The creation of GIFs—especially those that comment on current events—has become an integral part of The Daily Show’s content strategy. “Some jokes are better transmitted visually,” says Hedayati. “Anytime there’s a popular piece of footage circulating, it’s fun for us to play with it, manipulate it, and add a little commentary.”
But while Noah, Flanz, and Hedayati had a feeling that their “BBC Dad” spoof would gain traction, they didn’t quite expect the virality that followed. The original was so widely shared that the spoof was easy to recognize. “But who would’ve thought that putting Trump’s grinning mug on a swaggering child would be such a perfect fit?” On The Daily Show’s Twitter feed alone, the GIF has received 23,000 likes and 14,000 retweets.
Around the same time The Daily Show was brainstorming their interpretation, an artist based in San Francisco couldn’t get the “BBC Dad” clip out of his head. “The whole video was funny, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the individual movements of the two children and how hilarious and essential to the clip they were,” says Chris Gerringer, an artist, animator, and web developer. “I thought that if I got them down on paper, they’d leave my head.”
So Gerringer spent 30 minutes sketching Kelly’s two children and animating the drawings to imitate their moves. He posted the resulting animation, which pared the BBC blooper down to the bespectacled toddler’s disco-strut and the baby’s waddle, on Twitter. While other GIFs he’s concocted similarly riff on pop cultural visuals he finds amusing and relevant—and have garnered a devoted following on Twitter and Instagram—none of his work has ever gone full-stop viral.