The 50 Best Memes of 2017
In 2016, memes had such a strong run they became bigger than Jesus. This year? Dozens of heavy hitters sought to steal the thrones of yesteryear's web royalty. Whether it was a screenshot, a GIF, or a heavy dose of sarcasm, the internet didn't disappoint when responding to 2017's insanity. (It helped that there was a lot.) Read on for a ranking of our 50 favorites, the ones that made a big impression and became impossible to forget.
50. Elf on the ShelfThis old Christmas tradition got new life when the Tumblr and Reddit crowds popularized a catchy refrain: "You've heard of Elf on the Shelf, now get ready for... Ash in the Trash? Waluigi on a Squeegee? Shrek on a Deck?" Thanks to visual clues, the rhyme was for you to (roll your eyes at and) finish. The admittedly dumb template became unavoidable after it surfaced, but, when used correctly, it was a damn treat.
49. The Great American EclipseWow. "The Great American Eclipse" of 2017 was really special. It was the first time since 1979 a total solar eclipse was visible from the U.S., and when that moon started to obscure the sun, man, people really lost their shit. Some celebrated with special Eclipse glasses, others with earthbound eclipses (see above), and a special few with downright bad decisions. Bright!
48. The Floor Is...The #FloorIsLavaChallenge videos you might have seen were bad -- they called to mind that obnoxious gallon-smash fad; never replicate -- but their cousins, the floor is X pics, were not bad. Remember playing lava monster when you were a kid? "The floor is X" pics were kind of like that, just poking fun at other things you either needed to, or couldn't, avoid.
46. Apple GlitchAt the end of October, Apple released an iOS update that came with an unfortunate bug. Mobile users noticed that every time they tried to type a standalone "i" an "A," along with a question-mark box, took its place. Some Apple devotees got mad. Some adapted with the lowercase "L." But best of all, many simply embraced their new alphabetical overlord.
44. Expanding BrainThese images made the internet's inevitable crescendoes to absurdity beautiful. Beginning as an illustration for the "whomst" meme, the expanding brains quickly evolved into a template for other jabs at those boasting supposed intellectual superiority: "The earth is round." "No, it's flat!" "Actually... it's a cube." Boom.
43. Salt BaeTurkish chef Nusret Gökçe isn't your average chef. He's the kind of culinary artist who thinks knives are paintbrushes, slabs of red meat are canvases, and evil omens about spilling salt are straight-up horse pucky. Thanks to one Instagram upload, Gökçe's signature finishing salt pose spawned delectable soccer celebrations, street art pieces, and parodies galore.
40. Tiny TrumpGoogle would have had you believe that Donald Trump's height came in at 6-ft-2. According to this Lilliputian meme, that shit was fake news.
39. Redbone RemixLast December, Childish Gambino (also dba Donald Glover) released Awaken, My Love! The album's second single, "Redbone," would debut as a sleeper hit, the kind that, thanks to the "What 'Redbone' would sound like while X" meme, would give the song new life. The kind that would come full circle at Governors Ball, where Glover would reference said meme and make everyone explode.
38. Rick and Morty FansRick and Morty, the show, had a good year. Season 3 unspooled on Adult Swim to much fanfare and acclaim. Rick and Morty fans? Bad year. Some of the more "passionate" viewers did very dumb shit and very terrible shit. Thankfully, the proliferation of a certain copypasta came to skewer the more pretentious, toxic, self-important of the lot.
37. Monkey HaircutEarly this year, footage of a macaque getting a haircut went viral. The world immediately fell in love with the old soul trapped in the monkey's body, just trying to enjoy a fancy trim while the inevitable deluge of existential questions rocked it to its very core. Just look at that face. The video was already good, but then the monkey started getting Photoshopped onto famous screengrabs with... hands? Everywhere, basically. For a time it felt like no photo with hands was safe -- the kind of danger maybe you were OK with.
35. Asahd KhaledMeet Asahd, DJ Khaled's young son who, despite the diapers, spent the beginning of his young career bagging an executive producer credit, a Ferrari, and his very own meme shrine. How's business? Obviously, BOOMIN'.
34. I GOT SOME LOUDThe rapper Young King Dave likes to enjoy the weather and let people know he has loud. At least that's what it looks like in this Instagram, which has gotten everything from a Family Guy edit to an autotune treatment.
33. ItIn Stephen King's It, a young boy named Georgie chases a paper boat into a storm drain -- a very good place to find nefarious entities and just about anything you consider a vice.
32. Beyoncé's OrderAs a recent restaurant visit proved, truly everything Bey does gets meme-orialized.
31. PorgsThe Force Awakens had BB-8. The Last Jedi will have the Porgs. When the cute creatures were introduced on the official Star Wars website, Lucasfilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo explained that they can "be found dwelling along the cliffs of the island where Luke and Rey are. In many ways, they're the Star Wars version of puffins. They build nests. They can fly." And, oh, baby, they can be memed! Enjoy now, because by the end of December, they'll surely be as divisive as Baby Groot.
30. The MoochAnthony Scaramucci might have only been the president's hype man for a week-and-a-half, but he spawned a lifetime of memes. See: Futurama comparisons, bad 'mooch jokes, Kate Hudson movies, Simpsons clips, inspirational quote flubs, and so much more. (Thank you for your service.)
28. Living in 3017If you've ever doubted the existence of time travelers, you need to open your eyes. They walk among us.
23. The BabadookIn 2014, The Babadook terrified moviegoers. Then, in 2016, the movie found a home in Netflix's LGBT section. Now, the movie's title character is a queer icon, a hero who has made fans the world over Babashook.
22. Bad StatuesMany were stoked when protesters in downtown Durham toppled a racist Confederate soldier statue. Actor James Woods was not, instead tweeting a pic of the Marine Corps War Memorial and writing, "Before the #liberals find a reason to deface, destroy or degrade this one, I thought some of you might like to see it one more time…" Woods, as you can see, missed the point -- something the #liberals #relished.
21. Donald Trump's Paper Towel ShotMoron.
16. Retire BitchIn March 2013, actor Danny DeVito tweeted "Antonin Scalia retire bitch." His reasons for doing so are still unclear. But four years later, the concise demand has bloomed into a popular refrain, a call for controversial men, especially politicians, to cut their bullshit and pack it in.
14. Sly DuckA feathered celeb who's either up to no good or, as Twitter user @whomstami noted, "has the tea on EVERYBODY I'm crying." We are all crying.
13. Trump OrbAt the end of May, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudi Arabia's King Salman, and our very own President Trump joined forces to do some very good orb touching. Photos were snapped, a mystery born -- WHAT IS ORB??? -- paving the way for apt comparisons (like Bill Kristol's Macbeth reference) and poignant insights (you know "orb" is "bro" spelled backwards, right, bro?). To this day: SOS.
11. One Thicc BihThe Ditty app will sing whatever you type. Even if it's about someone being "one thicc bih." Actually, especially if someone is "one thicc bih." Someone, in this case, being everyone.
8. "Man's not hot" / "The ting goes"At the end of August, comedian Michael Dapaah brought some characters to BBC Radio's 1Xtra for a fun "Fire in the Booth" session. His resulting Big Shaq freestyle parodied U.K. gangster stereotypes and birthed two great memes: the "man's not hot" retort and a surprisingly long string of gunshot onomatopoeias -- both ripe for overdubbing (above) and remixing.
3. Roll SafeLast summer, while playing the character R.S. (aka Roll Safe) in the BBC Three's #HoodDocumentary series, actor Kayode Ewumi made a coded oral sex quip. The screengrab of that moment is now, and forever, your best-worst source of advice.
In Meme-oriamRIP to some of our other favorite, bold, wonderful, but ultimately short-lived memes from the year, including Trump and Pope Francis, Persona 5, everything 13 Reasons Why, sad athletes and student athletes, the Best Picture Gaffe, Gold Ceelo, Fyre Fest, the #GetOutchallenge, this one, the emoji sheriff, #InADreamChallenge, Nic Cage in Kazakhstan, Kellyanne Conway's couch, Kendrick Lamar's album cover, Bush's poncho, BBC Dad, Outback Steakhouse's satanic ties, Shaq's singing, drive-by dunks, powder that makes you say yes, Fox News distractions, Tom Holland's mouth, "Sometimes, things that are more expensive… are worse," #StopandStareChallenge, Taylor Swift's Reputation, blur dogs, Your Eyes on Drugs, the #BowWowChallenge, Gossiping Gosling, Italian hand memes, Whomst, What in tarnation, Hopper dancing, Drake pouring Perrier, "yeah sex is cool but...," and Bella Hadid's insane sneaker-shopping interview.
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