I have seen this "thank me" motivational remark made by Snoop Dogg during his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, several times and found it hilarious. I wondered if using it at the end of the acknowledgements section of a thesis in the form of a QR code for a light-hearted comedy would be academically appropriate.
The video clip is funny but not hilarious. The joke is pretty obvious. There is a high chance that the people who read your thesis won't find it as funny as you do.
Also social media is full of links to little humorous video clips like that, and a person might prefer not to be confronted with even more of that kind of thing when they are reading a thesis.
Unlike CrimsonDark I think a QR code and video clip is worse than a joke that is written there and can be seen with no effort. Going to "a little bit of effort" and then finding an unfunny joke is annoying.
The joke by Steven Skiena is funny. Like him you should try to come up with your own joke rather than put a link to someone else's.
Fine to include, but the tone is wrong.
I think the speech is funny, and would be possible to include - but the general tone of academic acknowledgement jokes is subtle. The consistent addition of a cat as co-author in one field of physics or mathematics, puns in dead languages, obscure quotations, callouts to common paper phrases - the idea is to be smart, and to make the reader work for it. This doesn't fit with those.
So, instead of the QR code, I'd put something like:
The author would like to thank C. Cordozar Broadus Jr for his inspiring remarks, and agrees with the sentiments of his speech on insert date and occasion
The difference between "flippant and inappropriate" and "academic paper humor" is how much you make the reader work for the reference. The goal is to trip someone up a little who is reading this, and send them down a 10 minute research rabbit hole, before discovering the slightly stupid joke.
edit: I can't find out if snoop dogg was awarded any honorary doctorates - but feel free to include them properly after his name.
I disagree completely with @toby544 . To my mind it is irrelevant to your decision whether he, or I, finds the joke hilarious, funny, or just plain dull. (I found it hilarious). And I certainly don't think that you have to be "original" in your acknowledgements; in other words, I would disagree entirely that "you should try to come up with your own joke rather than put a link to someone else's." Most dull, boring, gray acknowledgements are completely unoriginal copies of the template of every other dull, boring, gray acknowledgement. Many contain completely unoriginal quotes from some million-times-repeated source ... and I think that that too should be completely irrelevant to your decision. You want dull, gray and boring? You want to be the 100,000th person to quote Sinatra and say "I did it my way"? Go for it!!
It is generally appreciated in the academic community that the acknowledgement section of a dissertation is a
private[^1] personal space in which the writer can do very much as they would like.
I have seen the acknowledgement sections of numerous dissertations, not all from the same university. Humor appears in a goodly number of them (i.e., my humor-detector was triggered); sometimes subtle, sometimes not. But I should add that some of what I have found hilarious was quite possibly unintended, and some things I've read without detecting any humor might have been intended to be side-splittingly funny. Again, to my mind, it's completely irrelevant.
That said (having shown the video and the reply of @toby44 to some other people) that the possibility exists that culture not only plays a part in determining what is funny, but also in what might be OK in an acknowledgement. So I would still check with someone you trusted. You don't want to antagonize your markers (a very remote possibility in my culture)
By the way, I really like the idea of using a QR code! It means that whatever the joke, it isn't "in your face". The reader will have to go to a little bit of effort to appreciate it. Assuming you actually intend to put in a list of other people (which you might not!), I could imagine ending with "... and to others, too numerous to name (insert small QR code here)", or somehow make the QR code a footnote. Think of the creative opportunities!
I think it is in the book "Combinatorics and Graph Theory with Mathematica" by Steven Skiena that I recall reading something along the following lines: "I would appreciate being alerted by readers to any errors that you might find in the text. I will then find out who is to blame". (Some people would find that very unfunny).
Note: This answer has been heavily edited and reorganized. None of the original content has been omitted. It also turns out that I have mis-quoted Skiena. The original wording is either more funny, or much less funny, depending on the tuning of your humor-detector.
 Thank you to @greg-martin for pointing out that "personal" is a much more apposite description than is "private".
A QR code containing only a fragment of text might be acceptable, although the number of people with a reader which didn't assume it was a URI is probably small.
A URI referring to an arbitrary server is very much not. A thesis survives- in theory- forever, and the likelihood that any given online resource be hijacked to contain something socially or politically unacceptable is substantial.
Be very careful with this. I know someone who actually did it; his thesis' Acknowledgment section devoted the first paragraph to thanking himself. Literally. Seriously. Not as any kind of joke. Such people exist, and I really don't think you want to taken for someone with such a high opinion of themselves.
So while including a joke is fine, it's your thesis after all, I would be very careful with this joke since it isn't particularly funny and it is close enough to reality that some people will not know if you mean it as a joke or if you truly believe it is appropriate to thank yourself. I can tell you from experience that the latter does not go down very well with anyone reading the thesis.
It sounds like you want your acknowledgements section to be a parody of a genuine acknowledgements section. Well, I suppose the sky won't collapse if you do that, but there are some possible unintended consequences you might want to consider:
If there are people you are sincerely thanking in your acknowledgements section, then when those people see you are using the space of the acknowledgements section for a subversive satirical critique of the "stuffy" academic custom of thanking people who helped you in your academic journey, they might wonder if your thanking them is meant as a part of the parody. They might be offended that you can't bring yourself to thank them plainly without resisting the temptation to also throw in some half-assed attempt at ironic humor.
If your acknowledgements section is entirely satirical and isn't genuinely meant to thank anyone, the same people you might have thanked in an "honest" acknowledgements section might be equally offended by your thoughtlessness in failing to mentioning them and to sincerely acknowledge the help they generously gave you.
Bottom line: tread carefully. I know sincerity is hard for some people, but there are times and places that call for it and when it can be a powerful method of communicating. Likewise, humor and sarcasm are awesome when used effectively, but there are times and places to employ them as well, and other times and places where their application might easily fall flat.
There is a lot of discussion here whether the joke is appropriate. Focusing on the question whether a QR code is appropriate, I go with
- It should be about the reference, not the QR code itself (in the referenced video, the code is very prominent).
- For the digital version (PDF, HTML, …), you should also employ a proper, clickable hyperlink.
In case of a printed document, the QR code may provide ease of access to the URL. However, it should not to be the only way to access an otherwise obscure reference.
- A textual description should also exist (in case the linked target ceases to exist).
- The joke should be part of a dedicated acknowledgement section, not in the thesis body (I concur with lupe's comment).
In my opinion, we are a visual species. People like references to pop culture and memes (still images and videos alike). Academics should be allowed to participate in a reasonable manner. I would appreciate to see it like this (note that I put the entire reference in a footnote):