Twitter users were mystified by the latest trending topic: Home Improvement star Tim Allen. The actor’s name began trending on Twitter, and as most people know, Twitter is a magnet for hot takes and silly jokes. The trend spawned a range of tweets throwing out jokes or criticisms of Allen or asking why in the world thousands of people were talking about a man whose most recent gig was on the Quibi revival of Reno 911. Even Tim Allen himself got in on the trend.
Uhhh why is Tim Allen trending? What happened? pic.twitter.com/OAFcVskeFM— SontaranChief (@SontaranChief) July 30, 2020
While there are a fair amount of tweets declaring #RIPTimAllen, the name didn’t start trending because of anything related to the actor’s life. For clarity’s sake, he’s alive and well, and those RIP tweets are essentially just jokes about how celebrities tend to trend on their birthdays and deaths. Allen himself had to speak up about the trend, cracking a joke a few hours after the hashtag took off.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to a beautiful day in Michigan only to find out I'm dead?! How did it happen? Can anyone tell me? I'm DYING to know.. #DeadManWalking— Tim Allen (@ofctimallen) July 30, 2020
The actual origin of the craze seems to have come from Dan Katz, otherwise known as Barstool Sports’ Big Cat. Early this morning, the podcaster posted a tweet jokingly offering codes for digital copies of Madden in exchange for identifying a picture of Tim Allen with the wrong answer.
I will give away 5 free Madden codes to anyone who quote tweets this with the correct name of this person pic.twitter.com/R8VkoFJjM4— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) July 30, 2020
At the exact same time as Big Cat’s wrong answer tweet, Barstool’s PFT Commenter also tweeted about the actor, posting a picture of his Bud Light dedicated to Tim Allen. Clem, another Barstool personality, shared a joke about Allen a few hours later as well.
While it seems like this is yet another example of Barstool’s ability to dominate the social media landscape, the topic took off fast enough to draw in clueless users. A fair amount of the responses to the topic unsurprisingly focused on Home Improvement, owing to the distinct nostalgia of ‘90s TV and the show’s incredible popularity.
I really miss the days of Home Improvement and Tim Allen in the 90s— The GOAT’s Cousin (@CousinLebron) July 30, 2020
Other responses were more critical of Allen, referring to his past criminal history or otherwise making jokes about his felony drug trafficking charges. Regardless, it seems like just another viral moment on Twitter that, while a little silly, isn’t actually a hoax or malicious — it was just the punchline of a benign engagement post on social media. Tim Allen is still alive and tweeting.