Where Does the ‘Play This at My Funeral’ Meme Come From?

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“Play this at my funeral” used to have one basic meaning, relating to funeral songs someone might wish to include in their own memorial service.

However, the internet often gives new meaning to old phrases. Such is the case with “play this at my funeral.” Back in 2017, a series of videos whose creators took inspiration from a humorous advertisement became one of the most popular online memes for a few weeks.

Jump ahead to these sections:

You may have missed the “play this at my funeral” meme during the height of its popularity. Maybe you’d also like to learn more about how it managed to capture the attention of so many internet users.

This overview will cover the origins of the “play this at my funeral” meme and describe key examples of it. It even offers tips for making your own version!

Origin of ‘Play This at My Funeral’

The “play this at my funeral” meme actually began as an official advertisement for the music streaming service Spotify. The clip features Joe Jonas mentioning to his DNCE bandmates that he found some of their songs on a playlist of the same name. He then admits he struggles to imagine anyone listening to their songs at a funeral.

Next, the clip depicts what Jonas imagines such a funeral would look like. Mourners carry a casket in a procession, and although they’re wearing the typical sad faces you would expect to see at such an occasion, they’re also smoothly dancing to the DNCE song “Body Moves.”

The ad seemed to resonate with amateur internet content creators. Soon, “play this at my funeral” became one of the most popular death memes on the web in the form of remixed videos using different songs to similar effect. The following are merely some of the more noteworthy examples:

“Thomas the Tank Engine” & Biggie Smalls

The combination of a funeral scene with a pop dance number like “Body Moves” was already amusing, but the ad becomes genuinely hilarious when a combo of Biggie Smalls and the theme to “Thomas the Tank Engine” plays over the somber proceedings.

Smash Mouth & Minecraft

Sometimes, the funniest internet memes are the ones that embrace pure absurdity. For example, in this take on the “play this at my funeral” meme, a YouTuber swapped out “Body Moves,” replacing it with a very low-quality recording of someone rapping about the game Minecraft to the tune of Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”

Why is it so funny? As is the case with many hilarious internet memes, the answer is simple if unsatisfying: It just is.

“All Star”

The above example featured what may be the most lo-fi (and lyrically inaccurate!) cover of “All Star” anyone has ever recorded.

However, one version of this meme uses the actual song. Its peppy energy contrasts starkly with the sadness of a funeral scene, resulting in yet another bizarrely effective remix.

“Shooting Stars” & “Never Gonna Give You Up”

This take on the meme works for a few reasons. Naturally, the fact that “Shooting Stars” by Bag Raiders and “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley are definitely inappropriate choices for a funeral ensures viewers enjoy a good laugh watching the clip.

However, this version of the “play this at my funeral” meme stands out because of the almost uncanny way the rhythms of the two songs seem to match up with the rhythm of the dancers in the clip.

Anime 

One version of the “play this at my funeral” meme actually consists of multiple remixes in one. Over the course of five minutes, the ad plays on repeat, with a new anime TV show theme song subbed in for “Body Moves” every time.

ยป MORE: The practical steps after a loss can be the hardest. This checklist explains everything you need to do.

 

What Does ‘Play This at My Funeral’ Mean?

In a literal sense, “play this at my funeral” is simply a request someone might make when listing their funeral wishes. It’s not uncommon for people to tell loved ones they’d like them to play certain songs at their eventual funeral or memorial service.

That said, even before it became a Spotify ad that evolved into a meme with a life of its own, the saying “play this at my funeral” was already a minor internet meme in some way. The Spotify ad works because users of various streaming services and platforms often comment “play this at my funeral” on songs and music videos.

These comments are typically ironic. Users who leave them tend to do so when a song is clearly not a traditional funeral choice. In fact, some versions of the “play this at my funeral” meme start by first showing a screenshot of such a comment, indicating the song that particular version of the meme features is one others have literally asked to have played at their funerals.

Where Will You Find the ‘Play This at My Funeral’ Meme Today?

Most popular versions of the “play this at my funeral” meme are on YouTube. Along with individual videos, YouTube is also home to compilations, allowing you to watch some of the best versions of the meme at once. 

Keep in mind that while the “play this at my funeral” frenzy has died down, some internet content creators are almost certainly still experimenting with their own unique takes on the meme. If you have basic video editing skills, you could create your own! Because the meme is no longer nearly as popular as it once was, you shouldn’t expect your version to attract too much attention, but nevertheless, this could be a fun little project.

Consider the following tips if you want to give it a shot. Although you should trust your own creativity when deciding which type of song to use, they may help you narrow down your choices.

Consider your sense of humor

Most of the popular versions of this meme feature songs that are upbeat and danceable. These tunes match the dance moves of the actors particularly well.

That said, some versions, like the “All Star”/Minecraft rap remix, don’t bother with trying to match up a song’s rhythm with that of the dancing on screen. 

Neither approach is “better.” You just have to consider your own sense of humor when deciding which type of song to play.

Search around

If your goal is to create an original version of the “play this at my funeral” meme, it pays to spend some time on YouTube.

View as many existing videos as you can. There are quite a few out there, and you might want to confirm that someone hasn’t already created a version using your song of choice.

Choose the right moment

The clip’s footage of dancers is only a few seconds long. The most entertaining versions of the “play this at my funeral” meme are those whose creators carefully chose the perfect moment from a song to ensure the strongest comedic effect.

Don’t forget about lyrics!

Plenty of “play this at my funeral” videos are funny simply because the upbeat song playing over a funeral procession seems hilariously out of place. That said, many of the truly memorable versions feature songs with rhythm and lyrics inappropriate for a funeral. 

Don’t be afraid to go dark!

A funny video about a funeral is already likely to be somewhat darkly humorous. If you’re experimenting with dark humor already, you shouldn’t need to worry about going all in. 

For example, the version of this meme featuring Smash Mouth’s “All Star” isn’t funny simply because the song seems too energetic for a funeral. The video is also funny because there’s something just a little dark about lyrics describing someone as an all-star sung over a video of someone’s casket. 

Experiment

Again, your goal may be to create a very original take on an old meme. Think outside the box if this is the case. For instance, instead of replacing “Body Moves” with another song, you might find a different type of audio clip (such as a famous speech) that oddly works in this context.

‘Play This at My Funeral’: Coping With a Tough Topic

“Play this at my funeral” is somewhat unique compared to certain other entertaining online memes. These videos may be more than amusing distractions. By helping you laugh about death, they may help you cope.


Sources

  1. Lieu, Johnny. “‘Play this at my funeral’ meme takes Spotify campaign ad to its extreme.” Mashable, Mashable, Inc., 5 May 2017, mashable.com/2017/05/05/play-this-at-my-funeral-spotify-meme/

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