When you think of the word national treasure who do you think of? Maybe the Queen or a politician who’s changed the country. If you ask this question to many young people you may get the answer of Louis Theroux.
The English born documentary maker has developed a cult level following amongst students and the younger generation. His 60 odd documentaries have covered topics from prostitution to UFO conspiracies and have concreted him as a loveable figure for the younger generation.
A quick twitter search of his name connects him to hundreds of thousands of tweets including the words “national treasure”, “Theroux for prime minister” and even a few hundred thousand students wishing he was their dad.
But why is he so popular amongst the youth? A number of students say it’s because of his deadpan awkwardness when interviewing his catalogue of strange case studies. Others say it’s because he provides a different perspective during the intense politics of recent years. Some love him purely for his overly British approach while documenting America.
Alfie Stevenson-Kelly, a Falmouth University Illustration student explained “I think he’s popular for his unique style of interviewing on areas of society that aren’t spoken about. Also for some reason he’s become some ongoing meme for the past few years which seems to have helped his popularity.”
Another Falmouth student said: “I think he’s just become a very loveable character, he’s never done anything wrong in life and we just want him to be our Prime Minister. I think students are using his memes to emote their crippling depression.”
His popularity has very much led to him becoming a meme on the internet. Pages known as “No context Louis Theroux” were set up on Facebook and Twitter collecting a combined following of almost half a million. The two pages simply post screenshots of his documentaries with quotes from them without the context of the documentary. These posts will receive thousands of likes each and have become a well-known part of Theroux’s cult status.
A post appeared on Penryn Campus Fitfinder, an anonymous Facebook page for students suggesting a Louis Theroux society. The post received over 300 likes and plenty of people wishing it to be true, many students around campus said they would join it in a heartbeat.
Despite the large amount of jokes and memes around Theroux, the majority of students who like him said that it was mainly for his fascinating documentaries and his impartial approach. To many he is one of the best journalists of the 21st century. His documentaries continue to win him awards and the hearts of the younger generation.