Tree Fiddy comes from an episode of South Park in which the Loch Ness Monster demands $3.50 from the parents of Chef.
Ever since the episode had aired, “Tree Fiddy” has become a meme, a GIF, and a popular catchphrase. It’s often used as a punchline for anti-climactic stories or jokes. For example, someone might tell a story about seeing a UFO, only for it to end with the punchline, “And then it asked for Tree Fiddy.”
The phrase has even spawned its own copypasta, a type of internet meme that involves copying and pasting a block of text. The copypasta version of “Tree Fiddy” includes a long, elaborate story about encountering the Loch Ness Monster, which was often shared on the boards of 4chan, as a greentext story.
“Tree Fiddy” comes from Season 3, Episode 3 of South Park titled “The Succubus”, which first aired on April 21st, 1999.
The episode includes several scenes, where Chef‘s parents are talking about their encounters with the Loch Ness Monster, who always asks them for “Tree Fiddy”, or tree dollars, fifty cents.
The line was so memorable that it spawned memes and jokes that still resonate today. In fact, “Tree Fiddy” was first defined on Urban Dictionary back in 2003, and it has been a staple of internet culture ever since.
So, the next time you see someone reference “Tree Fiddy,” you’ll know exactly where it came from and why it’s so beloved by millions of people around the world.
By May 2004, the joke already possessed a dedicated YTMND site, featuring a screenshot of Chef’s parents as well as the audio footage from the episode.
On November 13th, 2010, a greentext story was submitted to 4chan, with the “Tree Fiddy” gag at the end, marking the beginning of a stream of stories, featuring the catchphrase.
Over the years, “Tree Fiddy” spread to sites like Facebook, Tumblr, FunnyJunk, iFunny as well as DeviantArt, spawning a large amount of content all over the web. The meme could be encountered as a popular image macro and GIF, not to mention the various YouTube uploads, contaning the original South Park scenes, featuring Chef‘s parents.
Overall, “Tree Fiddy” is a perfect example, how an absurd and unexpected punchline can become a well-loved meme, with a large presence in popular culture.