In a stunning usage of comedy, the generally stiff-upper-lipped White House Twitter feed actually pulled a prank on somebody last week. After Twitter follower David Wiggs tweeted that last week’s White House correspondence briefing “wasn’t nearly as entertaining as yesterday’s [the day before’s]”, Dean Praetorious from Huffington Post reported that the White House responded quickly. They wrote back, “Sorry to hear that. Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun.” The @WhiteHouse feed then linked to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video, commonly known as “Rickrolling”.
This is an often-done prank, in which somebody disguises a link as something else, usually using something like Tinyurl, which the White House used, or Bit.ly as a masking agent. Instead, people link to Astley’s 1980s hit. (Bonus points for Rickrolling someone while their sound is on in a public location.) Astley even Rickrolled himself during the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, when he interrupted a performance by Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends to sing his song.
It’s always fun when the White House or any highly scrutinized public domain shows a sense of humor. Outside of the always fun White House Correspondents Dinner, the White House usually takes itself very seriously. On Twitter, it’s difficult to follow brands and establishments that don’t offer any entertainment value. I personally don’t follow the White House or other big companies because I know that they take themselves too seriously and won’t ever entertain me through their feed. Having some quick jokes like this is a nice way to tell the online universe that the establishment can relate to the average Joe. I hope this trend keeps up.