50 of the Best Memes of All Time That Are Icons of Internet Culture
Memes, memes, memes. Imagine how dull life would be without any memes! Whether it’s boring, grey, and rainy outside, or the sun’s out in all its glory, we feel like there’s never a wrong moment to enjoy some of the top memes of all time. Comedy is what picks us up when we’re down, chases away the blues, and helps us plow our way through the week toward that magical land called the weekend.
Some of the funniest memes of all time get shared on the aptly named ‘Meme’ social media project. A veritable comedy leviathan on Instagram and Twitter. This page gives us precisely what many of us need: a laugh, a smile, and an excuse to forward the best memes ever to our friends.
Who Invented Memes and Why?
Richard Dawkins coined the word ‘meme’ in 1976 in his book ‘The Selfish Gene.’ He used it to explain how aspects of culture replicate, mutate, and evolve. The earliest example of an Internet meme was emoticons. The smiley emoticon was introduced by Scott Fahlman in 1982.
Dawkins stated that Internet memes lead to a “hijacking of the original idea.” One of the first memes to go viral was the ‘Dancing Baby,’ a simple computer animation made by Michael Girard, Robert Lurye, and John Chadwick. It was one for the history books.
All that leads us to where we are today with the greatest memes of all time! We’ve collected some of the project’s most hilarious memes to share with you, Pandas. So scroll down, be sure to upvote the pics you enjoyed the most, and don’t forget to drop your wittiest comments, too!
What Makes Up Great Memes?
Content creator, comedian, and broadcaster Trev Lewis was kind enough to share his thoughts on memes, comedy, and relatability with Bored Panda. “The two most common types of content that go viral are animals and food. This is what the data shows. No matter how many times algorithms get tweaked, or which platform we’re discussing, people remain fixated on nourishment and other creatures. We are quite animalistic in that way,” he explained to us.
That’s why pretty much anything relating to doggos, Grumpy cat, birbs, and other wacky animals became peak internet fodder. If you want to put his theory to the test, why don’t you check out these hilarious animal memes? If that doesn’t fill your belly, try these spot-on food memes.
He also stated that humor isn't necessary for viral content, but it helps. “Relatability is a more crucial component because this is the factor that often inspires people to share the content with others. Sharing is the highest form of engagement and the one true path to viral content. All the other forms of engagement will follow it,” he told Bored Panda. That’s precisely why awesome internet memes can make people have a good laugh and inspire them to share it ahead.
According to content creator Trev, our sense of humor online grows more sophisticated with time. That means even the best memes and their creators must constantly adapt to the times.
“When I’m curating content for The Best and Worst Of Twitter group, I will often search for viral Tweets from the earliest days of the platform. Some of that content still holds up, but much of it does not,” Trev said.
What Is the Most Popular Animal in Memes?
“The earliest memes were things like the ‘I Can Haz Cheeseburger’ cat. Cats have remained a constant, proving my earlier point a bit. They are the Internet’s favorite animal, and it’s not even close. But the simple act of editing some text onto an image of a cat has lost its novelty.” Just like Trev stated, cat memes have evolved a lot since the early days of the Internet and have provided us with some of the most popular memes of all time.
Trev put it simply: amusing folks these days takes far more effort. “I suspect we will only get more creative as time marches on. There’s also an interesting theory that humor is primarily a coping mechanism or even a trauma response,” he said. That’s also why some people tend to prefer weird and unhinged memes. Regardless of people’s tastes, we can all agree that some of the best funny memes are universal, like the Internet’s favorite ‘Rick Roll.’
Let’s face it: we have all cringed when hearing the lines:
‘Never gonna give you up,
Never gonna let you down,
Never gonna run around and desert you.’
Trev also stated, “As the conditions of the outside world continue to degrade, I suspect humor will be the first response from the Internet. I hope my forecast brightened everyone’s day,” he quipped. As he states, when you’re looking for the funniest memes ever, you’re probably not looking for lovely or kind memes. But funny and polite memes are the best examples of humor that can bring a smile to your face without hurting anyone else.
Calling the ‘Meme’ project a powerhouse would be an understatement. It is massive, with a jaw-dropping 10.3 million followers on Instagram and a further 66.3k fans on Twitter. The page’s success, we feel, comes down to the style of content shared. Who here doesn’t enjoy having a good laugh, after all? When you combine the funniest memes with relatability, you get a winning combination: viral pics that spread all over the net.
Why Are Funny Internet Memes Good for You?
Love them or loathe them, great memes are here to stay. At their very core, they are viral ideas that can take pretty much any format. And as long as human beings exist, so will memes.
Our sense of humor might change a bit over the years, decades, and centuries to come, but our need to laugh and poke fun at the world and current events will never go out of style. People also find memes hilarious and relatable. It is a way to laugh at yourself and take your life a little less seriously. That’s why people love funny memes and can’t stop making them.
Pop culture, entertainment, and lifestyle expert Mike Sington recently shared his thoughts about viral social media content and Internet trends with Bored Panda. According to him, some trends will look weird in the future. Funny content, however, will always find an audience.
“Funny thoughts, anecdotes, and memes are popular now and will have staying power on the internet. People often go online for escapism, and humor has always provided that. I don’t foresee that changing,” media expert Mike said.
“If something becomes popular quickly and seems to come out of nowhere, it’s more likely to be a passing fad,” Mike Sington told Bored Panda. “Long-term trends with staying power seem to build more slowly but at a steady pace. Be careful of jumping on the ‘bandwagon’ yourself just because something is popular in the moment. That’s the scenario that’s most likely to haunt you in the future.”
Where Can You Find Trending Memes?
The easiest way to find which meme is going viral is to check sizeable social media pages that post hilarious memes, like the meme posts from Memes.com or the posts from Hilarious Textx. Another way to hop on popular trends is to use hashtags such as #memes, #funny, or #trendingmemes, which will take you directly to popular content.
The pop culture expert Mike Sington believes people’s perception of privacy will change significantly. He thinks people will be far more aware of the details they share online than now.
“Sharing personal photos of yourself, your life, your family, and especially your children will probably seem very peculiar in a couple of decades. People just now are becoming increasingly concerned about privacy on the Internet, and it will be odd in the future to look back and see how much of ourselves we used to willingly share.”
Are Any Memes Objectively Relateable?
Even if you think of one of the best memes of all time, you can’t expect your jokes always to land. Though witty dad jokes might be the closest contender for the ‘Universally Beloved Genre of Comedy Award,’ even they have haters. You’ll never win over everyone with your jokes; however, you should try to avoid a bad joke. After all, is it quality comedy if you are the only one laughing?
When telling jokes and creating memes, the comedian makes the audience laugh. At the same time, the audience needs to have enough awareness of current social issues, the news, wordplay, and comedy itself to shoulder at least part of the burden. It’s a delicate balance. Many great memes and quips will go over the audience’s heads.
Comedy expert Ariane Sherine told Bored Panda that someone who doesn’t get a particular joke means they’re not “privy to knowledge you need to understand the joke” or “it just means your brain doesn’t work in the way it needs to in order to understand that particular type of humor.” However, she noted that even the best comedians sometimes don’t get some jokes: nobody’s perfect! You have to be a good sport about it.
“People can’t be expected to get badly-told jokes where the setup or punchline is mangled, but if the joke’s told well, it’s not necessarily the comic’s fault if another person doesn’t get it. Humor can be quite a niche and individual thing, but if a joke regularly falls flat most comics will drop it from their sets,” she said.
Note: this post originally had 94 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.
A Meme a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Didn’t anyone tell you that laughter is the best medicine? Well, it’s true! If your body is aching and your joints are rattling, you’ll probably benefit from these funny and painfully true memes. Let us know which meme is your favorite, and if you like creating these funny pics, send some our way. The best memes of all time have the power to take you back to simpler times and have a hearty laugh. What more could you ask for?