How Smash Mouth's "All Star" Made Us Hit the Apex of Banter

Banter is dead, long live banter.
Lauren O'Neill
London, United Kingdom
July 5, 2017, 10:53am

Here is basically what you need to know: there's a guy called Richard Cook who, for the last week, has been tweeting the lyrics of "All Star" by Smash Mouth via the first word of each of his tweets, like this:

And so on, and so on. The Irish Times has embedded them all if that's something you're interested in.

Which, OK, good. You have "won the internet" with this "motherfucking epic XD" joke. "Awesome." And yes, I respect the effort and commitment. But I would also wager that this effort and commitment is exactly why this joke is kind of not that funny? When you really think about the practicalities, the planning of the thing, the lols unravel. For example, because tweets show up on timelines chronologically, he'd have had to begin at the end of the song and work his way backwards through every single word. There may well have been a literal Google Doc. There was probably more than one Google Doc, perhaps one as a spreadsheet and the other as just a Word doc.

And isn't a Google Doc, truly, the antithesis of banter? Banter should never be colour coded or organized. It should never be anywhere the fuck near a comment bubble. Banter is beautiful; it is a natural phenomenon. It should not take sustained trying and it certainly should not take a tweet actually directing people to itself. Like the elements, banter cannot be contained, it moves like the wind. It is the sound of "oh Jeremy Corbyn" rising from a crowd of the moderately-to-very pissed; it is dancing to the Vengaboys in the street; it is a fucking emu. It should grow, organic, like a beautiful flower with cans for its petals, and it should descend spontaneously like a cherubic chorus but instead of actual angels it's just a group of lads on a stag do in 'togas' they've made in five minutes out of bedsheets from Wilkinson's.

But then, perhaps by analyzing this banter, I am the one who is wrong. Perhaps I should just let the banter go free in the world, effort be damned. After all, "All Star" has been a meme for many years, made particularly hot by one Jon Sudano, the guy who sings "All Star" over loads of different songs on YouTube. So perhaps this is banter's apex, not its death (perhaps, indeed, it is both)—the logical conclusion to years of Smash Mouth based jokes. Banter, like the meaning of life, is elusive. And what Richard Cook's banter tells us more than anything is that banter is in the eye of the beholder—what I think is not banterous (these tweets), someone else may love and cherish. Either way, we're probably at peak banter now. Banter is dead. Long live banter.

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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)