New phone, who dis? is a popular phrase used to avoid unwanted conversations, requests or questions via text message by pretending to not know who is attempting communication. As the expression grew in popularity, it has been appropriated into image macros, music videos and other pieces of culture.
The earliest known usage of expression comes from the season one episode of the American television comedy The Mindy Project “Two To One,” which first aired on December 4th, 2012. In the episode, the character Mindy (played by Mindy Kaling) receives a text message that reads, “Help, Dr. L! The midwives are steeling all of Shulman’s patients!” Mindy responds, “New phone Who dis?” (shown below).
On August 24th, 2014, comedian Seth Meyers used the expression in a joke about comedians Amy Poehler and Tina Fey helping him with his monologue jokes. He said, “When I got in touch with them and asked if they’d like to help me with tonight’s monologue, they both jumped at the chance to write back: ‘new phone, who dis?’”
Shortly after the joke, the phrase began being used on Twitter. On October 29th, Twitter user @dubstep4dads tweeted, “bae: come over me: new phone who dis bae:” Following the mock conversation, they posted an image of a woman talking into a banana. The post (shown below, left) received more than 130 retweets and 400 likes in four years.
Several days later, on November 2nd, Twitter user @UNDEADTRESOR tweeted, “Me: Hello darkness, my old friend. Darkness: New phone, who dis?” The post (shown below, center) received more than 150 retweets and 350 likes in four years.
The following month, on December 12th, Tumblr user royalblackpirate posted, “Me: God, let me pass my finals God: new phone who dis.” The post (shown below, right) received more than 174,000 notes in four eyars.
On May 27th, 2015, the Tumblr account Meme Documentation published an explanation of the meme.
On July 22nd, Urban Dictionary user jutn definted the expression as “When a person asks you a question you don’t want to answer you say “new phone, who dis” to avoid answering.” The post (shown below) received more than 700 upvotes in three years.
About one month later, on August 23rd, the Tumblr account Meme Archives published a timeline of the meme’s rise.
On March 5th, 2016, YouTuber Jakob Synn published a clip from the television series You’re The Worst, in which characters perform a song entitled “New Phone, Who Dis?” The video (shown below, left) received more than 86,000 views in two years.
On October 12th, Adult Sim published a video for the Cakes Da Killa song “New Phone (Who Dis)” on YouTube. The video (shown below, right) received more than 310,000 views in less than two years.
Several months later, Redditor samjammm asked the /r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit about the expression.