What is the ‘Emotional Damage’ trend on TikTok?

Virginia Glaze
YouTube: Steven He

The ‘Emotional Damage’ meme is taking over the internet — but who is the person behind the viral trend, and why is it so popular?

If you’ve used TikTok for any amount of time lately, you’ve likely seen more than a few videos that use a clip with a distressed person saying, “emotional damage.”

Generally, the meme is used to poke fun at situations that are ’emotionally damaging’ — like getting rejected by your crush, or being roasted by a friend or acquaintance. Take your pick.

Who is the man behind the ‘Emotional Damage’ meme?

The person behind this latest viral craze is none other than Irish-Chinese YouTuber and comedian Steven He.

steven he asian dad
YouTube: Steven He
Comedian Steven He has amassed over 2.4 million YouTube subscribers.

The comedian is best known for creating the character ‘Asian Dad,’ which he often portrays in his content across multiple social media platforms.

The ‘Emotional Damage’ clip was taken from a YouTube video that He uploaded in September 2021, where the ‘Asian Dad’ character plays a game with multiple difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, Hard, and “Asian.”

The famous sequence occurs after the Asian Dad gets insulted by a boss called ‘Aunty’ while playing the “Asian” difficulty mode, thus incurring ‘Emotional Damage’ and killing his in-game avatar.

The short clip has gone viral across TikTok. In particular, the trend took off thanks to a TikTok account named ‘Emotional Damage,’ which uploads multiple meme videos using the YouTube snippet.

At the time of writing, the account boasts a whopping 9 million likes and over 874,000 followers, with its videos averaging around a million views each.

Click here if TikTok fails to load.

He is more than an online superstar; he’s also starred in Awkwafina’s Comedy Central show, ‘Nora from Queens,’ and has appeared in multiple film and stage productions throughout the UK and China.

The star has definitely embraced the fame from his viral video, putting the #EmotionalDamage hashtag in his YouTube profile and even creating a sequel to his “Asian difficulty mode” video.

There’s no telling what the future has in store for He and Asian Dad, but if his current success is anything to go by, it’s looking pretty bright!