2010 was a huge year for internet virality in general, from Conan O'Brien to Wikileaks, but the funniest parts of it all were the memes. This was an amazing year for memes. From Sad Keanu, to endless auto-tune remixes, to people making fun of the real-life events of human beings in peril (or going insane) or even just harmless image memes that made all of us smile, here are the 25 greatest internet memes of 2010, how they started, what they mean (what does it mean?) and why they're so funny.
This is by far the most recognizable, memorable and epic internet meme of 2010.
By now, most people know the original story. Strangely enough, the most popular internet meme, where originally people poked fun at an actual hero on the news who just happened to be very colorful in the way he speaks, came from a story that is usually no laughing matter: rape. The story goes that Antoine Dodson's sister was almost raped in their apartment by a man who climbed in the window, took his shirt off (WTF???), then climbed into bed with her. When Antoine heard the intruder he ran into her room and chased him away. ( Click here ) for the original news report.
This news report spawned many a meme, including t-shirts, parody videos, and of course, an auto-tune remix (most notably, the one embedded here and the one that everyone has heard, which was written by Auto Tune the News.) The auto-tuned song was so catchy and so popular it was brought onto iTunes. And the proceeds from iTunes were, according to this CBS interview , enough to get Antoine Dodson out of the ghetto and into a better neighborhood where he'd never have to worry about his sister almost getting raped again.
( Source )
The World Cup: one of the most watched sporting events in all of human history. Known for bringing together nation upon nation for a "glorious celebration of the world" month.
The 2010 World Cup was also full of firsts. The first time the World Cup was held in Africa. The first time Spain won the World Cup title. The first time Lionel Messi disappointed the World. And the first time the World Cup made the entire world hate part of the culture of the home country; in this case: the Vuvuzela.
The Vuvuzela, in case you didn't watch the World Cup and were under a rock (in which case, I saw 127 hours and you're a very brave person and a hero to all of us), is the buzzing sound that makes it feel like the soccer players were about to get attacked by a swarm of bees throughout every game. No, it wasn't a Beepocalypse, it was hundreds (thousands?) of people blowing into plastic instruments native to South Africa that are customarily blown during soccer matches. Sure, they were a rich part of a culture, but they were annoying as all hell and not only did the world know it, the internet took hold of it, and made fun of it immediately, hilariously and relentlessly.
Just watch this Fellowship of the Ring parody to understand the kind of jokes that came out of this whole ordeal.
Even major news publications immediately picked up on this soul-crushing phenomenon, including the BBC , Time magazine , and The New York Times even wrote stories about the damned things.
There was no escape. So the meme became that people would really embrace the Vuvuzelas, like in this great video game idea below, or like in the embedded video, where Vuvuzelas would just interrupt something really, really important, and after a while, just anything at all.
Great videos and pictures made by perpetuators of this meme:
Play Vuvuzela hero!
Hitler struggles to be heard.
Classic SNL skit remake.
The paparazzi photographed Keanu Reeves sitting on a bench, eating a sandwich. And looking depressed. The internet, and most notably the /r/pics community over at Reddit.com, who often used to crap all over Keanu, felt horrible for him instantaneously.
This spawned a whole Photoshop campaign of Sad Keanu in different places, being as alone as possible, looking sad.
Kim-Jong il just told Keanu he's going to attack South Korea.
Bummed out in this iconic picture.
Keanu is sad that FourLoko has been banned.
Keanu sad, alone, in the oval office.
The picture you see on this item is the photoshop of Keanu so sad that he sequesters himself on Mars to contemplate his existence/humanity, much like Doctor Manhattan in Watchmen (which is where the picture is from.)
This meme even inspired Halloween costumes in 2010 ( click here ), as well as a parody shirt of one of the biggest memes of last year's 3 Wolf Moon.
In case you haven't seen it before, here 's the 4 Keanu Moon.
At 1:16, a voice asks "what does this mean?"
That's what we are all asking ourselves about this video to this day. Showcasing a "double rainbow" in this guy's backyard, we subsequently see the guy's voice go from awe and shock to tearful or orgasmic glee.
Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel tweeting this video, the meme spread like wildfire, entertaining and puzzling the rest of the country. Kimmel even invited Double Rainbow guy to his show . We still don't know if the guy was on drugs or not, since he denies it and says "the Spirit of the Universe" took over him instead, which is understandable since the guy seems like enough of a hippie to believe in the healing power of crystals.
We even got a song out of it from the Internet Meme masters Auto-Tune the News: click here for Double Rainbow autotuned. This song will be stuck in your head forever.
Needless to say, the references drowned message boards and continue to be made to this very day. How popular was this meme? Well, much like the biggest ones here, it got its own Halloween costume.
Click here for the Double Rainbow Halloween costume, posted by Nerve.com .
At first, this was an item about just Strutting Leo. Thanks to the people over at Gorillamask, we were reminded that the Inception Mash-Ups meme not only belongs on this list, that it's one of the greatest of the year. This meme had multiple applications, not just Strutting Leo (see the section for that below.)
With a film as serious, as unique and as revolutionary as Christopher Nolan's Inception (Summer, 2010), you really can't help but make jokes about it. Whenever anything takes itself so seriously, it also kind of deserves to be made fun of. It was easily one of the best films of 2010, and the internet attention it got was deserved.
The theme to Inception became iconic so quickly because of its blaring, repetitive, gut-wrenching horns near the end of the trailer. The song is so intense and the horns so brilliantly timed, that people started making mash-ups of the trailer's audio with other things. The embedded video is an amazing example of how it was done with various animals.
There was also Inception Cat (a cat who peeks out from behind a door so slowly that it matches up perfectly to the swelling Inception theme.) See it here .
On top of this, people made an image macro out of the scene in Inception where Leo deceives Cillian Murphy's character.
What do you get when you wake up in limbo after dying from trying to fight off the target's subconscious projections in a dream within a dream?
Why, you see Leo strutting with Jesus, of course. There's no better Heaven than that.
This meme came from a set picture of Leonardo Di Caprio while he was filming Christopher Nolan's Inception.
Basically, Leo looked so unbelievably happy doing whatever he was doing (strutting, apparently) that the internet saw it and, almost opposite of Sad Keanu, took to it and used it everywhere. His picture is used sarcastically more often than not, having Leo casually strutting away from explosions or horrible moments in human history.
A spin-off of the "Rage Guy" comics made popular by 4Chan, Forever Alone is an image macro that follows, often, a comic strip format. Essentially, the punchline to every "Forever Alone" comic is that the guy at the end (the Forever Alone guy you see to your left, which a huge face) is going to die alone. The comics are usually meant to describe the social inadequacy of people who spend too much time on the internet. The Forever Alone guy himself doesn't make an appearance until the last panel of each comic and he is always trying his hardest to keep a smile going while crying, deeply, on the inside (and eventually, the outside.)
It's one of the darkest popular memes out there, but is popular enough to not only be on this list, but to be one of the biggest memes on it.
The Forever Alone meme started to frequent all the usual meme sites of Tumblr, 4chan and FunnyJunk, becoming the self-pitying calling card of all those teenagers who post pathetic comments on the Internet, pouring their hearts out to strangers that want to do nothing but ridicule them.
Here is the best depiction of the "Forever Alone" guy (as the Mona Lisa.)
A classic Forever Alone comic story.
The meme also works on popular characters like, for example, Velma from Scooby Doo .
The original title of this song was meant to be I Am Glad, Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home. However, all the lyrics ended up being censored by the Cold War-era Soviet government (hence explaining the video 1970's vibe).
The original song featured lyrics like this:
I'm riding the prairie on my stallion, a mustang as such, and my sweetheart Mary now knits a stocking for me, a thousand miles away from here.
However, this was deemed so unsoviet like, the world instead was treated to the vocal improvisations known as trolololo. The fact that LOL is repeated a number of times in the title is a coincidence. A beautiful coincidence. And the fact that it starts with "Trol" just made it internet gold.
The first meme of 2010, this video became 2010's "Rick Roll", which is a bait-and-switch video. The beauty of this versus the regular Rick Astley song Never Gonna Give You Up? This is creepy as hell, inexplicably WTF and actually features someone saying the world troll (which means that the person who is watching the video is being messed with) followed by many "lol"s (which means that the person who linked you to the video is laughing at you.)
It was perfect.
Jimmy Kimmel, ever aware of the internet, actually had Academy Award winner Chistopher Waltz do a parody of this video titled Der Humpick .
Interviews were conducted with the man himself, explaining the oppressive dubbing of the lyrics, but ultimately all anyone cared about was his offputting smile, how hilarious the video is in of itself and showing it to everyone they know in order to "Troll" them.
(Click the embedded video to see the original)
Stoned Birthday Dog
Just take a look to your left. It doesn't matter if anybody says anything otherwise: this dog is blitzed out of its mind.
This picture brilliantly pulls off the balance between adorableness and pure awesomeness. It brings new meaning to the term "man's best friend." Is there nothing this dog can't do? No, there isn't. And the Internet will prove it.
Let's hope this picture one day becomes a reality, and Obama embraces stoned dogs across America .
Remember the fire girl meme?
Here's a picture that reminds you not to eff with this dog .
Unfortunately, one of the other memes on this list is seen at Birthday Dog's birthday... and isn't happy.
Click here for the top 10 greatest Stoned Birthday Dog photoshops.