Over the past five years, one of the most popular segments on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live has been “Mean Tweets.” It’s a simple yet ingenious bit in which celebrities – actors, musicians, athletes, online stars who are famous for some reason that escapes us – read something insulting that someone has said about them on Twitter. In the background, R.E.M.’s teary hit “Everybody Hurts” plays, exaggerating the faux sadness the stars feel at being put down by anonymous Internet trolls. It’s basically a montage of mini-roasts, and it’s hilarious. To their credit, the celebrities seem to be good sports about it all (granted, they ARE actors, so they could be fooling us), even when the digs are unimaginative low blows. The wittiest Twitter taunts, though, can conjure genuine laughter from the stars, making the barbs all the more enjoyable for viewers like us. Here are 15 of the greatest “Mean Tweet” insults we’ve seen so far.
15. Michael Strahan
Tweet: “Michael Strahan’s teeth are having a middle school dance, where the boys stand on one side of the room and the girls stand on the other.”
Former football player and current morning talk show host Michael Strahan has perhaps the most famous gap-toothed smile on TV now that David Letterman is retired. Chances are he’s heard every tooth joke in the book – like it looks like his tongue is in jail – but this one is still pretty good, and he seems to have gotten a kick out of it. After all, everyone can relate to those awkward tween years when no one quite knows how to approach the opposite sex and everyone has grown so self-conscious about their social standing that they don’t dare put their status in peril by risking that someone might reject their invitation to dance in the middle of a school dance. Or perhaps worse, they might accept their invitation, and then they have to worry about embarrassing themselves with their spastic dance moves.
14. Mumford & Sons
Tweet: “I love how music takes you away to another place. Like Mumford & Sons is playing at this restaurant so now I’m going to another restaurant.”
Mumford & Sons is a popular rock band whose granola folk and bluegrass-infused sound is polarizing (and baffling, considering they’re from London). Some finding it a refreshing, organic throwback and others finding pretentious hipster fare. I’m guessing whoever wrote this tweet falls into the latter camp, but at least he or she has a sense of humor about it. Rather than rant and rave about how much they think the band sucks, they penned this hilariously worded put down that starts out as an introspective piece on the merits of music as a whole but ends as a slam that’s so polite, it probably came from Canada.
13. Zac Efron
Tweet: “Has Zac Efron ever been in a film where he didn’t play a total douche? I’ve never seen one of his films, I’m just judging from his face”
Well, there has to be some drawback to having a chiseled face and rippling abs, right? In Zac Efron’s case, it’s apparently looking like a “total douche,” according to this Twitter user. Honestly, it IS pretty amazing that he’s managed to climb into the ranks of the Hollywood A-list (or thereabouts) elite with his RDF (Resting Douche Face) and with not one, not two, but THREE High School Musical movies on his resume. I think if he really wants to come off as less of a douche, he’s got to tone down that perpetual tan. I mean, we’re bordering on Oompa Loompa territory here.
12. Selena Gomez
Tweet: “@selenagomez is on the radio right now. Is there a volume lower than mute?”
I can’t name a single Selena Gomez song and don’t think I’ve ever seen any movie or TV show she’s been in, but she seems nice for someone who’s a poor enough judge of character to date Justin Bieber. She probably doesn’t deserve the level of scorn that this tweet gives off, but it’s a pretty good burn nevertheless, reminiscent of the old Spinal Tap gag where they have amplifiers whose volume goes up to 11 instead of 10. As far as this tweet goes, though, I think the volume lower than mute would be “OFF.” Or maybe they should just toss their radio off a cliff. Anyway, if I were Selena Gomez, I wouldn’t take to heart anything tweeted by someone named @theeznuts1.
11. Britney Spears
Tweet: “The weather in New York City right now is like a young Britney Spears: pretty hot, kinda gross.”
This gem of a description perfectly sums up not only the heat and humidity of a New York summer, but also singer Britney Spears when she emerged on the pop music scene in the late ’90s. Sure, she was cute and all, but gyrating in a sexy, open-blouse school girl outfit at age 16? Kind of unsettling. Then, of course, there were the photos of her “going commando” while emerging from a car, the Las Vegas marriage that lasted 55 hours, the incident where she was photographed driving with her baby son on her lap instead of in a car seat, the shaved head and umbrella attack on a paparazzo’s car and the time when she was actually found to be a less fit parent than Kevin Federline. Sure, still pretty hot, but kinda gross.
10. Paul Rudd
Tweet: “Paul Rudd is the most boring vanilla dude. You know he just sits at home with his wife having a bland spaghetti dinner talking about his day.”
This is a funny tweet, but as far as insults go, it has to be relatively easy to take. I mean, in the realm of rushed Internet judgment, comment section hatred and unrelenting trolling, this is pretty tame. It just goes to show that nobody truly hates Paul Rudd. Seriously, how could someone? The fact that he’s a “boring vanilla dude” is probably the worst thing someone could say about him, and the fact that he seems to get a kick out of the put down only makes him more likable. He’s like the Teflon comedian; everything just rolls right off his lovable back.
9. James Taylor
Tweet: “Hey James Taylor, we get it. You’ve seen fire and rain. Guess what? So have I and so have a lot of people. It isn’t that special. #douche.”
No, young people, James Taylor wasn’t one of the early US Presidents; they’re probably thinking of James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor. He’s actually a famous singer, and one of his most popular songs is “Fire and Rain,” in which he sings about all the troubles he’s experienced in his life (metaphorically, fire and rain, with maybe a blizzard or a sinkhole in there somewhere). This Twitter user appears to take the lyrics more literally than they’re intended (probably facetiously), however, and chastises Taylor for making a big deal out of something as common as fire and rain. Bonus points for “hashtag douche.”
8. Tilda Swinton
Tweet: “Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone about this dog that looks like Tilda Swinton.”
British actress Tilda Swinton has never been confused for a conventional beauty, so it shouldn’t be surprising or unorthodox that someone found a dog that resembles her. But what makes this tweet truly funny is that the comparison hits the mark pretty much spot-on: the top-heavy head, the pale coloring, the short hairdo, the weirdly off-center smile with a mouth full of what look like baby teeth. It all comes together like a perfect storm to recreate the award-winning actress in canine form. This is one of those rare gems the Internet brings to brighten our day. In fact, that might be what this Twitter user means when he says “Now’s probably a good time”; maybe “now” is a time in which we’re feeling down and need to look at a photo of a tiny dog who does impressions.
7. Wanda Sykes
Tweet: “Oh how I loathe Nickelback… PS f**k you Wanda Sykes.”
This one is so hilarious because it’s so random. Let’s dissect it into two parts. First, hating Nickelback certainly isn’t a unique sentiment. The Canadian rock band has long been a popular whipping boy for haters of their brand of angst-ridden power ballads that sound like they should be playing in the background of a Ford truck commercial. But just when we think this Twitter user has finished getting out their dose of venom, up pops the follow-up F.U. to comedian Wanda Sykes of all people. What she has to do with Nickelback in the mind of this tweeter, I’ll never know, but the non-sequitur is funny because she’s pretty much as opposite of Nickelback as humanly possible.
6. David Blaine
Tweet: “David Blaine looks like his voice is putting his face to sleep.”
It’s kind of weird that magician David Blaine ended up being a performer, because, as this tweet indicates, he’s not exactly a high-energy guy. He has a drowsy voice and an even drowsier face, like if Ben Stein had a love child with Droopy Dog, and their offspring ate a full dinner of turkey and NyQuil and settled down in bed to read The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This Twitter user captures the essence of his narcoleptic aura beautifully by implying that his own face is bored by the sound of his voice. It’s a good thing he’s a great magician, because if he worked in practically any other field, his clients would fall asleep in their meetings.
5. Andrew Garfield
Tweet: “Is Andrew Garfield trying to do his utter best to look like a pedophile that lives in an RV.”
I’m not sure why anyone would WANT to look like a pedophile that lives in an RV, as this tweet suggests, but whether intentional or not, it seems this Twitter user thinks that British actor Andrew Garfield is headed down that road. However, they never explain what led them to believe this. Maybe it’s the hair, which has gotten a little too long and a little too slicked back for its own good. As funny as the tweet is, I don’t know if “pedophile” is the right description of the look; more like a caricature of a sleazy agent or a strip club manager…who lives in an RV…down by the river.
4. Greg Kinnear
Tweet: “Greg Kinnear stars in holy f**k who gives a s**t. Coming soon.”
It seems a bit cruel (though still very funny), but I get what this Twitter user is trying to say in this dismissive tweet. Greg Kinnear is one of those bland, nondescript actors we kind of forget exists – AKA even more of a “boring vanilla dude” than Paul Rudd. I know I’ve probably seen him in a dozen films, but I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Didn’t he, like, defend the Easter Bunny on trial or something in a movie? I don’t know. But now that we’re talking about it, I should probably search it on IMDB or something. I don’t think any of those films are called “Holy f**k, who gives a s**t,” though. (Sorry, Greg, I couldn’t resist. In truth, you seem swell enough for someone who’s invisible.)
3. Rajon Rondo
Tweet: “Is it me or does Rajon Rondo look like that turtle named Franklin on Nick Jr?”
Tip: If someone is going to talk smack about someone, make sure the spelling and grammar is on point; it’s hard to appreciate a message if we can’t understand it, and it’s hard to take it seriously if the person sounds like a raging, uneducated moron. That said, the crux of this poorly written tweet is strong enough to make it worthwhile. And what makes it so strong? The accuracy of the observation that basketball player Rajon Rondo looks astoundingly similar to Franklin the cartoon turtle. (See for yourself below!) I think it’s the baseball cap and the broad, snub-shaped nose that do it. Rajon might also want to avoid wearing backpacks or anything that could be mistaken for a turtle shell.
2. Sean Penn
Tweet: “Sean Penn: 1) has a penis nose, 2) has a scrotum face, 3) has an anus mouth, 4) is a butthole.”
Well, this is certainly an ambitious tweet. It’s got four separate, individually numbered points and reads kind of like a mini thesis paper trying to prove that master thespian, Sean Penn, is literally a walking crotch. The analysis is impressively detailed, citing the fact that, from the neck up, his features resemble body parts that are usually reserved for the waist down – wrinkles, droopiness and all. As icing on the cake, the tweeter concludes that the actor as a whole must thus be a butthole. (Please excuse my French. It’s not me, it’s the tweeter!) I haven’t seen a conspiracy theory this well thought out since the hypothesis that Vin Diesel is, in reality, a big toe.
1. Rhett and Link
Tweet: “Why are Rhett and link always doing stupid s**t like they’re the white people my mom is thinking about when she goes ‘tsk…white people.'”
I honestly don’t know who Rhett and Link are, other than they’re online somewhere doing something “stupid,” but this tweet about them is too hysterical to ignore. I imagine they’ve gained their fame by setting their farts on fire, licking used toilet brushes or covering themselves in raw salmon and running through grizzly country during mating season – like the guys from Jackass. Even if that’s not what they do, that’s probably the sort of people this Twitter user’s mother is talking about when she says “tsk…white people.” Either that or people who wear scarves and cargo shorts while riding a Vespa to go camping where they eat hummus and drink coffee while using their iPad to stream a TED talk about gentrification. You know, stuff white people like…