Online, the image macro is used as a reaction image or reaction GIF, using the phrasal template X yells at Y.
The snippet originates from the Season 13 Episode 13 of The Simpsons, first aired under the title “The Old Man and the Key”, on March 10th, 2002.
The episode features Abe Simpson getting his driver’s license to depict a photo of him, shouting at a cloud, which was published in a newspaper.
The gag ends with Abe holding his newly made license, yelling “Who’s laughing now?” at a cloud.
“Old man yells at cloud” was turned into a meme on November 11th, 2009, by Halolz user Shawn Handyside, sharing a photoshopped edit of the Simpsons scene, depicting Abe Simpson shouting at Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII.
The meme was recreated on DeviantART on the same day, and in the following months, more and more variations would pop up on sites like DeviantART, Facebook and Tumblr.
By 2012, “Old man yells at cloud” became a popular format on meme generator sites, as well as on GIF sites, such as Giphy.
It remained relevant well into the 2010’s, with posts reflecting on controversies, like the 2015 holiday mug of Starbucks Coffee.
“Old man yells at cloud” was still a prevalent reaction image and GIF meme on sites like Reddit, Imgur, Facebook and Instagram.
It also served as the inspiration for the NEIPA style beer of Old Wives Ales, which began production in 2016, under the name “Old man yells at cloud”.