Being a celebrity in 2018 is all about access: people want influencers to constantly create new content, or they expect regular fan interaction. The golden YouTube standard is daily uploads, while Twitch streamers broadcast for hours on end. So when Twitch’s biggest Fortnite streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins went offline for some of the day last week, fans wondered if something had happened to him. That’s when a troll stepped in to “explain” the situation.
The aptly named Instagram account “Ninja Hater” created a terrible Photoshop that put the Fortnite extraordinaire next to deceased figures such as Michael Jackson and Tupac. It was obviously fake — the appended caption read, “lets make fake news,” meaning that the user wanted people to believe Blevins had died during his brief disappearance. Sure enough, the next day another Instagram account reposted the image and said they couldn’t believe that Blevins had died of ligma.
Ligma, for the record, is not a real medical condition. Actually, it’s a joke: the whole point is that people don’t know what it is, so when you mention it, they’re likely to ask, “What’s ligma?” That’s when you’re supposed to say “lick my nuts.” Yup, that’s it. That’s the whole joke! It’s basically the newest iteration of “bofa deez nuts.” The term was not invented with the Ninja death hoax, as Urban Dictionary has an entry dating back to June 13th, but this latest stunt has definitely pushed the word into mainstream consciousness. This would explain why nearly everyone on Blevins’ YouTube comments are talking about ligma:
Blevins can’t tweet anything right now without half the replies being about ligma, and there are YouTube videos about ligma with millions of views:
It’s gotten so bad that Blevins has had to ban the word ligma from his chat, though he’s probably still not safe from seeing it. The joke has spread so that people are just generally trying to trick each other into asking what ligma is:
All of this is facilitated by memes that make ligma seem real:
Mostly, though, ligma is just an excuse to shitpost:
Press F to Cure Ligma.— MatPat (@MatPatGT) July 22, 2018
Race towards a cure. pic.twitter.com/gJkCeOhZgf
By this point, Blevins has accepted that his fans are fixated on ligma, and has started cracking jokes of his own about it:
As ligma spreads, internet denizens are also starting to move on to other similar types of jokes that people might not know about in an effort to keep things fresh. (Like sugma — as in, “suck my nuts.”) But even if the internet moves away and forgets about ligma, the fact this happened at all cements Blevins’ status on the internet: you know you’re big when people make up death hoaxes about you.