Actually I might have been one of the only ones thinking this.
Casey Frey is a digital artist. He is a rather talented dancer but is mainly known for his comedic content. This makes sense, as he started on Vine, an app known for shaping Gen Z’s sense of humor¹, amassing over 250,000 followers before the app’s demise on January 17th 2017..
Casey’s past year has been explosive. His online following has skyrocketed with his Instagram gaining over a million followers in under six months. This, along with his involvement in the Los Angeles digital comedy scene, mainly composed of the cool ex-viners and comedic YouTubers², establishes him as one the premiere online funny people.
However, this is all a bit too serious; after all, we are here to discuss his significance in meme culture and the greater digital renaissance, so let’s rush through the rest of his bio. The video that seemed to really elevate his online presence and memetic iconography was posted on November 30th in 2017.
The most memorable line is: “Whoops, *chuckles* didn’t know this was on, euh, f**k, what’s poppinggg.”
Following this, Casey proceeds do what is likely a caricature of a ‘fuckboi,’ exclaiming that it is ‘lit in here’ then placing his hand below his chin and blowing a kiss.
For context, ‘fuckboi’ is a term for someone who gets around or at least wants you to think they do.
Mainly popularized over the past five years, ‘fuckboi’ has come to be synonymous with a number of digital age cultural artifacts such as thirst traps, unsolicited nudes, ghosting, and just general online douchery.
Urban Dictionary: Fuckboi
A guy who will tell a girl anything to get them to hook up with them. A complete jerk who flirts with multiple girls at…
Regardless of the negative connotation, a number of popular influencers and mainstream content producers tend to embody a rather similar ethos³, but how does any of this pertain to Casey?
In my opinion, this one bit is what Casey is most known for today. Following this post, his ‘fuckboi’ impersonation has proven to be one of his most reoccurring and successful bits, repeatedly generating a new surge of memes and assorted viral content every time it graces the internet.
With the popularity and decimation of Instagram content being so reliant on the Explore page, it is probable that these viral videos and their resulting parodies have largely contributed to his growth over the past year. However inside of this growth, there is an interesting phenomena.
Some people don’t know he is joking.
Most memes rely on the viewer being in on the joke. Casey’s impersonation is no exception. As his shirtless parodies proceed to go viral time and time again, those unfamiliar with Casey are forced to ask: why is this popular? Is this person being serious? Do people find this attractive?
And if they choose to entertain an answer by proxy of views and likes, then the answer might be yes.
In reality, this a minority of his viewers, but through mocking the fuckboi’s of the world via parody, Casey ends up positioning himself within their vein of content, indirectly participating in what he chooses to satirize.
The result is, some sort of meme sex symbol.
Beyond this virality induced sexual appeal, there is a strong case for Casey acting as a sort of ideal in his own right.
He is a digital renaissance person. While clearly a fantastic character actor, Casey is also an all-style dancer, former student of Nerdist Improv, and likely a talented editor/director, given the need to develop said skills if you want to create content at a professional level.
With this variety of skills pertinent to the digital age, I posit he is a good embodiment of desired person of our time. Especially given the rather startling fact that most young people would love to have his career.
The Most-Desired Career Among Young People Today Is 'YouTuber' (Study) - Tubefilter
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Furthermore, it is important to emphasize the significance of the dancing portion of his skillset.
If content creation is the ideal profession, the fastest road to employment is dance.
Apps like TikTok only further support this premise, offering a content format seemingly ripe for generating viral dance moves⁴.
Through all of this, Casey has not only shown he is an incredibly talented dancer, he has directly influenced those are the definitive, albeit manufactured, sex symbols of our time.
I’m talking about K-Pop.
Yes, that is V, famed member of BTS, the most popular K-Pop group in the world, doing a dance move from one of Casey’s recent videos.
This alone should speak volumes about the memetic influence, coolness, popularity, or trendiness of Casey.
If BTS, a group of artists practically engineered to embody the cutting edge of popular, are pulling dance moves from Casey, then clearly he is having a significant cultural impact.
Lastly, on a physical level, he definitely meets some of the generational criteria for a potential sex symbol. Twitter’s fascination with sleep-deprived, tall, lanky white guys, might have been brought to public attention through Pete Davidson, but it certainly does not stop there.
While clearly not the focus of his content, Casey does hit the mark for a particular type, and a number of recent memes serve to corroborate.
If you’ve made it this far into the think piece, I have to congratulate you. Thank you for entertaining my nonsense; your reward is a confession. I don’t really think Casey is a sex symbol.
Instead, he is something more akin to a post-ironic influencer.
To quote Wikipedia:
Within the wealth of content Casey produces, there is a loss of understanding about what is and is not genuine.
Saying he is simply mocking fuckboi’s or exploitative influencers would be disingenuous. It misses the bigger picture. What Casey seems to be doing is beyond irony.
Through blending mediums and personas, seamlessly slipping in and out of different characters almost regularly on his Instagram stories, Casey traverses a realm of content which alternates between sincerity and parody.
There is no clear division between Casey and the characters he is beloved for.
Still, it certainly is fair to say that as a meme, he is being associated with a degree of both real and fake sexual interest, similar to that of Ricardo or shirtless Kylo Ren (other verified Meme Sex Symbols). Here I can say with confidence, Casey is a meme sex symbol.
Still, even that concept further embodies some degree of post-irony, as a meme sex symbol evokes both irony and sincerity with how it is generated and received.
Ultimately, I want you to take away that Casey is a figurehead or pillar within the greater digital renaissance (read my other article) and is only going to continue to be so. He is truly at the beginning of his career, and the influence he has had on the greater digital comedy world is quite palpable (and perhaps a topic for another time).
In my opinion, he and the greater network he is involved with will only continue to grow in popularity, becoming the major faces of comedy within the next two decades.
Alright, that’s all I got. If you enjoyed this piece, give me a clap or comment down below.
1. It is fairly well known that Vine, and now TikTok, have had ramifications on the styles of comedy that dominate popular culture. This is shown through specific camera techniques or the speed/style of jokes.
2. The graphic below this footnote number does a good job of showing parts of this network, but there are far more creators than I am capable of listing. What makes me classify some as a cool ex-viners (some were not on vine) is that they are widely acknowledged to be more publicly appreciated than other ex-viners like Logan Paul or Lele Pons, known for more exploitative antics.
3. In the same way that Justin Bieber has been accused of embodying the ‘fuckboi’ ethos, many popular influencers (primarily on Instagram and TikTok) also carry this torch. Their content typically relies solely on their looks and many have a history of questionable or reprehensible behavior further fitting with the jurisdiction.