My brother, Jack Ryan, is many things. He’s a lawyer, a former weed grower, a devoted father to two cats, and one of the funniest people I know. In the past few years, he’s also become a verified cringe expert, amassing over 1.7 million TikTok followers after posting impersonations of cringe characters.
Known by his many fans as The Slappable Jerk, Jack cultivates characters like the “nice guy,” who disparages women but feels entitled to their affection, the “chronically online guy” who appears out of touch with reality, the “average Redditor” who overlaps somewhat with the chronically online guy but mansplains more passive-aggressively, and the “man-child husband,” the type who calls solo time with his children babysitting. They’re all highly specific and yet familiar. The comments on his videos are often different iterations of, “I know this guy.”
To craft a cringeworthy scene, Jack blends obnoxious personality traits with physical behaviors that can be annoying or neutral, depending on the context. For example, gum chewing. “We’re not going to mind if someone we like is doing it,” Jack said. “But if we don’t like them and they’re giving off this energy that’s bad, then that gum chewing is going to be one of the most insufferable things they do.”
Jack and I have encountered many highly specific, recurring characters over the years. The common denominator between them? Cringe.
6 most cringe stoners
I chatted with Jack about those recurring characters and explained why they’re so likely to rub you the wrong way. Note: this is by no means a dig on stoners in general. Everyone can be cringe, and what’s cool today will almost certainly be cringe tomorrow. Also, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?
Ranked from least to most offensively cringe, here are the six cringiest stoners you’ll ever meet:
“You’re in high school, you’re in college, you’re around really immature kids because you’re an immature kid. But some kids who smoke have to mention it every five minutes — that’s when the cringe comes out,” said Jack.
If you’ve been in any kind of scholastic setting with fellow kids, there’s a high probability you’ve run into this kid. They’ve just discovered weed and its many wonders, and instead of being earnestly jazzed about it, they want everyone to know how cool they are for smoking real weed — not oregano. They can’t leave a room for a few minutes without announcing to anyone who’ll listen, “Time for a smoke. Weed, by the way, not cigarettes.”
As far as cringe archetypes go, this one is far from the worst. There’s something really sweet about picking up a new hobby and wanting the world to know. Y’all should’ve seen me after I went ATV’ing for the first time — I thought I was Mad Max for a whole month.
The guy who never gets high
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the guys who don’t feel anything despite smoking everything. They wear their high tolerance like a badge of honor and shame you if you so much as feel an inkling of a high after ripping a bong.
“They will literally have a look on their face while they’re smoking weed like they’re being tortured,” said Jack. “They just have the most unfun, completely emotionless look on their face. There are a lot of people who will brag about the fact that they can smoke a lot of weed and not get high. It’s not that big of an accomplishment. If you said that about drinking — that you can drink a lot and not get drunk — people would call you an alcoholic.”
Question: what’s the point of smoking weed if you’re not going to get high?
Oh, the sativa guy. He’s the weed-is-my-whole-identity kid all grown up. He can’t wait to ask you what you’re smoking, so the second you say “indica,” he can laugh in your face. “Why would I want to smoke something that will leave me tired when I can be out exploring the world?” Jack said. That’s Sativa Guy.
That sense of superiority might be fine when you only have one class on Tuesday that doesn’t start until one in the afternoon, “But when you’re older, and you have a lot of stress and things going on in your life, you don’t want to get all fucked up and have weird thoughts and shit. You just want to watch a movie, laugh, and enjoy yourself.”
So, by all means, smoke a sativa blunt and explore the world. Just know it might be cringe if you judge others for not doing the same.
The self-objectifying influencer
We’ve all seen her on our feeds. She keeps the boobs and blunts era of bro-tastic weed advertising alive and loves to wear lingerie while eating a massive bowl of Coco Puffs. She’s the classic, “I just want to smoke a bowl and cuddle with my boyfriend stoner girl,” Jack said. The key cringe thing here is the sense of judgment toward other people who want to do harder drugs and party their faces off. “I don’t do drugs; I smoke weed,” the posts seem to say.
Unlike cool stoner influencers of all genders — the ones who share educational resources about weed, hot takes, weed memes, and ways to get involved in canna activism — self-objectifying influencer girlies are very obviously centered around cash grabs and the male gaze. It might not be a bad business move, but it is most certainly cringe.
Some context: more than a decade ago, when we were both teenagers, Jack and I grew weed at our mom’s house in central California. To be fair, though, Jack grew dozens of plants under lights while I stuck a clone in a raised bed one summer and called it a day.
He harvested and sold the buds to a small dispensary our high school friend ran — way back when it was much easier to do that, thanks to the highly restrictive regulatory landscape. Along the way, Jack learned a lot about growing commercially viable weed.
Of course, he also ran into many older, legacy growers who took the craft very, very seriously. “These days, you might call them mansplainers, but when I was growing, there were a lot of growers who were douchebags,” Jack remembered. “I was sharing some buds with one of these guys, and he was examining it and told me I did it all wrong. I put ice on the plants to turn the leaves purple, and he said no, I had a phosphorus deficiency. It was really aggravating.”
Average Redditor – stoner edition
One of Jack’s most popular characters is the Average Redditor. He’s an annoying, know-it-all type who can’t help but start every other sentence with, “Well, actually…” Jack came to impersonate the average Redditor after trying to share some of his YouTube videos on the platform and then getting a cavalcade of obnoxious comments.
There’s so much overlap with the know-it-all grower that they’re almost indistinguishable. Still, the Average Redditor stoner is unique in that they typically don’t grow weed themselves, despite having many, many opinions about it. You’ll find them in concentrates forums telling you your hash is trash just by looking at a photo of it, schooling you on the nuanced aroma of Zkittlez, shaming you for using humidity packs, asking you what kinds of products you like just to shit on you if you say pre-rolls, etc. I shudder to think of what they lecture to friends who just want a simple answer about CBD gummies.
Every culture has a small but loud minority of people like this. They’ll make you cringe so hard your face hurts and question whether there’s any amount of weed that could make their behavior tolerable.
How to avoid being a cringey stoner
Okay, so you’re reading through these personas and maybe identifying with some of them. We’ve all been there. What’s a stoner to do?
“Stop the judgment,” Jack said. “Weed culture really has to get out of this whole mindset of being so judgmental — particularly of people who do other substances.”
Right. Wasn’t the goal of legalization initially about acceptance? Stoners love to talk about reducing stigmas, but it seems we create new ones every day — against smokers who also drink, smokers who do it just for fun, smokers who doubt the medical efficacy of weed, and smokers who get high from one puff. As a person who has tried just about every substance and thinks all drugs should be legal, I always feel this judgment in the weed industry.
“I feel like the legalization of weed was an opportunity for people to be more accepting of people who are on substances, whether or not they have an addiction. The people who represent the culture now are just so critical when it starts with a message of ‘Do what you want to do. You shouldn’t be imprisoned, let alone judged, just for smoking a plant.’ Now the message has turned into ‘I am better than you because I smoke this plant.’”
Looking at weed culture from this perspective, cringe might be a wonderful opportunity. We can appreciate how far we’ve come since legalizing weed in many states but also see how far we must go. Cringe is an excellent reminder that weed culture belongs to everyone, and anyone who disagrees isn’t a real one.