The 85 Best Memes of 2019, Ranked
You haven't read this list and it SHOWS.
Memes may come and go, but the act of memeing will never die, at least as long as the Internet exists for us to share photos of Distracted Boyfriend and Blinking White Guy with all of our extremely online friends. The problem, though, is that with the memes coming in rapid fire, many of them suck or spawn the same joke, while others more deserving of praise may get overlooked. So instead of bloating this year-end list with bad, unfunny memes your friends hated you for sharing, we've only included the absolute dankest. Here's what we deemed to be the best memes of 2019. It's been a really weird year.
Like this kind of stuff? Good: Check out our picks for the Best Movies of 2019 and the Best TV Shows of 2019.
85. The world record egg
If you haven't heard of The Egg by now, you have a blissfully unbothered relationship with social media. At the beginning of this year, one humble Instagram account set out to do the unimaginable: become more popular than the social network's reigning queen, Kylie Jenner. Against all odds, The Egg handily beat its competition, collecting more than 10 million followers and nearly 53 million faves at time of publication. Naturally, it was memed.
84. White Claw
It's been the year of hard seltzer, and none have been more popular than White Claw and its multitude of perfumed flavors. The Claw really got its big break thanks to a viral video by YouTuber Trevor Wallace declaring 2019 White Claw summer.
83. Fixing things with instant ramen
As far as DIY "hacks" go, using instant ramen to repair broken household appliances one of the most insane seen to date. Thanks to the multiplatform spread of these kinds of videos on Reddit, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, this idea took off, spawning plenty of other home attempts without ever fully becoming a challenge. Mostly, it's stayed in its lane of "implausible viral video" -- people have speculated that the sink video, specifically, was doctored -- which we have to respect.
82. Celebrities as things tweet threads
Though this meme's shelf life will be short, the "celebrities as inanimate objects" trend will live on as a powerful, albeit niche, moment in internet time. What started as one user pairing Beyoncé's colorblocked outfits with sea sponges blossomed into something weird and beautiful: Mariah Carey as whisks, Ben Affleck as Dunkin drinks, and Cole Sprouse as bottles of booze.
81. Avenge the Fallen
When Marvel Studios released the extremely dramatic poster campaign for Avengers: Endgame, featuring colorized headshots for all the characters who survived The Snap and black and white ones for everyone who didn't, the big news was that Black Panther's fan-favorite little sister Shuri had perished. The second-biggest news was that the poster format was infinitely memeable, prompting the denizens of the Internet to make their own campaigns honoring all the other classic characters killed off before their prime. Some of us will never forgive Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for what they did to that poor Brachiosaurus.
80. Wrong answers only
Fairly self-explanatory, "wrong answers only" tweets had a moment in 2017, died down, and came back strong in summer 2019.
Stonks might get you fame and fortune, but they can't buy you happiness.
78. I don't know who needs to hear this, but
Weirdly enough, the phrase "I don't know who needs to hear this, but" first became a meme thanks to Christian Twitter back in 2017 when Twitter user @theoQuotes tweeted something about God's plan. That died down, but it caught a second wind in 2019 when rapper Wale tweeted about jelly belonging on a "TurkeyBaconEggNCheese Sandwich." People ran with it as a blanket inspirational tool.
77. Gamer girl bath water
In July, popular video game streamer Belle Delphine took full advantage of the capitalist system and sold her dirty bath water online, which people obviously freaked out over when fake reports of a herpes breakout from drinking said bathwater started swirling. Honestly, we regret not thinking of doing this first.
76. Powerful Shaggy
Who the hell knows why people thought it'd be a good idea to turn Shaggy into a Super Saiyan, but here we are. Though this confounding Dragon Ball/Scooby Doo crossover was first memed in 2017, it was revived in early 2019 with fervor. (The release of the new movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly probably had something to do with it.) Version 1 of Ultra Instinct Shaggy was all about the cartoon version of Scooby Doo, and while that's still in play here, Version 2 has introduced Matthew Lillard's live action Shaggy into the mix, morphing the meme into Powerful Shaggy.
75. The Jeremy Renner app
Jeremy Renner's Jeremy Renner app was basically just a platform for Jeremy Renner to post pictures of himself along with messages to fans to have a good weekend until Online Guy Stefan Heck sowed chaos on the Jeremy Renner app by posting the word "porno," leading to its demise. It was fun while it lasted, we guess?
74. Groovy Kermit
Remember the dancing hot dog of 2017? This groovy dancing Kermit is the 2019 equivalent of that, starting as an AR Snapchat filter in January and pivoting to a vibe-y "that feeling when" type of video -- specifically this one, of Kermit dancing alone in a corner.
73. Game of Thrones memes
Let's face it: the Game of Thrones memes have been much better than the actual show this season. Just as every week brings us a new episode to pore over, every week a new meme surfaces to ravage the internet for seven days before we all move on to the next one. First it was the dragons who were a little TOO into the idea of Jon and Daenerys' incest; then it was Bran staring down every person in Winterfell, which led to some truly inspired "London Bridge" and Curb Your Enthusiasm dubs; and then Daenerys' squinty I-would-rather-roast-you-alive grin proved relatable to artists and retail employees alike.
72. The new Sword & Shield Pokémon
This is what happens when you announce new things in the meme era. In early June, Nintendo announced its new Pokémon game, Sword & Shield, along with the game's new starter Pokémon and a few new game features, notably "Dynamax," in which you can make your guys really, really big. The internet did what it does, memeing the shit out of the game's news. Having now played the game, we can confirm that Dynamax-ing your Pokémon rules.
71. SpongeBob in drag
In a theme common to this list, the origins of the SpongeBob in drag carrying a purse while traveling the world have no real basis in our everyday reality. One day in late May, Twitter user @DlXlENORMOUS tweeted out her new profile picture, SpongeBob from the Season 1 episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" photoshopped in front of the Eiffel Tower, along with a thread of the sentient sponge in different locales around the world. The nonsequitur took off, becoming a meme that's honestly pretty good!
70. Meryl Streep scream
Meryl Streep has been memed before and she'll be memed again, but this most recent dip into misappropriated moments is lifted from the first episode of Big Little Lies Season 2. Playing the mother of the man who was killed in Season 1 at a lunch that sets her off, Streep lets out a piercing shriek of grief, which is hilarious out of context.
69. Bottle cap challenge
What started as a random machismo-signaling MMA meme challenge busted its way into the mainstream when reigning UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway challenged reigning pop blues singer-songwriter John Mayer to open a bottle with merely a well-planned spin-kick, who, in turn, challenged reigning Transporter Jason Statham to do the same. Like a character in one of his films, Statham not only executed the move, but straight up murdered it. And then everyone was suddenly doing it, from Kendall Jenner on a jetski to Justin Bieber to Mariah Carey to Diplo. Of course, the trophy goes to literal legend Donnie Yen, who doesn't even need to look at his bottle cap, thanks very much.
68. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform "Shallow" at the Oscars
This year's Oscar ceremony was pretty breezy and mostly fun, aside from some ill-advised wins but it was Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga who stole the night, obviously, with their rendition of "Shallow," not yet the Oscar-winning Best Original Song from A Star Is Born. Towards the end of their intimate, mesmerizing performance that was apparently planned for months, Cooper sets his mic down and walks over to sit next to Gaga at the piano, leaning in so their two faces become one and they NEARLY start making out right there in the middle of the Dolby Theatre. We all know this couple. We're friends with this couple, or we've seen them getting weird in public at, like, a Panera or something, and for Cooper and Gaga to replicate this exact feeling on-screen in front of millions of people... well, that's talent. And a meme.
67. "I'm gonna tell my kids..."
"I'm gonna tell my kids this was [insert thing here]," with [funny, incorrect photo], is the upgrade of "wrong answers only."
66. Vibe check
Hath you checked your vibes lately? If not, it might be time for your annual checkup.
65. "you were at my wedding Denise…."
Out of context, "you were at my wedding Denise" reads as an incredible own of the white lady named Denise who came to your wedding and later forgot about your special bond! In reality, its origins are particularly annoying, stemming from a conservative Twitter beef between now-fired Federalist columnist DC "Denise" McAllister and Meghan McCain, John McCain's daughter. McAllister had called the cultural value of daytime talk show The View in question, to which Meghan McCain -- who, again, is John McCain's daughter, if you've forgotten -- replied with the now-memed line.
64. Thicc starfish
When one sees a thicc starfish bustin' out at the aquarium, you gotta document it for the online hordes who will definitely find the idea of a starfish with a butt, a la Patrick Star, very funny.
63. Me and the boys
How did a squadron of Spider-Man villains from the '60s turn into a wholesome meme format in 2019? These things just happen.
62. Cultural impact
This funny little meme made the rounds by brushing off a very important piece of Art in favor of something more beloved and relevant to 2019.
61. Buff ASCII sheriff
Take the emoji sheriff, and make him buff. Then, run him through the ASCII generator, and voila: the buff sheriff. Not to be outdone by fellow ASCII memes of early 2019, ASCII tea, ASCII blade, and last but absolutely not least, ASCII buff bunnies.
60. "Act My Age"
Back in 2014 AD, we still had Vine, and therefore joy. That's where this video comes from: Viner Aspect Za'Vier rounded up his brother and mom, who is a choreographer, to film his first-ever Vine video to the opening of One Direction's song "Act My Age." Unlike any of our first Vine posts, Aspect Za'Vier's went viral. After having secondary acclaim in 2017, the video is back in 2019 for more jokes. Memes never die.
59. Scantron tests
If you remember scantron tests, you probably remember the distinct joy of making patterns and spelling out words while bubbling in your answers. Funny scantron tweets have been around for a while, but the meme didn't take off until just recently. Ranging from extremely dark to a little more whimsical, the scantron meme is the nostalgic throwback content all of us meme hounds deserve.
58. Choking Sasuke
"Who is this anime guy and why is he a meme?" you might be asking, especially if you're unfamiliar with the incredibly popular series Naruto. We can answer the first part: Sasuke Uchiha is a major player in the anime and manga who's made it his life's mission to kill his older, estranged brother, Itachi, for slaughtering their clan. Not cool! This specific still comes from a scene early-ish in the series, where Itachi comes for Sasuke and the two get into a kerfuffle that does not go well for Sasuke. He ends up getting choked out by his brother, who says to him, "You are weak because you don't have enough hate." As for that second question, why -- honestly who knows. The internet is a weird, unknowable place, man.
57. "...and it SHOWS"
The kind of disgruntled non-sequitur language that has permeated websites like Tumblr for nearly a decade finally made its way onto the main stage of the Internet this year with "...and it shows," a relatable content meme that'll have you saying "*I* do that" at your screens for days, whether it's being squeezed out of your clique while walking on the sidewalk or holding the flashlight for your dad while he yelled at a car.
56. The return of creepy kids' YouTube
Kids' YouTube is riddled with weird ass videos definitely made by shady algorithms from channels with origins veiled in subterfuge. Some of these low-budget CGI videos should absolutely not be seen by children under any circumstance, and others are 10 minutes of rainbow animals that walk through a fountain car wash thing and come out the other side as different rainbow animals walking to bumping house music like it's a fashion catwalk. Whatever the educational purpose of the latter is meant to be, watching them is totally engrossing, especially and specifically for adult audiences with broken brains.
Joker might not have been a great movie, but it did spawn some great memes. Tiny Joker? Dancing Joker? "If you didn't catch the reference"? C'mon.
54. Bowling alley strike videos
Chances are if you grew up in suburbia, you probably went to your fair share of bowling birthday parties between the ages of approximately 7 and 15. If you were decent (or lucky) enough to bowl a strike, then you know exactly the kind of bizarre, 3D-animated graphics of a sentient bowling pin or whatever that would pop up on the score screen to celebrate your accomplishments, spares and other rare shots included. Some online genius took this niche idea, and memed it with other equally as strange videos, such as this one of buff Garfield.
53. Sophie Turner Juuling
Sophie Turner, the Juul queen, our vape goddess, is out there living her best post-Game of Thrones life. She's slamming wine in the front row of basketball games, being a superhero, starring in her fiancé's music videos. But at no time is she most in her element as when she's Juuling, which is apparently always. The 'Sophie Turner Juuling' meme really took off when a photographer caught a behind-the-scenes moment of Turner, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright shooting the big Game of Thrones scene where Bran becomes king. Williams is wearing sunglasses, Wright is cheesing in shorts, and Turner, ever our modern icon, is Juuling. The obsession of seeing Turner with her Juul has spun off into its own Instagram account -- as it should.
52. MoM DiD YoU tAkE mY JuuL
This might be the hardest to source meme of the year. Beyond knowing it came from TikTok and the app's voice modulator, there's little else to go off of besides the proliferation of videos using the "mom did you take my juul" conversation audio track, but it's so funny that finding the original barely matters. (Still, we'd like to know who's responsible.)
51. Yee yee juice
This TikTok meme/challenge is a natural extension of the "yee haw agenda" that was sweeping pop culture off its cowboy boots before Billy Ray Cyrus intervened. Also known as the yeehaw challenge, the glow-up videos typically go like this: set to the pre-chorus of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road (I Got Horses In The Back)," the person on camera will drink out of a cup labeled "yee yee juice," and at the chorus drop, they'll turn into the yee haw'd version of themselves in stiff denim or jorts and cowboy hats and flannel. Giddyup.
50. Black hole
It's a truth universally acknowledged that no matter how insanely incredible a new scientific discovery is, the denizens of the Internet will do their best to deface it with memes. The black hole at the center of nearby galaxy M87 was photographed in April of this year, a feat many thought was impossible, given black holes' ability to suck up even the particles of light itself. But they did it, and then we did it. The poor black hole went through the meme ringer in its first 24 hours, combined with everything from Shrek to surprised Pikachu to… bagels. Whatever you do, just don't zoom and enhance.
Throwing harmless stuff on defenseless creatures: It's funny. For 2019's most wholesome owns, look no further than the "cheesing" trend. Picture this: a baby, or a cat, or some other adorable thing that's not as smart as us having its entire universe blown asunder by the simple act of tossing a moist Kraft single on its face. Good, wholesome fun ensues.
48. Autotune cats
Cats are especially weird, which means they can be made to do very funny things. That's why, seemingly simultaneously, a bunch of people came up with the idea to turn their kitties into pop stars by shoving reverb-y mics into their disapproving little faces or autotuning them when they refuse to shut up. At least, if your cat insists on waking you up at a time that doesn't exist, like 4 in the freakin' morning, you can take some joy out of the situation.
47. Sparking joy
Since New Years, "KonMari"-ing has gone from a controversial decluttering tactic to an embraced household method of purging the shit you don't need anymore, thanks to Tidying Up with Marie Kondo that dropped on Netflix January 1. A significant tenet of Marie Kondo's organizational belief system is "sparking joy," and whether or not an object does drives one's decision to keep said object or thank it out loud and let it go. Turning the catchphrase into a meme was low-hanging fruit; it was basically destined to be used for people to make dumb jokes online from the second everyone became obsessed with the reality series.
46. Paul Rudd on Hot Ones
Paul Rudd went on Complex's popular wing eating webseries Hot Ones and had this extremely relatable exchange with host Sean Evans that would memorialize his guest appearance while tolerating spicy sauces.
By now, if you haven't listened to the semi-popular, barely "leftist"/"socialist"/"communist"/whateverist Red Scare podcast, you've probably heard the criticism. (If you've avoided all of it, god bless you.) The hosts, Dasha Nekrasova, Anna Khachiyan, and their producer Meg Murnane, make jokes that test the boundaries of taste, to put it politely. It was only natural that a comedian from another sphere would eventually parody their mock-everything tone with a viral video that gave us the rallying cry, "PRAXIIIIIIIS," for situations where you don't actually know what the hell you're talking about but want to sound like you do.
We love that no-good, rotten goose who steals!
43. This shot is brilliant and should be shown in any film class
Game of Thrones ended this spring on a note that was divisive, to say the least. Daenerys Targaryen ended up embracing her family's tendencies toward fire and blood, and when her villain reveal finally happened, it included a shot of her walking out of a ruined castle with her dragon Drogon opening his wings behind her in the background. It's a cool shot! But one fan ignited the ire of "I took a film class in college" Twitter, by posting that that shot deserved more recognition than most are willing to give the tits and dragons show. Naturally, everyone had their own "this shot is brilliant," and Game of Thrones birthed its very last meme.
42. Me explaining to my mom
Remember all those bizarre requests you made of your parents when you were young and dumb? The internet has finally memed the experience, a tribute to the many dramatic ways in which you interacted with the adults around you when they just couldn't understand why all this weird stuff was so important to you. The pictures in question actually have nothing to do with the meme itself (pretty typical): the first is a still from a video posted by former Vine star Quenlin Blackwell screaming in the bathroom, and the second is taken from a casual Instagram post by Ms. Juicy from Little Women: Atlanta, but, together, they create something instantly relatable.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, aside from being hands-down one of the best animated movies in years, managed to spark a meme of its own, taken from a screenshot of two of the Spider-people crouching down for a quick think. Taking the format of the Distracted Boyfriend meme from 2018, the overlaid text could be anything, from you listening to your friend talk about their weird obsession to… holding the flashlight for your dad while he yelled at a car.
40. I made queso
Yikes. Fox News co-host and chef(?) Dana Perino upset everyone who wasn't already wringing their hands during Super Bowl Sunday with her photo of a cursed queso that swiftly went viral thanks to how freakin' gross it looked. Naturally, the comedians of the Internet rushed to post photos of their own "queso," each nastier and more inedible than the next.
Powerful, if you stop to think about it…….
38. Cats movie trailer
The day before the trailer for Cats, the movie version of the musical that should have never become as popular as it is, dropped on the internet, a short behind-the-scenes video hyped the "digital fur technology" the studio used to turn the film's human actors into cats… sort of. But we were unprepared. We were so unprepared. The cats in Cats are actually half-person-half-cat, a cursed mid-Animorph that layers cat fur and ears over lithe human bodies and had us staring deep, deep into the uncanny valley. People were terrified, people were upset. People tweeted through it, which meant nearly a week of crazed reactions to this year's most horrid movie trailer. And you thought Sonic the Hedgehog looked scary!!
37. Detective Pikachu dancing
Detective Pikachu charmed pretty much everyone when it was released in theaters earlier this spring, mostly due to how unbelievably cute the title character is, despite the fact that he's voiced by a grown man. The animation department really outdid themselves with the motion capture, layering Pikachu's wrinkly forehead and big cheeks onto Ryan Reynolds' face. And that's not the only meme that came out of this movie. A week before it hit theaters, Warner Bros. released a fake "leaked" version, which ended up being a 2-hour-long video of animated Pikachu dancing on a loop. It looks like it was taken from one of those '80s exercise videos, and the choreography is actually almost identical to one of Key & Peele's funniest sketches, which itself is a parody of an infamous 1988 TV workout marathon. (Jordan Peele himself pretty much confirmed it.) Everyone wanted to make their own peppy Detective Pikachu dance videos, and set the footage to everything from Bonnie Tyler to Blackpink.
36. Tough guy entrance
Some people are lucky enough to get memed once in their lives. Very few of those people actually get memed AGAIN… unless they're Jawad Bendaoud, who was jailed in April for housing two of the terrorists who committed the 2015 Paris attacks. During his trial, he was recorded walking into the room in a sparkly jacket looking like he was about to square up against every member of the jury at once, which, of course, looks SO funny. The first time Bendaoud was memed was actually back in 2015, when he was questioned live on camera about his involvement in the attacks and said he had no idea what the guys were planning. The French memers were merciless.
35. Bill Hader dancing
It's crazy how this unaired clip from SNL in 2015 of Bill Hader dancing syncs with literally every song to ever exist.
34. Succession theme edits
Really, it's all about Demi Adejuyigbe putting lyrics to the Succession theme song. Who will win a kiss from daddy?
33. "If I were…, I would simply..."
If I were you I would simply share this mega list of memes from 2019.
32. Italian AOC
Thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for dramatically asking questions in Congressional caucuses for everyone else to capture the perfect moment.
31. im baby
There's nothing to really "get" about "I'm baby" other than "I'm baby." (Though it did come from somewhere.) Just try saying it! You're baby, they're baby, we're all baby. I'm baby!
30. Baby Yoda
A 2019 meme latecomer, Baby Yoda from Disney+'s The Mandalorian is very, very cute. That's about all we know about him, but just look at those ears!
29. Jonathan Frakes' questions
Being a television show host is kind of a thankless job, especially when you know that children on the internet will look back on your hard work decades from now and make fun of how hokey it is. Back in 1998, Jonathan Frakes hosted the show Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, which presented the audience with wild and bizarre stories, and at the end of each episode he revealed which ones were real and which ones were made up. Each segment starts with him asking bizarre nonsequitur questions, and Twitter user Zane Golia took the trouble to edit a few of them into a very strange video. Many added their own spin to it, like this high-concept addition from Twitter user leon, who made the video into an entire experience.
28. Storming Area 51
There's a certain flavor of humor you can only find in Facebook parody events -- stuff like Drake appearing at a Hooters in an obscure location, or everyone running like Naruto at the same time. Most of these events never actually happen, but "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" got so popular the Internet almost literally willed it into existence. The bad news is Area 51 is an airtight government facility in the middle of the desert, so nothing actually got "stormed," but the good news is that there was a music festival nearby anyway called Alienstock. The true secrets of Area 51, like every great X-Files episode tells us, are best left to the imagination and brief sightings of a single boy Naruto-running behind a reporter during a live newscast.
27. "Rise and shine"
Kylie Jenner wrote the song of the decade for her daughter Stormi's wakeup call, which she quickly trademarked once everyone online became obsessed. Rise and shiii-heen.
26. Cats can have a little salami
One of the best online non sequiturs this year came from a fixed typo in a google search from 2017 ("cats can have little a salami") that, out of nowhere, became a Thing. Cats CAN have a little salami.
25. Summoning circles
Our newfound obsession with all-things occult (see: tarot, astrology, crystals, "witch" blogs on Tumblr) and our need for things to just appear in our hands (see: Grubhub, Seamless, ordering toilet paper in bulk from Amazon Prime) combined and birthed their cursed baby, the "summoning circles" meme, in which, just by placing a few candle emojis around a desired object or outcome, we could influence the future. Powerful magic, if it was real. Some folks took the original format and spiced it up a bit, replacing the candles with things one could summon -- like cats when they hear the sound of a can of food being pried open.
Now that the 1995 anime classic Neon Genesis Evangelion has hit Netflix, a whole new slew of people can now understand all the memes about Shinji getting in the robot or else Rei will have to do it, amongst other things.
23. Kombucha reaction
Making decisions is tough. Sometimes your initial gut reaction is wrong, sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong, and sometimes it's right again. That's the mini face journey TikTok user @brittanyt445 took us all on when she videoed herself trying kombucha for the first time. First, she's disgusted, then maybe pleased, then disgusted again. "No, no," she says. And then, "Well…." Part of what makes this so funny is her facial expressions alone, which are so dynamic that you can apply them to a whole host of situations: looking at yourself in the mirror, hanging out with certain astrological signs, going out with your friends or staying in for the night.
22. Stuffed Kirby
One of Kirby's greatest strengths is his ability to inhale lots of stuff and carry it around in his mouth. It also looks very funny, which is why Twitter user Lucbomber edited together a video of him running around with his mouth full, set to upbeat music. Other Twitter users added funny captions to the video, everything from running to your mom to bother her when you're bored to suspiciously asking what forbidden item a dog has in its mouth. It's a simple format with perfectly narrow application.
21. "Ah shit, here we go again"
Video game cutscenes are the gifts that keep on giving, and 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas contains one that has endured for more than a decade. The clip of protagonist CJ stalking down an alleyway at the very beginning of the game, after a couple corrupt police officers harass him into a bad part of town, has such a relatable delivery of the now immortal line, "Ah shit, here we go again," that it couldn't not eventually become a meme for a certain resigned acceptance towards any kind of confrontation. It works every time.
For some reason, people on the internet just love reliving the awful parts of their childhoods, perhaps out of some need for validation, to be told by all the other triggered people out there that they're not alone, that other people were unpopular in school too. One easy way to evoke this feeling is POV videos, popularized by Tiktok user Olivia Giordano, whose video in which she plays a popular cool girl asking you if you're emo went viral a few months ago. She's so good at them that people repeatedly ask her if she really is that mean in the comments, though she insists that she's not. She's just a great actress! A… suspiciously great actress.
19. Fucking mint
If you thought this meme was about celebrating the nice, brand-new things you have, think again. This TikTok meme is for suffering, like complaining about your car in which practically nothing works, a home in which everything is broken, etc, etc, etc.
18. You hate to see it
"You hate to see it" is a pretty oldddd meme, in internet years, but for some reason, it's really permeated the culture recently, probably because there are a lot more things out there that we really do hate to see. "You hate to see it" could be added to any image of something you just hate seeing, like embarrassing flirts or failed football plays. It's a similarly relatable offshoot of the world-weary "It really do be like that sometimes," wrapping a big sigh and a bad situation up into a handy little phrase. You hate to see it! Alternatively, the variant form "you love to see it," for all the positive, good stuff out there we love to see, was born.
17. The fish tube
Expansion of infrastructure into environments that house crucial migratory routes for the planet's species forces scientists to come up with new ideas to lessen human impact on nature. Did you know, for example, that they built a little tunnel so that turtles could cross a highway unharmed?? How nice! A fish tube, though: that's funny. When environmental scientists unveiled their "salmon cannon," a giant tube just big enough for a large fish to hurtle from one body of water into another, everyone wanted in on the action. Some wondered if the fish liked the fish tube, others wanted to be put into the fish tube themselves. It's an inherently funny concept. Imagine if you were a fish and suddenly someone was hoisting you into a tube in which you flapped and flumped until you were unceremoniously dumped back into newer, different water. Imagine if this was the future of human transportation: instead of cars and subways, we'll insert ourselves into people tubes at the end of the workday to be whooshed straight home.
16. "Let me in!"
In 2016, comedian Eric Andre tried his hardest to get into the Democratic National Convention (ahh, simpler times) but, since his "press pass" had been "revoked," he had to settle for banging on the fence and crashing a protest outside the doors. Nearly three years later, a clip from this segment of The Eric Andre Show has become an especially deranged meme, involving a relatable situation -- such as the deep, primal urge to bang Count Dracula himself, or cats trying to claw into your room -- and Andre wetly screaming "LET ME IIIIIIN!!"
15. ok boomer
There wasn't much time to really savor "ok boomer" as a perfect clapback once the New York Times wrote about it. Still, it was fun to own the boomers this way while it lasted, so effective at getting under their skin that there were calls for the phrase to be banned in workplaces and classified as hate speech. LOL, ok boomer.
14. What if we kissed
Kissing is cool and fun, so in 2016, some very earnest person online made a macro about "what would you do if we accidentally kissed." Many years and irony poisonings later, Tumblr and Twitter got a hold of the format and turned it into a kiss your crush fest anywhere: a super sales event, in the pear wriggler, on the Battle Bus (that's a Fortnite reference, folks). Name a place and you bet there'll be some kissin'.
13. I Think You Should Leave
Everyone has their own favorite of Tim Robinson's deranged sketches from his Netflix show I Think You Should Leave, but everyone who doesn't love "Car Focus Group" the most is wrong. It's insane. A focus group gathers to figure out what's best to put in a new car, and one of the participants is this really weird old dude with an impossible-to-place accent that keeps throwing out ideas like "no space for mother-in-law" and "a good steering wheel that doesn't whiff out of the window while you're driving." Everything he says is just so funny that it's impossible not to turn him into a multifaceted meme. The other sketches in the show are funny, but this one is on another level.
12. "Hit or Miss"
If you were to yell "HIT OR MISS" in an area where teenagers are known to congregate, there is a very, very, very good chance that you'll be answered with, "I BET YOU NEVER MISS, HUH?" (That call and response is known as the "Hit or Miss" Challenge.) How and why this 13-second chunk of whiny rap blew up is several layers deep: The verse comes from the song "Mia Khalifa" by iLOVEFRiDAY, an Atlanta hip hop duo made up of the couple Smoke Hijabi and Xeno Carr, who wrote it as a diss track about the porn star Mia Khalifa after a fake tweet accused Smoke of being a bad Muslim for smoking what looks like a blunt while wearing a hijab in a video for the group's song "Hate Me." "Mia Khalifa" itself came out in early 2018, but it wasn't until November that it first became A Thing on TikTok after popular dubber Nyannyancosplay recorded a video of herself lip syncing to it in November 2018. Though it may have originated last year, "Hit or Miss" is still very much a 2019 meme as it finds new ways to evolve out of its initial context and into something that every young person knows. Also, it's really funny.
11. Shen Yun
There are almost as many Shen Yun memes as there are ads for the actual show. Shen Yun describes itself as a music and dance performance that showcases millennia of Chinese culture, and its ads, usually featuring a lady mid-leap with a beatific smile, are everywhere. Everywhere. If you're a human living in America, it's more than likely that you have seen a Shen Yun ad, which is why this extremely regional meme grew to such prominence online. After all, who are we to underestimate 5,000 years of civilization reborn?
10. "Are you in the right headspace"
Another recent instance of an attempt at self-care gone very wrong (the first being at "emotional capacity"), this awkward question that absolutely no one asks before delivering "information that could possibly hurt you" took off as a meme near instantly after the original, very earnest tweet went viral. Please, never do this to your friends, lest you want them to think you're a robot.
9. Bigger than before
Much like last year's absurd viral video-turned-meme, courtesy of Cheddar dot TV, 'they did surgery on a grape,' 'bigger than before' comes from the bizarre craft-making YouTube channel 5 Minute Crafts, which mostly peddles in DIY "tricks" that no one would ever consider helpful. Why does an egg need to be bigger? What purpose does this serve? Of course, none of these questions matter. With a phrase like 'bigger than before' attached to three eggs, one bigger than the next, this whole thing was bound to blow up into yet another meme after Twitter user @chipspopandabar tweeted it out to the egg-thirsty masses. If you're struggling to "get" it, just keep watching -- each new viewing is funnier than the last. It doesn't need to "make sense" to be good.
8. Sorry to this man
Vanity Fair's series of lie detector interviews are always a joy, mostly because it’s just fun to watch celebs become bundles of nerves when they realize their pulse rates are on display for all to see. Many of the questions are innocuous -- How much does Wiz Khalifa spend on the good kush? -- but when the interviewer asked Hustlers star Keke Palmer if she recognized a photograph of John McCain, she had no idea. Her perplexed response became the perfect successor to Mariah Carey's "I don't know her": sometimes you just conveniently forget who somebody is, or miss them entirely. Sorry to this man. (Now available on a t-shirt.)
7. 30-50 feral hogs
Maybe you could credit the doubled shock of two mass shootings in one weekend, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio, with the citizens of the Internet immediately grasping at whatever we could to make ourselves feel a little bit normal again -- and nothing's more normal than gathering as one to completely and utterly roast some fool on Twitter. After the shootings, country artist Jason Isbell joined the chorus of celebs calling for gun control, tweeting that no one in today's world "needs" assault weapons, but it was Twitter user William McNabb who got everyone going with his reply to Isbell, asking, "Legit question for rural Americans - How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?" The tweet was so odd, the image of a swarm of swine descending on some Arkansas backyard so bizarre, the phrase "feral hogs" so flippin' funny, that the memes were almost immediate. What makes the whole situation even weirder is that, yes, the hogs, technically an invasive species, are considered an infestation in some parts of the country and they can be downright nasty in a close encounter -- but, as other Web denizens were quick to point out, you don't need an assault weapon to deal with a pig.
6. Wife guys
Here at Thrillist, like everywhere else, we love a wife guy. A wife guy is a dude who posts very dramatic and/or very extra things online about his wife, pretty much JUST to get some of that sweet, sweet attention from millions of strangers. Patient zero, as we remember fondly, was Curvy Wife Guy, also known as Robbie Tripp, who hit send (and keeps hitting send to this day) on a number of photos with lengthy captions about how he's such a great guy for marrying a woman who's not skinny. More recently, the wife guy crown has gone to Cliff Wife Guy, whose video of his wife falling into a ditch preceded by a clip of them both crying about how traumatic the experience was and how your life really can change in an instant warmed the hearts of all of us who were just glad he was there, not to catch his wife by the arm or break her fall, but to film the whole thing and upload it to YouTube. There are so many wife guy out there; please, never stop posting about your wives.
5. Wholesome buff guys
An offshoot of a galaxy brain chart, the wholesome buff guys just want to lift up small kings everywhere however they can.
4. "Payphone" exit
The only way that this stupid remixed Maroon 5 song will ever get stuck in our heads is from watching these mid-activity walk-out challenges over and over and over.
3. Woman yelling at a cat
On the left is Taylor Armstrong, a real housewife of Beverly Hills, and on your right is Smudge the cat. Simply put side by side, as Twitter user @missingegirl offhandedly did in May, the Taylor and Smudge screenshots form our new favorite representation of the troll's war.
2. Toad sings "Chandelier"
If you've ever wondered what Toad, the mushroom-headed character from the Super Mario games, would sound like beyond its little in-game shriek, may your curiosity be forever sated with these covers of "Toad" "singing." Recorded by Atlanta-based musician Melancholiaah, each song is a master class in giving even the most deranged performances your very all, case in point: the "Chandelier" cover, originally by Sia. It's good from the start, but the song turns great when it hits the chorus, with Toad screaming "IIII'M GONNA SWIIIING FROM THE CHANDELIEHEEERRRR." A high point of this year in pop culture, to be sure.
1. "Someone Like You" crowd singalong
It goes by many names -- the gummy bear challenge, Adele Challenge -- but the meme that blew up among the TikTok set all has the same genius setup: Audio taken from a live performance of "Someone Like You," Adele starts the line of the chorus, "Nevermind, I'll find--," and kicks it over to her legions of fans singing back at her, "--someone like youuu / I wish nothing but the best for youuuu toooo." Video-wise, the shot starts on "Adele," which in this meme, is one kind of thing (it started with Haribo gummy bears but it can literally be anything), and pans over to "the crowd," a sea of that same thing -- for example, 200 gummy bears, iPhones, grass. Whatever you want it to be! This can even exist in virtual worlds, ie. Fortnite or The Sims! For some reason, watching variations on this is never not funny and good, thus capturing our cold dead hearts and the number one spot for the meme of the year.
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Emma Stefansky (@stefabsky) is an entertainment staff writer for Thrillist.