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House member cites Leeroy Jenkins meme during speaker vote

Leeroy Jenkins goes to Washington

Incoming Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries acknowledges applause during the opening day of the 118th Congress. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
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At the 118th Congress to determine the next speaker of the house on Wednesday, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) voted for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) enthusiastically, shouting, “Hakeeeeeem Jeffries!”

Huffman’s vote had a distinct delivery reminiscent of Leeroy Jenkins, a viral internet character who has been a popular meme in video games for nearly 20 years. The meme was invoked again when Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) voted for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), according to journalist Grace Segers of the New Republic.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) nominated Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on the floor during the House speaker vote, in the intonation of the "Leroy Jenkins" meme. (Video: C-Span)

On Twitter, Huffman confirmed the reference. “Yup, I said what I said,” he tweeted. “If Republicans are going to make us sit through this repeated self-flagellation, we might as well make it memorable.”

The legend of Leeroy Jenkins began in the fantasy video game “World of Warcraft.” The character was a human paladin played by Ben Schulz, who became famous for a 2005 video of a disastrous dungeon run. Schulz, whose character is simply named “Leeroy” in-game, is apparently away from his keyboard while the leader of his party lays out an elaborate battle plan to tackle a dangerous room filled with dragon eggs. Once the leader is done explaining the plan, they ask for a “number crunch” from another character named Abduhl. Abduhl says the party has a “32.33, repeating of course, percentage of survival.”

While the team is still preparing, Schulz abruptly returns and announces, “Alright, chums, I’m back. Let’s do this.” Before the leader finishes talking, Schulz yells, “Leerooooooy Jeeeeenkiiins!” and rushes into the room. The party panics and follows him inside, which leads to their deaths when all the eggs burst and the players are swarmed by dozens of dragons.

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Leeroy has since become “World of Warcraft’s” most recognizable meme. Leeroy has been on playing cards and as a non-playable character in “World of Warcraft’s” latter expansions. Players can earn the title “Jenkins” by re-creating his charge into the dragon egg room in Upper Blackrock Spire.

Outside of the game, Leeroy is often referenced as an example of foolhardy bravado or earnest enthusiasm. His iconic shout has been re-created in the HBO show “Barry,” CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and, now, the 118th Congress.