PAIN POINT: the croissant/quaso meme.
What’s the origin of that croissant/quaso meme? Why is it so funny? Is racism against the French okay? What can we learn about 21st century humour from this old-world flaky pastry?
‘Today I wanted to eat a croissant, so I went to a place that sells croissants and I bought a croissant and I returned home with the croissant. And then I ate the croissant.’
Is there anything more to that paragraph than what can only be described as a bland diary entry? Nope. Well, yes, but also nope. It’s a popular meme, you see.
The purpose, clearly, is to mock the faux-seriousness, the frilly old-world fanciness of the French word ‘croissant’.
In this respect, the meme follows an ancient and proud tradition held among all English-speaking humorists – to wit, mocking the French. Not in a racist way, exactly. More a teasing, sibling style of low-stakes shithousery.
In fairness, it is a very silly word.
The original audio, of that nice lady talking about her memorable day of baked-goods purchasing and later consumption, comes courtesy of Laura Gouillon, a TikTokker who is half-French, half-Chinese and 100% in on the joke.
Gouillon isn’t just a captivating screen presence. She is also quite the builder. Gouillon took mechanical engineering classes in school, studied computer science at the University of California, and was the only women in many of the STEM competitions and classes she attended.
Now a multi-hyphenate software engineer, filmmaker, artist, designer, musician, sound editor, actress, comedian, she’s mostly famous as the ‘filter queen’ who makes arty, compelling filters for TikTokkers.
It just so happens somebody picked up on a bit she was doing about staying in Paris and popping out for delicious croissants.
Anyway this is where it gets complicated, so bear with me.
In November 2022, another TikTokker (@niclas.pb) did one of those duet things with @bakewithjustin who was making a… popular crescent-shaped French pastry.
It’s a good video. Informative. Who knew they used so much butter?
Anyway, the audio played over the duet is Laura Gouillon recollecting the day she wanted to eat a croissant, so she went to a place that sells croissants and bought a croissant and then returned home with the croissant.
And then ate the croissant.
BUT! @niclas.pb started saying ‘quaso’ after every time she said croissant.
Et voilà, as the French are fond of saying. The resulting audio from this layered flaky treat is bloody everywhere, under manga memes and, like, you name it.
Anyway, it’s funny in a super postmodern way, not least because Gouillon is herself doing comedy. As well as making award-winning TikTok filters of Wes Anderson movies, or Ouija boards, she’s a virtuoso of gentle sarcasm.
‘And for sarcastic, that’s just personal to my experiences,’ she told Her Campus.
‘I’m really happy that people are throwing back all the sarcastic energy that I’m throwing out into the world. So it seems like Gen Z just knows how to have fun, and knows how to not take things too seriously, and it’s not even just to make fun of things.
‘Often, we’re bringing other people up but through humor, so that’s been really fun.’
Hey, while you’re here, did you know the French government has strict rules regarding what can be called a croissant? For example, a croissant must be made with at least 16% butter and be hand-rolled.
Also, Mărie Antoinette personally introduced croissants to the French, from Vienna.
Just like quaso memes, they’re more enjoyable baked.
While we’re here, does anybody know IS IT PRONOUNCED GIF OR JIF?