LUL Twitch Emote Meaning & Origin

What does the LUL emote mean on Twitch?

The LUL emote depicts a stylized version of the late TotalBiscuits laughing face. This emote is used whenever something funny or laughable appears on stream.

LUL can be understood as ‘Lame Uncomfortable Laugh’ but the naming of this emote has nothing to do with that. LUL was simply the name that was given to the emote when its predecessor was first uploaded to BTTV.

When to use LUL on Twitch

When a streamer does something funny or stupid on stream, the LUL emote is spammed by Twitch chat.

What is the origin of the LUL emote on Twitch?

The LUL emote finds its origins in 2013 where British commentator and Twitch streamer John bain also known as TotalBiscuit, was photographed at the MLG Anaheim event in his now infamous laughter position.

TotalBiscuit would later use this photograph as a subscriber-only emote known as CynicalLaugh. This would eventually get him into legal trouble as the original photographer, itsjustatank, issued a takedown request for using his photograph as a paid Twitch emote.

Itsjustatank then declared in a now removed tweet that he would have been fine with it had the emote been free instead of a paid, subscriber-only emote.

During this time when the CynicalLaugh emote was removed, the emote was re-uploaded to Better Twitch TV under the naming ‘LuL‘ by the user Polecat.

Better Twitch TV is a browser extension that allows users to upload emotes and have streamers allow these emotes on Twitch. You can only see the BTTV emotes if you have the extension installed.

Because BTTV is such a popular Twitch extension, the LuL emote was an instant hit and quickly rose in popularity.

Meanwhile, in 2016, TotalBiscuit still wanted to have his own face as a subscriber-emote without being DMCAed by a photographer, so he had an illustrator create a stylized version of the original photograph and uploaded this version to his Twitch emotes.

One year later on September 1st 2017, Twitch tweeted that LUL had become a global emote on the platform.

However, Twitch didn’t use the original photograph either, they used the stylized depiction which was used by TotalBiscuit.

This led to many viewers being upset that they didn’t use the original.

On top of that, the new global emote used the very same LUL command that the original version was using on BTTV which led the Twitch emote to override the BTTV emote, causing a stir amongst fans of the emote.

Today, this issue is not a problem anymore. When you type LUL you will see the stylized global Twitch emote and when you type LuL you will see the BTTV emote featuring the original photograph, of course, you need to have the BTTV extension installed for that.

Right now the stylized LUL emote is far more popular than the original BTTV emote. According to Stream Elements, the LUL emote has over 1,773,180,148 uses and is the 4th most popular global Twitch emote.

Meanwhile, the BTTV LuL emote has over 178,016,590 uses at the time of writing, more than 10x less.

Variants of LUL

Being one of the most popular emotes on Twitch, obviously, LUL has gotten many variants over the years. Here are some of the most used variants of LUL

Variant NameHow to use itMeaning
LuLBetter Twitch TVLuL is the original LuL emote that was re-uploaded to BTTV after it was removed from Twitch due to a DMCA.
OMEGALULBetter Twitch TVOMEGALUL is a
LULWFrankerFaceZLULW is a zoomed in version of the original LuL emote
ZULULremoved from BTTVZULUL was a dark-skinned version of the original LUL emote. It was removed from BTTV after viewers pointed out its resemblance to blackface.

Streamer TotalBiscuit and face of ‘LUL’ died of cancer

Sadly, the face of the LUL emote is no longer with us. On May 24th, 2018 he passed away from bowel cancer at the age of 33.

Before his passing, he added a lengthy statement to Reddit.

May he rest in peace.


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