“Modern problems require modern solutions.” Those are the words of American stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle. Though he said the phrase in a skit during an episode of Chappelle’s Show, jokingly advocating for the use of fake Canadian ID cards for free healthcare, people are using this format to post about real-life problems that need creative solutions. Some of these jokes are hilariously on-point while others tell us all about the sad state of society.
There are a lot of problems in the 21st century. From life on the streets being worse than life in prison to the invasion of privacy via facial recognition technology, and much, much more. Bored Panda has collected some of the saddest and funniest 'modern problem' posts that make you think, so scroll down, have a look, and let us know what modern problems you personally think are the biggest, dear Pandas. Remember to upvote the stories that left the biggest impact on you and read on for Bored Panda's interview with redditor Imthatguy25 who is very proud that they created the joke format in the first place.
Redditor Imthatguy25 told us all about what inspired them to create the 'modern problems' meme. "I've watched Chappelle's Show since I was a kid so the 'modern problems’ quote has always been something I'd regularly quote to myself or to some others. I basically treated it like it was a motto,” they said.
“But even then, I honestly didn't expect the format to pick up much traction. Until I saw a bunch of other redditors hit the homepage from using the format and making their own.”
Imthatguy25 has some ideas about why the ‘modern problems’ joke format gained so much popularity so quickly. “Other than the obvious ‘Dave Chappelle is a comedic genius and everything he says is meme gold,’ redditors can be pretty clever when they see a meme that they believe has potential,” they explained.
“The meme alone was a pretty cut and dry, simple to understand. But like I've said, redditors have their own vernacular way with memes. I've seen this dude rage war with Instagram using my format and managed 100k upvotes out of it. I honestly owe it to Reddit and Instagram for making the meme so shareable,” the redditor shared.
According to Imthatguy25, they don’t have any problem with others using the ‘modern problems’ format for social or political commentary, however—they have to be funny.
“I'd at least like to see it with a bit of wit behind it,” they said. “Really, as long as it's funny I could stand behind it.”
Since then, other people have been changing the purpose of the meme to suit their needs. While some are going for pure comedy, others are taking things a bit more seriously, using the format for social commentary and to show how dystopian some parts of our society have become.
In both cases, the meme tends to talk about current topics. So when it first showed up, you could see a lot of talks about Thanos, Fortnite, and Article 13. How things have changed since then!
You can watch the original ‘modern problems’ video clip starring Chappelle right here. The skit was shown in the first episode of the second season of Chappelle’s Show which first aired on January 21, 2004.
The critically acclaimed comedy TV series premiered on January 22, 2003, and ran for 28 episodes until July 23, 2006. Chappelle’s Show found success not just in the United States but elsewhere, too, including in Germany, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and the UK.
According to the United Nations Foundation’s post in January, some of the main issues to look out for in 2020 included the acceleration of climate change, the continued presence of inequality and exclusion, as well as the humanitarian crises in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and elsewhere.
What we got this year was pretty much on-point with the UN’s prediction. The bushfires that ravaged Australia were linked to climate change. The Covid-19 pandemic and rising unemployment showed the stark differences between the haves and the have-nots. While the humanitarian problems abroad haven’t gone away. So, yes, modern problems do require modern solutions. Permanent ones—not just temporary band-aids.