The Best Memes of 2022 (So Far)

All together now: UNCUT JAAAAAAAHMS.

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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. 

18. 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

17. 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

16. 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

15. 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. —Leanne Butkovic

14. 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

13. 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. —Emma Stefansky

12. 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

11. 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. —Esther Zuckerman

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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