The Pawn Stars meme is also known by a lengthier appellation of "I’ve Got a Buddy Who’s an Expert In X". Pawn Stars is a television show on the History channel, and is one of a long list of shows that are popular yet tightly focused on a particular "day-in-the-working-life" sub-genre.
In this case, the show focuses on one particular pawn shop, and all the day-ion, day-out activities inherent in buying and selling various items and determining how much money things are worth. It is a lowbrow cousin to KQED’s Antiques Roadshow.
The formula follows Pawn Star
’s character Rick Harrison
’s common response to a seller who brings in a particular item for appraisal and sale. The line goes: "I’m really interested in this item, but I don’t know enough about it. I’ve got a buddy who’s an expert in said object and I’d like to have him take a look at it."
This is taken from the opening speech narration for the show. Clever meme developers have used that as a template for humor, creating variations on the phrase in meme generation.
The meme itself generally depicts a photo
of pawn shop owner Rick Harrison, standing with arms crossed, giving a knowing look to the camera. The surrounding text follows the formula outlined above.
Notable examples of the text for this meme include "Looks like a shitty meme. But let me call my buddy who’s an expert on shitty memes". Another variation that alters slightly from the formula is: "The Ark of the Covenant? There is just no market for stuff like that." This last example plays off of the many times people bring something in that they think is really good, but get told that there is just no one who would want to buy it, i.e. no market for that.