Only in Ohio

How an internet trend turned a state into a laughing stock.

Screenshot of TikTok from Oct. 30, 2022.


Screenshot of TikTok from Oct. 30, 2022.

Andi Mededovic, Staff Writer

While most memes tend to last a few weeks before becoming irrelevant, “clowning” the state of Ohio has been an ongoing trend for six years now. Users on all social media platforms, though primarily TikTok, have been posting pictures and videos that portray the state of Ohio as a humorous wasteland. Videos of scary monsters, disasters, accidents, and random events are posted with the caption “Only in Ohio” somewhere on the video.

The song “Swag Like Ohio” by Lil B is used as the sound of choice for many of the videos, being played in the background. While these are fake and are not an accurate depiction of the state of Ohio, there seems to be an expanding interest in the state.

Memes about Ohio began in 2016, during another trend titled “Ohio vs the world.” Users would post pictures of Ohio planning to take over the world, along other lines. It was not until August that we began seeing a resurgence of the meme, leading the way to the template being used today. A video using the “Only in Ohio” caption for example, was posted by TikToker @lukes.coasters on Oct. 10. It featured a video of a roller coaster spinning uncontrollably set to “Swag Like Ohio.” The video has garnered over 31.3 million views and 2 million likes. 

Screenshot of TikTok from Oct. 10, 2022.
(lukes.coasters )

The meme became more and more popularized as the use of the sound began to increase. Along with an increase in popularity, there would be an increased variety in the types of captions used for these videos. On Oct. 30, TikToker @iranischeradler posted a video of a man catching a fish with a bucket in his own bedroom, with the caption “most normal bedroom in ohio 💀,” straying away from the original “Only in Ohio” caption.  The video has been viewed over 2.6 million times, and has roughly 260,000 likes. 

The meme expanded more as the months went on, with users beginning to associate other TikTokers as being from Ohio. They would be given various positions such as “King of Ohio” and “Ohio Final Boss.” In early November of 2022, users began associating Spanish speaking TikToker @donpollo2982 as being the official King of Ohio. Don Pollo began his TikTok career posting videos of him eating food in his car, while ringtones and other sounds emitted from his Android. He became associated with Ohio after various users used his sounds for their “Only in Ohio” videos, alongside “Swag Like Ohio.” After another video posted by TikToker @kingeptol on Oct. 18 showed Don Pollo working at their high school, fans began referencing Don Pollo as the King of Ohio. While Don Pollo is not a government official in Ohio, nor does he work at a high school, he has acknowledged that he is the King in some of his TikToks, using the fame to his advantage. 2982

Screenshot of Don Pollo, acknowledging his role as King of Ohio.

As evident by multiple revivals often the past few years and undergoing constant remixes, the Ohio meme trend still has a long way to grow, and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.