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What Happened To The 'I Like Turtles' Zombie Kid? The Viral Youtube Star Is Back

There's a subsection of early YouTube memes that still resonate with the chronically online all these years later. One such example is the Zombie Kid, a.k.a. Jonathan. The original video has garnered 73 million views since it was first uploaded in 2007, and many people can likely still quote it perfectly. It follows a news broadcast where a reporter engages in some soft news, interviewing a young boy with zombie face makeup. She asks him to talk about his zombie look, and he hilariously replies, "I like turtles." It's an ideal case of random internet humor that doesn't make sense but still inspires laughter.

13 years later, the Zombie Kid returns to appropriately promote the upcoming "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem." The new video, uploaded by Paramount Pictures, recreates the original exactly where a reporter, dressed like April O'Neil, talks about Jonathan's zombie makeup, and he once again says, "I like turtles." It's a great way to capitalize on a popular meme from back in the day while also promoting a movie in the current landscape (seeing how actors can't promote projects due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike).

Randomness is alive and well in internet culture, but for many, it may be the first time they've thought about the Zombie Kid in a while. What happened to Zombie Kid, and what has he been up to since his viral moment all those years ago? 

Jonathan will forever be known as the 'I like turtles' kid

The Zombie Kid is a piece of internet lore, so it makes sense he's come up periodically over the years, even before the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" promo. In fact, Jonathan Ware getting connected to "TMNT" was predicted a while ago during an episode of "Tosh.0." The Comedy Central series would invite internet celebrities on the show for "Web Redemptions," and a few years after the Zombie Kid video came out, he showed up. Daniel Tosh asked him about the video, including how he had just seen a turtle exhibit, so turtles were on his mind despite getting his face painted as a zombie. Tosh eventually brings Ware into a room filled with turtle paraphernalia, and Tosh dresses up like Raphael from the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" to continue making turtle-themed jokes.

Ware was 13 during his "Tosh.0" appearance, but he's an adult now. Earlier in 2023, The Sun looked into what else he's been up to since his viral video. He started his own YouTube channel called (what else?) "It's Turtle Time." The first video featured him saying hello to his fans which included his famous line, "I like turtles." He ended up acquiring about 1,000 subscribers before shutting it down. 

Ware will always be associated with turtles no matter what he does in life. And with a "Mutant Mayhem" TV series and a sequel already greenlit by Paramount, he could have various other promotional appearances down the line. Most likely, after "Mutant Mayhem" comes out in theaters on August 2, plenty of other kids will be saying, "I like turtles."