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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What We're Reading: Washington Post on Cuyahoga Falls Resident 'Bad Luck Brian' and Internet Fame

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 10:10 AM

You know Bad Luck Brian, right? That handsome chap in the photo above? Of course you do. 

His real name — although you'd never thought to ask before — is Kyle Craven, and he lives in Cuyahoga Falls. More than two years after his goofy smile (an intentional gaffe on school picture day) graced the Internet, the Washington Post trekked up to Summit County to get the scoop on the life of an Internet star in the waning days of meme relevance. 

What does being an "Internet star" mean? A quick primer:
The people who enjoy Bad Luck Brian on the Internet don’t seem to mind [that he's just Kyle Craven]. He appears at conferences such as VidCon and Indy Pop Con, where he sells T-shirts while wearing a different sweater vest.

They look at the photo, look at him and squeal as if they’ve just won a backstage pass to the Internet. He takes pictures with thousands of these fans, and they tell him things like, “When my grandpa was really sick, I always looked at Bad Luck Brian photos to make me laugh.” They thank him, as if he were the one writing and posting the memes.

He has been asked to let people use his picture for advertisements in Germany, Chile, Poland and Puerto Rico. Here, he has been part of ad campaigns for Volkswagen and RealPlayer. He negotiates all the deals himself.

Between licensing deals and T-shirts, he estimates he’s made between $15,000 and $20,000 off Bad Luck Brian in three years.

Certainly not enough to live off, he says, “but not bad for doing basically nothing.”
In the end, Craven is humble and amused: “It’s something to show my grandkids one day, right?” Craven says. 

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