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ABC Journalist Says Unexpected TikTok Meme Fame Is 'Quite Embarrassing'

Political journalist Andrew Probyn has finally spoken out about his newfound internet stardom, saying it was "embarrassing" to find himself at the centre of the latest viral meme in Australia.

The 'Andrew not running press conferences' gag has become one few light-hearted moments to come out of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia, delighting countless people across the world and racking up millions of views online.

Since being born more than two weeks ago, the meme of the veteran journalist and ABC political editor being gently chastised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on national television, has spawned a myriad of videos, songs and even merchandise.

Morrison telling Probyn "you don't run the press conference" has been imitated, impersonated, and remixed into dance songs on video sharing platform TikTok.

Image and t-shirt: i-do-like-stuff.myshopify.com

Probyn has kept quiet about his internet stardom, but on Wednesday he was finally questioned on-air by fellow ABC journalist Jane Norman, and admitted he never thought he would become a TikTok sensation.

"I’ve been doing my job for 25 years and it's about the only time that my kids have ever taken any notice of what their old man does," he told Norman.

"It’s rather sad, isn’t it?" he joked.

Probyn joked he didn't even know what TikTok was before he went viral on the platform, but said while he was embarrassed by the entire situation he was looking at the positives.

"If that whole episode encourages people to take more notice of federal politics, take more notice of press conferences where the Prime Minister’s talking about important things – well, my job is done," he said.

One of the original videos of the meme has been viewed more than 1.5 million times. Image: Sooklyn/Twitter

The meme began after a tense moment between Probyn and Morrison aired live nationally on TV during a press conference on March 22.

During the exchange, Probyn, who had multiple questions to ask of the PM and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy after they announced stricter social distancing measures, was chided by Morrison for his persistence.

"Andrew, I’m sorry, you’ve had several questions,” the PM said, as Probyn tried to ask another.

“Andrew, I’m sorry, Andrew. I know, but you don’t run the press conference, OK? So I’m going to go to other questions of members of the group. Katharine hasn’t had a question,” he said, giving the focus to another journalist.

That 15-second clip became an instant sensation on TikTok, with users recording themselves miming along to the exchange, before party remixes and even love-song ballads were created using the Prime Minister's words.

Featured Image: AAP/ABC.