You can microwave an ear of corn to make popcorn. See Example( s )
Some popcorn is available in cob form, but it's a hard-to-find specialty food.
You can butter and pop standard or sweetcorn; attempting to make popcorn from an ear of corn is safe.
In February 2016, a video that purported to show that it was possible to make popcorn from an ear of corn inexplicably became a social media sensation. Versions of the video have been appearing for several years:
Another video came by way of Sun Gazing, which based a post from a single YouTube video:
Who knew you could take a farm-fresh ear of corn and generate your own homemade popcorn?!
I literally could not believe my eyes and EARS as I listened to the popping going on in this man’s microwave. He explains and illustrates how to do it, with a really soothing “Mr. Rogers” tone in his voice. All you need is lunch-sized brown paper bags and a fresh ear of corn … I’m trying this fresh popcorn snack while corn on the cob is still available. Let us know if you think you will try this healthy alternative, to store-bought popcorn.
The man in the video clarified that the ear of corn used was specifically popcorn (not sweetcorn, which produces a different kind of kernel):
Many newer versions of the claim credited a BuzzFeed video, but we were unable to locate the clip, although we did find a multi-part “microwave hacks” video. The “DIY Popcorn” segment demonstrated using a brown bag and popcorn kernels (not fresh corn) to make a homemade bag of microwaved popcorn:
We also found several failed attempts to pop corn on the cob. A 30 November 2015 Reddit thread involved one such endeavor:
In that thread’s comments, the user explained which mitigating factors possibly led to their failure to succeed in popping the corn:
i tried for 7 mins, it overcooked the corn, so yay silly me i tried for 15 mins with corn covered with butter in a microwave save box. Off course i didnt realise that super heated corn would melt thru it! RIP one nuker soaked with toxic smoke, i have since bought a new nuker!
There’s a good reason so few people have reported success in popping popcorn from an ear of corn. The kernels are different, with a harder outer shell. It’s also prepared for popping in a different way, according to Modern Farmer: