Here’s what the smoking duck meme means, and why it’s a gay icon

If you’ve opened X (formerly Twitter) in the past week, you’ve no doubt come face to face with a certain smoking duck. 

In the now widespread gif, a cartoon duck with half-shut eyes chuckles and shakes its head while holding a lit joint. It calls to mind nostalgia. Reflection. A “c’est la vie” attitude of acceptance. But why did it go viral, and why is it such a gay icon?

The gif itself dates back to 2019, when it was made for the messaging app Telegram. But it only reached viral fame this month thanks to repeated use by icons of Gay Twitter™, including @computer_gay and @brandochii. (The latter even reacted to his own part in the phenomenon.)

Since then, usage has skyrocketed, with people posting the duck alongside song lyrics, ironic situations, and corny duck puns.

Folks have gotten creative with their takes on the meme, using other duck gifs from the original artist (which you can find by searching for “cxyduck” on gif databases)…

…using edited versions of the original, including everything from an Ice Spice Duck, to an emo duck, to a Loosey LaDuca duck…

…and even pulling real-life ducks into the conversation.

The meme is so popular the posts have gotten meta, with folks making jokes about how inescapable the duck seems to be.

Even celebrities are getting in on the action, with South African singer Tyla using the smoking duck to promote her debut album.

Long story short, the smoking duck took over the internet in a matter of days — and we’re all happy to be breathing in its secondhand smoke.

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