From a word with original meaning of “cultural value/gene passing down from generations to generations”, the word “memes” nowadays are mostly used to refer to funny internet memes throughout the internet. And so with no further ado, here are the top 50 most iconic internet memes!
Shiba Inu is like Japan’s “national treasure”, but what makes them truly special on the internet is the infamous “doge” meme. It all began on 2010 when a Japanese kindergarten teacher named Atsuko Sato shared some images of her newly rescue-adopted Shiba Inu called Kabosu. And among those images, there is one particular photo which we now have seen it spread like wild fire. Nowadays, the word “doge” is also a meme term for dogs, or “doggo”.
2. Good Guy Greg
Good Guy Greg (GGG) may no longer be a popular internet meme nowadays, but back in 2011-2012, he was one of the major memes alongside with other famous faces like Bad Luck Brian and Success Kid. And unlike many other memes which focus a lot on irony and teasing, Good Guy Greg generally depicts character that is kind, generous, and empathetic. So, do you feel kind and generous right now?
3. Rage Comic
No one can ever forget the infamous cast of “Rage Comic”, featuring many iconic faces on the internet like Trollface, Poker Face, Yao Ming Face, Me Gusta, and more… These guys are easily one of the early internet memes and they made the “internet memes” as famous as they are today. We may not see them as much nowadays, but their influence on the internet culture is definitely undeniable.
4. Pepe the Frog
Pepe the Frog is originally an anthropomorphic frog character from a comic series named “Boy’s Club” by Matt Furie. The meme seems to get extremely popular since 2008 throughout 4chan and many other forums. The character himself looks really funny, and he has quite a number of variations in order to depict different reactions like: “Feels Good Man“, “Feels Bad Man”, and “Smug Pepe”. And for some reason, Pepe later on was also used as political jokes and “hate symbol”. Eventually, Furie – Pepe’s creator – decided to claim copyright on the dude, saying that Pepe was meant to celebrate peace, togetherness and fun, not hatred.
5. Chuck Norris
Frankly speaking, unless you’re living under the rock, you must have known about Chuck Norris (or at least heard of him) on the internet. Chuck Norris is a martial artist, and a movie star who is mostly seen on many, many action films, including The Way of The Dragon in which he played as Bruce Lee’s nemesis. He quickly becomes an extremely famous internet meme who represents the pinnacle of manliness and awesomeness in pop culture. Chuck Norris does have a fair share of memes; however, his most famous is still Chuck Norris facts which tell hyperbolic “facts” about Chuck Norris being a legendary badass.
6. Nyan Cat
There are many, many funny cat memes on the internet but kicking off; we need to mention Nyan Cat, a.k.a Pop Tart Cat. Originally it was an illustration by Chris Torres, which inspired by his Russian Blue cat named Marty. The drawing soon attracted tons of viewers. But what really made this “meme cat” to boom was saraj00n’s video on Youtube called “Nyan Cat”. It features a 8-bit animation of Torres’s drawing, along with the Japanese Vocaloid song Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya. Not long after, Nyan Cat – Pop Tart Cat became a huge hit on the internet as many, many artists and creators made various versions of Nyan Cat. It may look silly, but let’s real here, no one can resist the cute pop-tart cat with “nyanyan” ringing besides your ears.
7. Grumpy Cat
Talking about “meme cat”, we can never, ever forget the famous Grumpy Cat. And unlike Nyan Cat which is an image/animation inspired by a real-life cat, Grumpy Cat is a real deal. Grumpy Cat’s real name is Tardar Sauce, a snowshoe cat which gained a huge popularity after several pictures of her annoyed facial expressions posted on Reddit in 2012. And believe it or not, her popularity has grown so much that she even had tons of merchandises, endorsements, and… comics?
8. Condescending/Sarcastic Willy Wonka
For those children back in 1970s, many of them probably have a fond memory of a classic 1971 family film called Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. However, let’s remind us all that we’re not here to talk about this movie. What we’re more interested in is its “antagonist”: Willy Wonka played by Gene Wilder, specifically, his infamous look during the first arc of the film. Just like many other memes, this image of his spreads like crazy throughout the internet as the Condescending/Sarcastic Willy Wonka meme. And as its name suggests: it’s all about sweet, sweet sarcasm.
9. Bad Luck Brian
Every single person among us must experience bad luck one way or the other. However, not everyone has faced as many bad lucks as “Bad Luck Brian” – one of the most well-known meme character to date. The boy in Bad Luck Brian image is actually a real guy named Kyle Craven. Originally, it was supposedly his high-school yearbook picture. However, due to how “goofy” it looked, that picture was unfortunately not accepted. Thanksfully, Kyle did save the photo and used it as his facebook photo for a while. Things then started to really blow up when his friend Ian Davies used this picture with the quote: “Takes driving test… gets first DUI” and posted it on Reddit. Soon, his meme boomed in a crazy speed. Now we may not see him as much as in the past, but his meme will always be in the hall of fame.
10. SpongeBob Squarepants
SpongeBob Squarepants is a long-running series made by Stephen Hillenburg, airing on Nickelodeon. The series mostly tells about SpongeBob SquarePants and his misadventures in the underwater town called Bikini Bottom. This series is undoubtedly favored by many generations, and even better, it spawns a wide variety of internet memes like Time Cards, Savage Patrick, and Handsome Squidwards. Judging by this series’ popularity, we doubt that its memes will go away any time soon.
11. Deal With It
Deal With It is a classic, yet timeless internet meme. Basically, it is an expression of forcing someone to “accept it” despite the disapproval. This meme often appears in GIF format in which the character always wears black sunglasses. So next time if you see someone posts an image featuring black sunglasses, you have to deal with it.
12. Squinting Fry
Futurama is a wonderful cartoon show which has spawned two important memes: the first one is none other than Squinting Fry. The meme is inspired from Season 2, Episode 6 titled “The Lesser of Two Evils“, in which Fry had this expression shortly after being found searching Leela’s underwear drawer. This very scene quickly became viral and it has been used to show internal monologue: “Not sure if X… or just Y“.
13. Shut Up And Take My Money
This meme was inspired by an iconic scene in Futurama’s Season 6, episode “Attack of the Killer App” in which Fry quickly interrupted cashier’s warning by saying “shut up and take my money”. Of course not surprisingly, this scene became viral on the internet and people kept using this scene to represent their approval toward a product. In addition, it has also spawned various versions of this meme to match with the creators’ purpose and context.
14. Success Kid
If Bad Luck Brian is probably the “unluckiest man” on Earth, then Success Kid is definitely the “luckiest boy” we’ve ever seen. Just like Bad Luck Brian or Good Guy Greg, Success Kid is also one of the first memes appeared on the internet. It originated from an image shot by photographer Laney Griner of her 11-month-old son named Sammy in 2007. Later on, her son’s image was used widely throughout the internet as a meme to describe situations becoming better than expected. Interesting enough, his image was even used for advertisement.
15. Hitler’s “Downfall” Parodies
Back in 2004, there was an iconic WWII-themed movie named “Der Untergang” directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, which is based on the book “Inside Hitler’s Bunker.” The movie tells the story of Hitler during the last ten days of his life and his suicide in Berlin underground bunker. But of course, we’re not here to discuss about this film, we’re here to take a look at the film’s iconic scene when Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) hears that the Germany’s defeat is absolutely certain. For such a memorable scene, obviously people would find a way to make good use of it. In fact, this scene was used and edited as a famous internet meme, which shows Hitler feeling upset towards certain topics.
Here we have another iconic internet meme which is often used to depict a dinosaur being immersed in metaphysical thoughts and paradoxes. Funny enough, it was originally a T-shirt design made by Sam Smith, inspired by his friend Devin who majored in philosophy and tended to hunch over his desk thinking. The design quickly gained lots of attention and quickly became a popular internet meme. Well, it’s quite an unique dinosaur indeed!
17. “It’s a trap!”
Star Wars is an extremely influential series in pop culture and therefore, it’s only natural for such popular franchise to spawn several funny memes. And one of the most iconic Star Wars memes is definitely General Ackbar’s legendary quote: “It’s a trap!” The meme was originally as a warning expression of a potential trap/bait-and-switch prank ahead. Nowadays, people still use this meme as a trap/prank warning, and most of all, as reaction image to transsexuals and cross-dressers scenes/pictures (which often referred to as “traps“).
18. James Van Der Beek crying
Although many internet memes tend to show “troll-ish”, mocking expressions, there are still some few memes which actually show pity or remorse. And talking about pity and remorse, no meme can demonstrate it better than “James Van Der Beek crying” meme (or “Dawson Crying”). This meme was inspired by a close-up shot of James Van Der Beek playing the character Dawson who was crying in a 1990s dramatic TV show. The meme is still being used nowadays, mostly in form of GIFs. Guess James Van Der Beek will not stop crying anytime soon huh?
19. Confused Nick Young
Nick Young is undoubtedly a great basketball player, but what he probably never anticipated is when one of his scenes has become a viral meme on the internet. Things started with an episode of a Youtube series called “Thru The Lens”, which features a day in Nick Young’s life. In this episode, his mother claimed he was “a clown” when he was younger, and at the same time, he was seen showing a confused expression. Naturally, the scene has become one of the most popular internet memes nowadays. And for Young himself, it is probably one of his most memorable moments.
20. If You Know What I Mean
It is quite weird when Mr. Bean, the iconic comedy character played by Rowan Atkinson, did not generate much memes on the internet. But at the very least, we will always remember his mischievous smile in the film “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”. This particular scene, combining with the text “if you know what I mean”, is so popular due to its “lewd” and “sexual” meaning. In reality, the phrase “if you know what I mean” already has dirty, sexual-related meaning years before this Mr. Bean’s scene. And nowadays, this rage comic meme of Mr. Bean has become so iconic that people unanimously relate his meme to the quote. Guess that the legendary comedy character does not need many memes; he only needs one legendary meme.
21. Ancient Aliens
Back in 2010 there was an extremely “infamous” series on History Channel called “Ancient Aliens”, produced and directed by Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. For most of the time, this documentary series focused on the so-called “Ancient Astronaut Theory” which insists that the aliens actually came to Earth throughout the ancient times to help shaping human’s history. These theories are varied like the belief of the pyramids was actually built by the alien. The show was quickly known and funny enough, many people made fun of the series for being too far-fatched or non-sense. As the results, the series became an internet meme which aims to make fun of Tsoukalos’s claims and theories. This meme is no longer popular nowadays, but it definitely gave us one hell of a good time back in the days.
22. Distracted Boyfriend
Distracted Boyfriend by all mean is not an old-time meme, in fact, it only began back in 2015 when the original photo was taken photographer Antonio Guillem. This image alone is humorous enough due to its depicture of a man who looks at another woman while his girlfriend having a disappointing look. Soon, the image is used throughout the internet as the mean to demonstrate the subject who takes interest in other things while at the same time ignoring what he already has. Funny enough, there are also many variations of this meme. It seems the districted boyfriend will always be distracted isn’t it?
23. Michael Jackson eating popcorn
Michael Jackson the King of Pop is undoubtedly a legend. Many of his songs and music videos are huge hits, but there is one particular music video we’re interested: Thriller. Specifically, in this video there is a scene in which Michael Jackson smiling and eating popcorn while watching a thriller film with his girlfriend. This scene looks so amusing that it has become a meme by itself, which is used to show amusing expression while witnessing a drama or argument. So next time if you saw some funny argument on the internet, it’s time to grab some popcorns!
24. Left Exit 12 Off Ramp
This is another relatively new meme within the past few years, featuring a car turns abruptly to into an off ramp. This meme originated from a Youtube video named “How to exit freeway like a boss” showing a car drifting into an off ramp. However, there is actually no highway sign unlike what we normally see from the meme. Nowadays, this meme is often used to represent two ideas, while the car drifts towards the idea author preferred.
25. Change My Mind
This one is an extremely new meme which has just appeared recently since 2018. The meme came from an image of the famous podcaster Steven Crowder who sits behind a sign reading: “Male Privilege is a myth / Change My Mind” outside Texas Christian University. As we can already guess, this image soon is used as a template for various online parodies, including many… sensitive ones.
26. “I don’t feel so good.”
Avengers Infinity War is arguably among the top 10 best Marvel movies yet. And what makes this film even more special is the iconic scene of Spidey (played by Tom Holland) is disappearing right in front of Tony Stark while saying “I don’t feel so good”. This meme is associated with the last arc of Infinity War when Thanos erased half of the universe with just a snap. This meme is both funny and sad (in a way), and hopefully, the upcoming Avengers Endgame will give us some good memes.
27. Epic Handshake
Remember back in 1987, the incredible movie Predator was released and in this film, there is one particular scene which now becomes the famous internet meme: the epic handshake of Dutch (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his old friend Dillon (played by Carl Weathers). The scene is already a legend by itself, then in 2012, the scene was drawn in form of watercolor painting and chalk drawing. And nowadays, it has become a famous meme to depict two different groups of people who are both agree on something or an idea.
28. Netflix adaptation
For some reason, Netflix tends to “ruin” a lot of stories and series originated from manga and anime. And for that reason, a new meme called “Netflix adaptation” was born to show how horribly things gone wrong from manga and anime to Netflix. Recently Netflix did step up their game with anime quality by featuring some really good shows like Devilman Crybaby. But honestly speaking, they will need to do better in terms of real-life adaptation films if they really want to get rid of this meme.
29. Drake’s Hotline Bling
Hotline Bling is the famous R&D single by the famous rapper Drake which has become an inspiration for numerous memes and parodies throughout the internet. But there is one particular meme which is extremely popular among all: the two scenes, one shows Drake disapproving something and the scene below shows Drake approving something. Nowadays, this particular meme is popular used to demonstrate two different ideas, yet only one idea is preferred by the author.
30. Surprised Pikachu
This meme came from a screenshot of Pokémon anime which showing the character Pikachu opening its mouth, which looks like a surprising expression. Quickly in 2018, this cute, yet hilarious facial expression of Pikachu becomes viral throughout the internet, used to express shocked innocence towards something predictable.
31. The most interesting man in the world
Sometimes ads can generate some of the funniest memes in the world. And that was what happened with the Dos Equis beer advertisement campaign starting from 2006. This campaign features a particular video featuring the actor Jonathan Goldsmith starring as “the most interesting man in the world” and his iconic line “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” Funny ads aside, this very scene becomes the popular meme template featuring Jonathan Goldsmith and the catchphrase “I don’t always X, but when I do, I Y.”
32. First World Problems
First World Problems is a funny meme referring to the people from developed countries who consider trivial things to be… a disaster. The meme often features the image of a crying woman who holding her face, along with a funny text which makes fun of light inconveniences.
33. “I will find you and I will kill you”
In the film Taken (2009), the protagonist Bryan Mills (played by Liam Neeson), a retired C.I.A operative, is in search of his missing daughter. During a telephone conversation, Mills speaks to the kidnappers of his daughter for the first time and this scene, he said “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Later on, this scene becomes an iconic meme which represents over-dramatic reaction to certain things.
34. “One does not simply walk into Mordor”
In the epic movie Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), there is an iconic scene in which the Council of Elrond discussed how to destroy the evil ring. And so, it was revealed that the ring could only be undone by throwing it into the Mount Doom. The character Boromir immediately replied that “one does not simply walk into Mordor”, and funny enough, people has found plenty of way to make this scene into a meme.
35. “Brace yourself. Winter is coming”
Yet another funny meme came from film industry. This one in particular came from the famous TV series Game of Thrones, featuring the character Eddard “Ned” Stark saying “Brace yourself. Winter is coming”. This meme is extremely versatile and it is generally used to forewarn others about imminent events to come.
36. “What if I told you…”
In The Matrix, there was a scene in which Neo (played Keanu Reeves) meets Morpheus (played by Lawrence Fishburne) for the first time. By the end of the conversation, Morpheus offers Neo two pills: a red pill and blue pill. Neo does hesitate a little bit but ultimately, he chose the red pill. Although Morpheus did not say the quote “what if I told you” in the film, his facial animation and what he said strongly reminds people of the quote. Soon after, Morpheus’s image quickly spread throughout the internet as the “what if I told you” meme which aims to tell a revelation or a conspiracy. So, “what if I told you… that you can make your newtab looks better?”
37. “That would be great”
This meme originated from the 1999 comedy film Office Space, in which there is a scene showing the protagonist Peter Gibbons (played by Ron Livingston) is repeatedly exploited by his boss Bill Lumbergh (played by Gary Cole). In this scene, Lumbergh told Gibbons to work over the time along with the quote “that would be great”. Then in 2011, a reddit user named Mekrob posted an image showing Bill Lumbergh with the caption “Yeeeaah, if you could just, go ahead and read this in my voice, that’d be great“. Since then, this meme was reused with non-confrontational speech along with the quote “that would be great”.
38. The Indestructible Nokia 3310
Back in the 2000s, many people probably remember the “legendary” Nokia 3000s series which is deemed to be extremely durable and heavy weight. Later on, this Nokia was compared to many current smartphone nowadays, showing how superior it is due to its absurd “strength”. This made the Nokia become a meme itself in which people often exaggerate its power like: “the only way to destroy Nokia is to throw it into Mount Doom” (The Lords of the Ring). Guess we can use it for Thor’s hammer huh?
Have you ever seen someone fail so hard that you cannot help but “facepalm”? Nowadays we can see this meme everywhere throughout the internet and in real life. But do you know that “facepalm” actually existed long before the existence of the internet? In fact, it is a common expression in many cultures. Then in 1990, in the series Star Trek The Next Generation, there was a scene when Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) reacting to a stressful situation by placing his hand on his face. This very scene has become extremely popular throughout the internet and mostly used to express disappointment.
40. Roll Safe
This meme comes from a BBC Three Youtube series called Hood Documentary, featuring a character named Reece Simpson (played by Kayode Ewumi). There was a particular scene in which he finds a woman beautiful because she has “she’s got good brains” and pointing his finger at his head. Later on, @FootyHumor posted this picture with the caption “When you piss her off on purpose, so she can say goodnight at 6pm and you can just play FIFA for the rest of the day in peace.” Soon, this meme becomes extremely popular which is used to make fool of poor decisions.
41. Expanding Brain
The Expanding Brain is a funny meme used to compare a certain thing to the others. It commonly starts with an object (or an idea) associated with picture of a small brain. Below that, there are other objects associated with bigger or more enlightened brains, suggesting that the later objects/ideas are better than the first. This meme is extremely versatile as it can be used in almost any aspect of life, from gaming, anime, to daily life stuffs. So, which things “expand your brain” to enlightenment?
42. “Is this a pigeon?”
This funny meme comes from the 1990s Japanese anime named “The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird” featuring a scene in which the character Yutaro Katori, an android created by Professor Hiroshi Amano, mistook a butterfly for a pigeon. Being hilarious scene aside, this meme eventually becomes a popular anime meme to express utter confusion.
43. “You don’t say?”
Not only Nicolas Cage is a famous actor, he also gave birth to one of the most iconic internet meme to date: “You don’t say?” This meme originated from a scene from 1988 comedy film named “Vampire’s Kiss” in which the character Peter Loew (played by Nicolas Cage) scaring his secretary in a pretty disturbing facial expression. Naturally, this funny facial expression becomes an extremely popular rage-comic meme which mainly used to express sarcastic surprise towards something too obvious.
44. Rule 34 & Rule 63
This is where your childhood can go extremely wrong when you are on the internet. Rule 34 is basically an internet rule saying: “if something exists, there is porn of it.” This means almost everything in the world can be illustrated in sexual way, except for this rule itself. And if Rule 34 is not “disturbing” enough, there is even a new rule called “Rule 63” which basically saying: every character will have his/her opposite-gender counterpart. Together with Rule 34, they make internet a much, much weirder place.
45. Ugandan Knuckles
Ugandan Knuckles is a rather new internet meme, yet it quickly gains attractions within several months. Appearance-wise, this meme was clearly inspired by the character Knuckles from Super Sonic franchise. It was said to come from Sonic Lost World game review by Gregzilla which features a hilarious depiction of Knuckles. Soon after, this depiction becomes a popular avatar in the game VR Chat which mostly used by trollers with famous quote “do you know de wey”. Funny enough, in 2016 a YouTuber named VirtuallyVain also uploaded a video in which he role-played as an African rebel from Uganda.
46. “I Took an Arrow in the Knee“
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is considered as one of the best RPG games ever made. And interesting enough, it also gave birth to one of the funniest gaming memes to date. It comes from town guard NPCs who often say “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.” Soon this funny quote has become internet meme involving the caption: “I used to X, then I took an arrow to the knee.”
If you’re into Twitch streaming, you definitely see this funny emote. The emote originated from a grey-scale photograph of Josh DeSeno, a former employee of Justin TV. This image is already funny by itself and it is quickly used to express sarcasm. So, do you feel like “Kappa” today?
48. Daily Struggle
This meme comes from an illustrator drew by animator Jake Clark depicting a character who’s swiping his sweet, struggling between the two choices “BE A ****” and “DON’T BE A ****”. This image got reposted on Reddit and as expected, this meme became so popular throughout the internet. The meme is rather easy to be edited and it is commonly used to express an extreme struggling between two choices.
49. Salt Bae
How to make a person feel more salty? We give them even more salt! That’s when Salt Bae comes in. In reality, Salt Bae is a nickname given to a Turkish chef named Nusret Gökçe thanks to his famous video on Twitter showing him carving a steak and sprinkling salt in a flamboyant way. Later on, the picture of Gökçe sprinkling salt becomes viral as a funny parody. Other than that, the meme is also used as internet comment to intentionally putting more “salt” into someone’s “wound”.
50. Press F to Pay Respects
Finally, we end this list with a funny gaming meme from a game from popular Call of Duty franchise: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. It comes from an infamous scene in this game in which the main protagonist Jack Mitchell attends the funeral of his friend who fought in South Korea. And for some reason, the game forced players to press “F” in order to pay respect (and to progress the game of course). The reason why this scene becomes a meme is that it felt way too forcing players into doing something out of place. And so, many people on the internet, mostly gamers, often used the meme “Press F” in order to pay “sarcastic respect” towards something.
And that’s it folks! Which internet memes here are your most favorite? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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