As It Happens

A Joe Biden memes guy on his post-election fame

The Twittersphere is engulfed with memes of imaginary conversations between Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama. As it Happens speaks with one of the creators of those memes — Josh Billinson.
Josh Billinson, right, has been creating memes about Joe Biden. (Left: Twitter/@jbillinson, Right: Josh Billinson)

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If you've been on Twitter since the U.S. election, you've probably come across some pretty tense and divisive tweets.

But, as the dust settles, the Twittersphere has also turned to humour in the form of a new obsession — memes of imaginary conversations between President Obama and America's favourite uncle, Vice President Joe Biden. Many feature Biden plotting pranks against President-elect Donald Trump. 

Josh Billinson is one of the people behind these memes. His tweets have been shared thousands of times in recent weeks. Here's part of his conversation with As it Happens host Carol Off.

CAROL OFF: Josh, what inspired you to create these memes?

JOSH BILLINSON: I think it's something that has been out for a while before the election. I think the Onion — the satirical newspaper — kind of crafted this image of [Joe Biden] as Uncle Joe for a couple years now. After the election, I was not feeling so hot. I thought I'd find a light-hearted way to poke some fun at it that wasn't so serious. I guess it just really struck a chord with a lot of people. They seem to appreciate it. 

CO: So, I presume you were not feeling so good after the election because you didn't like the results.

JB: Yeah, that's one way to put it.

CO: What is it about these two men that lends itself to this kind of meme, this kind of joke?

JB: I think they both just come off as very genuine and very personable ... If you bumped into them on the street, they seem like they would be friendly people you could talk to. So, to imagine these people who have these very serious jobs acting like teenagers in the White House, it's very appealing to people. Just the fact that it feels like a political joke, but it's not really. It's childish humour. It's apolitical. I've gotten responses from people on all sides of the political spectrum, people from  all over the world, telling me that this is something they've been able to laugh about. And they really haven't found anything these last few days to laugh about. 

CO: Now, I understand one thing that you asked Joe Biden to do — that he has not done yet — is to have ice cream with him.

JB: I have. Yes. I sent a letter a while ago, back in March, trying to see if it could maybe get to his desk. It didn't. I got a form letter back. But I'm hoping, with this new found thing, I can maybe push that through. I just want to say thanks to the guy. And there's a lot of hilarious pictures of Joe Biden eating ice cream on the internet too.

CO: Well, the fact that these memes have gone viral, as they say, and there's actually been stories about you doing this, do you think it has come to the attention of those folks in the White House?

"I have to imagine that Joe Biden knows that this is happening. If he does, I'd love to come down there. . . Get some ice cream."- Josh Billinson, meme creator
Vice President Joe Biden enjoys an ice cream cone after a campaign rally for Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
JB: I'd like to think that he knows about it. If he doesn't, chances are someone in his office has heard about it. It has been picked up on so many news sources. I saw an article in German talking about my tweets. It has really just taken off everywhere. I have to imagine that he knows that this is happening. If he does, I'd love to come down there. It's a 20 minute, 15 minute, drive to the White House for me with traffic. I could get there. Get some ice cream.


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