Instagram is a tough place for any content creator to grind their way to the top, and doubly so for those who prefer to make image memes rather than videos. That didn’t stop Bearbubb (known on Instagram as Bearboob) from standing tall in the video-dominated scene, proving that creativity, a sense of humor and out-of-the-box thinking are all you really need to make big it as a mememaker.
Bearbubb started posting memes in late 2017, gathering his first 1000 followers that year, but he didn’t really take mememaking seriously until early 2018. His rapid rise to becoming a big name in the Instagram’s OC scene began with a meme comic series called “The Shaqverse,” launched as a response to the Ajit Pai vs. the Internet drama that unfolded in late 2017. After that, Bearbubb came up with more characters to help his account grow: first with Alan the Useless Roman, and then, in early January 2019, with his signature Wide Dog.
Bearbubb: I love Wide Dog. I have to. He’s like a son to me. I put him in a lot of my memes mainly because of the response it gets from my followers. For instance, the recent Wide Dog meme is him just asking for people to say goodnight, and the comments are split between “Goodnight Wide Dog I love you!” and “I HATE YOU WIDE DOG IDIOT”. It’s extremely entertaining on my part.
There is no simple recipe for becoming successful in the world of memes. With TikToks, YouTube compilations and even Instagram Reels, videos have easier time than images spreading across various platforms online. Bearbubb readily acknowledges the challenge. But while his follower count became harder to grow, his like counts keep getting higher and higher, he admits.
Bearbubb: I’ve theorized that when people come to my account, they are there for a “bearbubb” style meme, rather than one that can easily be shared for virality. It’s an acquired taste of stupidity.
Images will always remain Bearbubb’s bread and butter, he says, but he has been no stranger to making videos himself. Creating videos takes more effort and more thought power – not just the joke, but also making the video “flow” so it doesn’t appear boring. But with his expansion to TikTok, making video edits became a worthwhile endeavor.
Bearbubb: TikTok’s algorithm trumps Instagram’s any day, so usually the reward for the effort is much more satisfying on TikTok than on Instagram.
Early on, Bearbubb used to upload new memes as frequently as possible, making three posts a day at the very start. But now that he has over 350,000 subscribers on Instagram alone, he is taking things slower, not willing to post subpar memes just for the sake of posing.
Bearbubb: I usually now take time to look around, make a video meme, and really wait on that urge to go “yes, that’s a funny meme.”
Burning out from being too involved in meme culture is no joke, too.
Bearbubb: It’s been three years, of course I get tired. I think genuinely my mind has been tainted by consuming so much meme content over the years, I feel like I have a library of useless meme trends residing in my mind where I could have filled it with good memories with loved ones. But all I see now when I think of my family is Big Chungus. Oh god.
Recalling the most grandiose memes in his three-year career, Bearbubb points out one meme that took him 242 days to complete. Not because it required that much effort; rather, it had to do with planning for the perfect set up and punchline. Panels of But Sire, Our Troops meme, one posted seven months after the others, show just the way Bearbubb finds unique ways to reinvent routine formats.
Bearbubb: On that day, I woke to a ton of tagged images of others reposting the final panel. That meme literally took a year to complete.
Besides creativity, making memes that he himself finds funny is another important component to Bearbubb’s process.
Bearbubb: If It makes me laugh when I think of it, it will usually be a good meme to make. Usually it’s really random and dumb memes that hit my magic spot, memes that literally have zero comedic elements to them. It could literally be a picture of Obama with “The” written in Impact font, and I would laugh.
Bearbubb’s personal feed is mostly other OC pages – looking at other people’s memes helps him with ideas and inspiration, he admits. After three years of successful mememaking, picking memes and trends that are bound to go big comes natural to him.
Bearbubb: After a while you can usually predict when a meme will blow up or not, so if I see a meme or an event and think “that’ll make a good meme”, I’ll meme it.
Among his favorite 2020 memes, Bearbubb names Wait, It’s All Ohio? Always Has Been and This Edible Ain’t Shit, the latter of which he helped kickstart. His all-time favorite? That would be My Name Is Jeff.
Bearbubb: It’s simple, sweet, and only a certain generation of people will actually find it funny for its true meme meaning.
As for his own creations, Bearbubb’s top pick is his I’m Stuff meme about the movie Grown Ups 2.
You can find more of Bearbubb’s memes on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok – and follow him on Twitch!