any new meme’s, but indeed has made an impact across the internet with imitating videos, or repost with another humorous addition like the auto tune video mentioned above. There are also several mimicking videos, such as this one where a double rainbow emerges across the sky of Los Angeles, CA.
Other videos based on the original double rainbow include Jennifer Aniston “going viral for Smart Water” -using the Double Rainbow in the promotion video. This way they are hoping to get attention from Double Rainbow fans:
Double Rainbow has even got its own section on Urban Dictionary: “Intense joy, coupled with extreme emotional shifts; an experience equal to an orgasm”
And what would a real internet meme be without merchandise?
And there are several more videos based on Double Rainbow.