The Best Memes of 2022 (So Far)

Rounding up the dankest memes that we can't stop seeing on our feeds.

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The world may be opening back up a little at a time, but we still spend much of our lives on the internet these days, churning around in the crucible of our own making, every now and then watching as certain in-jokes and niche posts become the backbone to the latest meme craze. We canceled and un-canceled West Elm Caleb. We planned our outfits for going to class at Euphoria High. We had Julia Fox's pronunciation of Uncut Gems bouncing around in our heads for weeks. Here at Thrillist Entertainment, we've compiled the very best, funniest, and straight-up weirdest memes the internet has graced us with this year. We'll be updating this list accordingly, so be sure to check back during the rest of the year if you want your Very Online humor to stay relevant. 

27. Hey, it's Che Diaz

Do you know where you were when the fabric of the universe changed ever so slightly? It was in December 2021, when actor Sara Ramirez introduced themself on the Sex and the City reboot ...And Just Like That as Carrie's podcast boss, the non-binary queer comedian, Che Diaz, who would end up altering the course of so many of our lives. Che was an instant meme, not only because the show was woefully trying to backbend to rectify SATC's lack of diversity, but also because maybe they didn't understand quite how to. But Ramirez's innate swagger gave Che something that was impossible to deny, but still highly dunkable. In Episode 5, when Miranda is caring for Carrie after hip surgery—Che swings by with a bottle of tequila and the new catchphrase echoed around the internet: "Hey, It's Che Diaz." Immediately the memes started putting Che in Scream and The Shining, Ramirez got in on the fun, and even today Che Diaz's legacy still reverberates. When is Season 2 again? —Kerensa Cadenas

26. Doors vs. wheels

It's a question as old as time: Are there more doors or wheels in the world? Well, it's a question as old as March 2022, when the debate took Twitter and TikTok by storm. It's easy to understand why this is such an intense debate, though. Think about how many wheels are on things like shopping carts or a semi-truck. Then again, consider how even though there's four wheels per car, car's have doors, too! And what about all of those doors in a house, let alone a high-rise? People have tried to use math to come up with an answer and the smarty pants at MIT have even been called upon, but nevertheless, the debate is truly endless. May it haunt dinner parties for years to come. —Sadie Bell

25. Carmy from The Bear

Anytime the internet gets a new thirst object, it's a guarantee everyone will lose their minds and it'll be memed into oblivion. New case in point: Jeremy Allen White from The Bear, FX's new series, about a young chef who returns to Chicago to inherit the family restaurant after his brother dies. Allen White who plays Carmy, instantly hit a nerve with his undone hair, arms covered in tats, and perpetual under eye circles. In her now viral tweet, TV writer Alex Zaragoza, rightfully said that she's actively in therapy to avoid men who look like Carmy (and Allen White). Hence, a new internet boyfriend was born, and women everywhere have stories about men who look like him—he'll have sex with you in a bar bathroom, he owns one towel, he doesn't have a bed frame. Even though you know this kind of guy is bad, you can't stop your animalistic instincts. General consensus is that Jeremy Allen White can get it.KC

24. Wordle

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably been inundated with the sight of green and yellow squares, bookended by people asking everyone to please stop posting those damn green and yellow squares. When the daily word game Wordle became a sensation in December, participants quickly learned they could post an image that displays their results, turning a cute solitary pastime into more of a viral competition. It’s a thinkpiece-spawning phenomenon, at once harmless and annoying. On the one hand, who wants to log on and scroll through a bunch of contextless boxes? On the other, is it really hurting anyone if some internet addicts get a kick out of sharing the highs and lows of a fad that will surely fade, no matter how many millions of dollars The New York Timespaid to acquire Worlde? Whatever side you fall on, rest assured it has provided a hilariously simplistic way for Andy Cohen to demand world peace. —Matthew Jacobs

23. Gentleminions

The Minions are not new to memes. But these little yellow creatures from the Despicable Me movies got a new life in memedom with the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru. Thus, we got "The Gentleminions." It apparently all started with a teen in Australia on TikTok, but then it spread across the world, and it all basically amounted to a bunch of kids wearing suits to go see Minions. You can try to analyze it. You can try to understand it. But, basically, it's funny. —Esther Zuckerman

22. If I text this it means…

In early July, Twitter users started jokingly decoding emojis with obscure pop-culture references. The dancing woman? That's Hilary Duff's infamous Today Show dance routine she did while performing "With Love" in 2011. Tell your friends about this shorthand now so when you send them the hot dog emoji, they'll know that you're all trying to find the guy who did this. —Leanne Butkovic

21. West Elm Caleb

Early this year, a bunch of TikTok ladies found out that the same straight 6'4" NYC man, a designer for West Elm, from dating apps was using the exact same moves—notably, love bombing with constant texts and indie playlists—before ghosting them. In another era, West Elm Caleb's patterns would have just been chalked up as sleazy dude behavior, but because we are in 2022, the girlies took him to task for being a lazy scumbag, birthing the short-lived meme saga of a tall furniture designer run off of the internet. —LB

20. My money don't jiggle jiggle

The most viral earworm of the summer has a many-layered existence. The auto-tuned song we all know and do a little dance to was made by TikTok producers Duke & Jones, who have made a bit out of Auto-Tuning random videos, which they took from a clip of British journalist and comedian Amelia Dimoldenberg's webseries Chicken Shop Dates where she takes UK celebrities and musicians on cheeky dates in chicken shops. On one date, she prods her guest Louis Theroux, a documentarian most famous for the 2015 film My Scientology Movie before this, to perform a rap he did on his late-'90s BBC show Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends, which he does. Now we're all sippin' on red, red wine. —LB

19. #Swedengate

Part of living in an interconnected world is learning about and celebrating other cultures—or gazing with horror at the way they treat their guests, as we all did when we learned that, for real, Swedes won't feed people who come over to their house for a visit. When a tweet thread about a Reddit post in which a user described their bizarre experience of waiting alone in a room while their friend ate dinner with his family, without being offered anything, went viral, those in the replies were quick to confirm that, yep, don't expect a dinner invite when you're over at your Swedish friend's house. As with all things that are Strange But True, there is actually a very interesting cultural explanation for this behavior, outlined in this thread and confirmed by this NPR interview with food historian Richard Tellström: in Sweden (and, by extension, many Nordic cultures) it's more rude to offer someone a favor like food, because it creates in the receiver a sense of obligation akin to debt. Basically, a culturally ingrained version of the Shakespearean adage, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." Keep it to yourself! —Emma Stefansky

18. Sumerian dog joke

When you spend most of your time looking up the meaning of jokes, you come to terms with the fact that there are some jokes you just won't get, whether it's because of some piece of lost context or simply that they don't align with what you find funny. A macrocosm of this effect popped up earlier this year when modern internet users discovered an ancient Sumerian version of a classic bar joke whose punchline has been lost to time: "A dog walked into a tavern and said, 'I can't see a thing; I'll open this one.'" Ha ha…? Obviously, there's some piece of Sumerian society we just don't know about that is the key to solving this puzzle, but, honestly, is it any more confusing than literally any meme that has popped up online in the past 20 years? —ES

17. Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman, one of Hollywood's most gifted and versatile actresses, is also one of our most memed performers. The 2001 photo of her leaving her lawyer's office after finalizing her divorce from Tom Cruise, with her arms outstretched in a pose of defiance and freedom, remains a favorite image for anyone looking to express a similar sense of relief. Earlier this year, a photo of her reacting in the crowd at the Oscars also went viral. Basically, she's a meme machine. So, it's no surprise that her ad for AMC about returning to the movies has caught on with movie-lovers online, and, reportedly, it's also a big deal to people in actual theaters who occasionally cheer along to now beloved, iconic lines like, "Somehow heartbreak feels good in a place like this." As Kidman herself said when asked about the ad: "It's so true." We agree, Nicole—save us a seat. —Dan Jackson

16. Smash or pass

Those TikTok filters that showed you "Which X Character Are You" gained a new meaning when users discovered the phrase "smash or pass" from a completely separate trend that had people "accidentally" revealing whether or not they had a crush on someone or something. "Smash or pass" really took off, though, when TikTok users started using it in conjunction with a Disney character filter (and eventually filters from many other properties, including Pokémon), going through the options and saying which characters they'd "smash," or "pass." We all know what it means. The trend gets really funny when people try to justify their knee-jerk reactions, desperately explaining to the internet why they have a crush on an animated candle. —ES

15. We need an American Girl Doll who…

There are a lot of iconic American Girl Dolls who represent important times in history. Kaya grew up among the indigenous Nez Perce tribe, prior to colonization; Molly's life was affected by WWII; and Kit came of age during the Great Depression. Sure, they teach kids about different eras of the US, but how much do we really relate to them? This meme that originated in the niche American Girl Doll meme facet of the internet (yes, it's a thing) and escalated into a mainstream meme suggests the need for dolls that don't actually exist, but probably should. Whether they're overlooked girls from history (was on the Mayflower, but fell off) or a part of somewhat weirdly universal millennial history (used tigers to kill people on Zoo Tycoon, did the cinnamon challenge, was Tumblr famous), they're the Relatable Queens we deserve. —SB

14. Never ask a woman/man

As the online archivists at Know Your Meme point out, this three-panel meme has been around for a long time, using cheap-looking art to warn you away from asking an individual or a group of people about a particularly tricky or sensitive topic because they are likely to lie to you. But it reappeared on Twitter and Instagram in early 2022, especially as a way to relitigate celebrity controversies and misdeeds of the past. It's a text-heavy meme, one that requires a good deal of set-up before it gets to the punchline. Many take on a slightly smug, know-it-all tone, but the best ones tend to put an ironic twist on the format or point you to some obscure bit of trivia you either forgot about or didn't know. For example, I learned quite a bit about the "the third Nolan brother" after seeing this one and doing some googling. Any meme that sends you down a research rabbit hole can't be all bad. —DJ

13. Dall·E Mini

Weird art has held a special place in the history of memes. Therefore, there was no way DALL·E wasn't going to blow up. DALL·E is an AI that creates pictures based on anything you put into its system. Such you can get beautiful images like "Jar Jar Binks Girl with the Pearl Earring." DALL·E is surreal and wonderful. —EZ

12. Morbius

Why is Morbius so funny? Is it because the movie was delayed so many times? Is it because Jared Leto takes everything—even playing Dr. Michael Morbius, the living vampire—so seriously? Is it because this character's name is Dr. Michael Morbius? Maybe all of the above, but when the Sony Spider-Man spinoff that didn't actually star Spider-Man finally came out, the internet had a field day. What if Morbius got the best reviews of all time? What if it made more money? In the land of memes, that was a possibility, and it was hilarious every time. —EZ

11. Never let them guess your next move

The trend of doing the exact opposite thing that's expected of you started with TikTokker's video driving off when it looked like he was backing up and turning left when he signaled right. It ignited a wildfire of weirdos doing some truly wild shit, but hey, that's just what you gotta do to keep "them" guessing. —LB

10. My brother in Christ

The Internet has given us so many new ways to argue with each other, phrases like "Fixed it for you" and "ok boomer" adding a snarky, little edge to all of our Twitter thread tirades. By far, the funniest of these is introducing your counterargument with the preface, "My brother in Christ," replacing condescending terms like "bro" or "dickhead" with something more aggressively polite. It's a funny thing to say, and from a meta-textual level furthers the Internet's ability to skewer social and conversational norms, taking respectability politics to the absolute extreme. —ES

9. What are you listening to?

Sometime last year, the trend of a "content creator" approaching random people wearing headphones in the street to ask them what they were listening to disappointingly popped off, mostly because the answers were so boring. Thank God the weirdo youth stepped in to suck the cringey earnestness out of the space, walking up to friends and asking what they're listening to and responding with stuff like "Grass Skirt Chase" by SpongeBob, songs in Simlish, a K.K. Slider banger, or the Wii theme song. —LB

8. The Green M&M

The latest casualty of corporate feminism was the Green M&M—specifically, the Green M&M's sex appeal, dressed as she was in robust eyelash extensions, lipstick, and high-heeled booties. Bizarre? Yes. Iconic? Also yes. Now, gone are the lashes and gone are the booties, replaced with lace-up sneakers and a wooden puppet pose. Weirdly, the loss of the Green M&M's femme fatale aesthetic was something both sides agreed on for once, with horny dudes lamenting the loss of a candy sex symbols and feminists everywhere seeing yet another naked corporate gesture while the gender pay gap remains as wide as ever. For a day or two, a piece of candy not being sexy anymore brought us all together, and it also brought us the funniest thing a Conservative news host has ever done: Tucker Carlson's dramatic chyron "DEPRESSED, NON-BINARY CANDY IS ALL WE DESERVE."ES

7. Elden Ring

Big-time gamers might be disappointed that we flattened the myriad hyper-niche memes that FromSoftware's latest Soulsborne game Elden Ring has spawned since it was released in February, but tough! Go read our dear sister site Polygon for that shit. The best Elden Ring memes require little to no context of the game itself, intended for any ol' schmuck who knows that you're just running around a huge open world and swinging your big sword at tough boss guys for hours and hours and hours. —LB

6. Julia Fox

For some of us, Julia Fox became a star when she screamed "Howard" in Uncut Gems. For the rest of the world, she got stratospheric in the early days of 2022 when she began a very public, very short-lived relationship with Kanye West. Their bizarre courtship, which involved lots of leather and blogs for Interview, also spawned at least two memes. The first was "goblin mode," based on a fake headline where Fox was inaccurately quoted to say the tryst ended because Ye was not happy when she went "goblin mode." Fox never said this but the term "goblin mode" was so randomly funny it gained traction. But that was nothing compared to "Unka Jamz." Appearing on the podcast Call Her Daddy, Fox was asked whether she was Ye's muse. She responded "a little." The follow up: "What is a muse? I mean, I was Josh Safdie's muse when he wrote Uncut Gems." But she didn't exactly say "Uncut Gems." It was more like "Unkaht Jaaaaeamz." Thus, spawned a TikTok phenomenon. And what was Fox's excuse? She was high. —EZ

5. Elmo and Rocco

Who knew that a good chunk of the internet would be obsessing over a 2004 clip of Sesame Street in early 2022? Elmo sure didn't, but it reignited his beef with Zoey's pet rock Rocco, thanks to someone reposting an old clip of the show in which he literally cannot with his friend's love for her rock. People couldn't handle how hostile the sweet, little monster was being in the video, inspiring many tweets calling it one of the greatest rivalries of all time, and eventually shots were fired by Elmo himself on his official Twitter. Few beefs ever make for memes this good. —SB

4. Kramer, what's going on in there?

Now that Seinfeld is available to stream on Netflix, it's back in the cultural consciousness more than two decades after it aired its final episode. That means everyone's posting, and when everyone posts about the same thing, we get memes. Seinfeld is no stranger to getting memed, but one particular format had social media in a vice grip earlier this year: Jerry Seinfeld, standing in the door to his neighbor Kramer's apartment, asks, "What is going on in there?" and Kramer, awash in the colored light from his apartment, has some answer according to whatever movie or TV scene the post is referencing. —ES

3. Nepotism babies

By now, most of us should realize that a lot of young Hollywood has some sort of connections—whether their parents are literal A-listers, they have an uncle who's a producer, or whatever. And yet, not everybody knows this, and for some reason Gen Zers tend to get really worked up when they discover another person is a "nepotism baby" (even though they also tend to be obsessed with the luxurious lifestyles and fashions of other nepotism babies). When one surprised zoomer realized Euphoria star Maude Apatow is, in fact, filmmaker Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann's daughter, a bunch of other people dunked on their naivety by posting essentially the same thing with photos of other very obvious neo babes. Zoë Kravitz? Shocking! The Queen of England? No freaking way! —SB

2. Me, an empath

It's not that the phrase "me, an empath" is a new way to introduce a joke—it first started bubbling up around 2016—but the latest revival of the meme format dumbs the concept of an empath down to its absolute stupidest, funniest, and sociopathic iteration that it feels spawned straight out of the Gen Z braintrust. Your partner is yelling at you? Me, an empath: I can sense they're mad about something. The world around us is on fire? Joe Biden, an empath: Sensing some heightened tension around these parts. Only empaths understand this. —LB

1. Euphoria High

Just before Euphoria wrapped up its second season, Twitter announced that the HBO teen drama was the most tweeted about show in the decade so far. That should come as no surprise, considering how much the over-the-top, stylized series is basically one big class in making meme-able content—which might just be one of the few course offerings at what fans dubbed as Euphoria High. With a show where more kids do hard drugs and spiral into pits of despair once a week than turn in their homework on time, it invited bountiful memes wondering what these kids were learning, who their teachers and other classmates were, and thousands of excellent TikToks of people showing off their Euphoria High dress code-approved ensembles. Even if Season 2 derailed by the end, it was always appointment viewing for the memes alone. —SB

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