I think everyone can admit, 2016 was a rough year. We lost legends like Prince, Harper Lee, David Bowie, among others (and let’s not forget Harambe the Gorilla). We learned that we could no longer trust the news because “fake news” happened. Brad and Angelina broke up. Oh, and also there was that Brexit thing, and even though I’m not quite sure how that one’s going to play out, I can only speculate that it’s going to be bad for Marmite. And don’t let me forget that big one featuring he who shall not be named. Seriously. I won’t name it. I’ve never been a political writer, and I’m not about to become one. But we all know what I’m talking about, right? (No, it isn’t Voldemort. But close.)
Anyway, in these dark and tumultuous times, it was almost like memes were all we had to hold on to; to make sense of the world. To bring a little joy to our day. So, without further ado, I present to you 15 of the best memes of the worst year of all time...Okay, maybe not the worst year of all time, but at least since 2007—you know, that year Britney had her infamous breakdown and we all wondered if we would make it through. Congratulations, you made it! And so did Britney! I’m getting distracted now. Let’s try that segue again: Here are 15 of the best memes from 2016 that will make you glad it’s finally over.
15 Damn, Daniel
Okay, okay, I know this technically isn’t a meme. That’s why I’m getting it out of the way first, so you can all get over the fact that I don’t know what a meme is. I DO KNOW WHAT A MEME IS. And I do understand the difference between this viral video and a meme. But admit it, the words “Damn, Daniel” came out of your mouth at least 37 times in 2016 (which is just another one of the reasons why 2016 was the worst) and because of the Internet’s obsession with the most ridiculous YouTube video ever. Okay, I may be exaggerating here, there are way weirder videos on YouTube. But “Damn, Daniel” is more than a video...it has become a meme.
Also. Thank you, people of the Internet, for being so weird and completely random. Because of you, I now can easily print out multiple copies of the above image instead of having to buy my valentines from a store.
14 Evil Kermit
It’s no secret that I love memes. Often times, my boyfriend will think I'm doing important work "stuff" on my phone, until I let out a little giggle and he’ll be all like, “are you scrolling through memes again?” and I’ll flash him that devious, “you know I am” grin. Not to play favorites or anything, but the 'Evil Kermit' meme is among my most loved. And based on just how viral it went in late-2016, it seems as though the evil Kermit meme was also one of the Internet’s most loved. Probably because it’s just so darn versatile. And also because it reveals that we all have more in common than we think: an evil Kermit dark side who loves to over-react, fantasize about stealing puppies, and texts OMW (on my way) even though we actually just got out of the shower. (Essentially, the evil Kermit meme is more unitizing than "he who shall not be named.")
13 Arthur's Fist
I was looking for where this Arthur fist came from and this is the first tweet of the Arthur fist.... pic.twitter.com/bbYxpezWoR— Sean Cooper (@seancooper_4) July 28, 2016
What’s better than an anthropomorphized aardvark? An anthropomorphized aardvark's fist that makes the perfect meme candidate for emoting all of our deepest frustrations in this weird social media-obsessed landscape of the 21st century in which we are living. Honestly, after the curveballs this past year has thrown at us, Arthur’s fist was exactly the meme we all needed for airing our grievances. Like, Brad and Angelina getting a divorce. Arthur’s fist. Batman vs. Superman happened, and we all wanted our money back. Arthur's fist. Exploding cell phones. Arthur’s fist. I could continue like this, but I know you get my point. I'm not sure who started it, or how it caught on like wildfire, but whoever zeroed in on Arthur's fist at just the right amount of clenched deserves some recognition and also an award. A Nobel Peace Prize, probably.
12 Stick-Figure Bill
And the winner for the most annoying meme of 2016 definitely goes to “stick-figure Bill.” Apologies in advance if you were one of those people who made your own stick-figure meme to use as a vehicle for not-so-subtle digs, passive aggressive statements, or airing your grievances online. But stick-figure Bill, or John, or Bob, or Jessica, or Kelly, were annoying AF. Like, we get it, Bill, you think you’re above us because you don’t play Candy Crush, but just because you don’t understand how the game works (surely, if you did, you too, would be addicted), doesn’t mean that you’re better than us. It only means that you have slightly more time on your hands to spend on other things, which don’t include playing Candy Crush.
11 Leonardo DiCaprio
Okay, so I guess 2016 wasn’t all bad. I mean, it was the year that Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for his stunning performance in The Revenant. You know, that cold and dreary movie where the main thing that happens is Leo fighting off a bear and then hides inside a horse (no, that is not a typo, I really do mean inside a horse). All jokes aside, I actually really liked the movie. I also really appreciated how the entire Internet was there to celebrate his big Oscar moment with him. Also,it was nice to put an end to all the other Leo memes about how he had never won an Oscar. Honestly, can you imagine being Leo during that time? Like, he’s a pretty accomplished guy, but all the Internet can think about is the fact that he hasn’t won an Oscar. I would say, “poor guy,” but then again, he’s Leonardo DiCaprio. He dates supermodels and flies in private planes and gets to flaunt a dad-bod while still being drooled over (by supermodels). He doesn’t need my pity.
10 Y, Tho?
Seriously. "Y tho?" I don’t know where this meme came from, and I’m not about to research its origins, because believe it or not, I have better things to do with my time. Like, write lists about the best memes of 2016. That said, I can comment on the fact that this meme went seriously viral there for a minute and we all had a lot of questions. Looking back on it, it sort of reminds me of that stage we all go through when we’re really young and annoying and we ask our parents something like “Can I stay up past my bedtime,” and they answer with something really reasonable like, “No, you have school tomorrow and you need to sleep so you can grow,” to which you can only respond with, “Y tho?” And they might humor you again by telling you that “Sleep is vital for a growing kid,” to which you’ll respond with “Y tho?” And this “game” can go on and on and on, depending on how patient your parents are. Yep, that’s what this meme reminds me of.
9 Crying Michael Jordan
HE’S CRYING BECAUSE of 2016. No, JK, he’s crying because he’s the greatest of all time, and honestly, there are worse reasons to cry. Which is why we all had a really nice time photoshopping crying Michael Jordan’s head anywhere and everywhere we could in order to get a quick laugh out of a meme-obsessed culture. This particular version of this meme is my favorite, by the way. Because who the hell is “proficient at Excel”? It’s just another prime example of how our education system failed to prepare us for the real world. I think we spent one single hour learning about excel in elementary school, only to never be forced to use it again. Fast forward ten years and it’s suddenly a prerequisite for every job you ever hope to apply for.
8 Biden ft. Obama Bro Memes
"I left a Kenyan passport in your desk, just to fuck with him"— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) November 11, 2016
"Oh and a prayer rug in your bedroom. He's gonna lose it!"
"Dammit Joe" pic.twitter.com/mEWo91OLuA
While I realize this is a list of memes that make us grateful 2016 is finally over, I have to admit: I'm actually really going to miss these two. Wait. Let me clarify. I'm going to miss them, yes. But even more so, I'm going to miss the multitude of epic "bro memes" that feature these two and have subsequently taken the Internet by storm. They made me laugh during some seriously dark times. And I’m not even American. Sometimes I think one of our greatest human qualities is to be able to take a really unfortunate situation and find the humor in it. It's not always an easy thing to do, but when it happens, well, I think that says a lot about our culture. And while I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or bad thing. I just know that I appreciate it.
7 Angry Michael Phelps
Perhaps one of the best moments caught on camera during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was Michael Phelps’ angry face. Since then, the record-setting Olympic gold medalist has been meme’d (yes, it is a verb now) by angry teenagers who are mad at their mothers for buying the wrong kind of cereal. Phelps' angry face has also been meme'd by helpless Americans desperately looking for some outlet (any outlet!) to make a statement on current political situations. And Michael Phelps' expression in this very moment has even been called the facial representation of Arthur’s fist. So, even though he is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history with 28 medals, the American swimmer will likely always be remembered for this poignant portrait captured at just the right moment that made him a viral meme sensation.
6 This Is Fine
This meme basically illustrates how we were all forced to handle 2016. Am I right? From the webcomic, Gunshow, which, frankly speaking, I would know nothing about if it weren’t for this viral meme, comes this brilliant rendering of how we all have felt during this past year. Okay, full disclosure: I still don’t know anything about Gunshow, but I do know that this particular snippet could have been applied to so many relatable instances in 2016. Like, dealing with the unfortunate and untimely death of Harambe the gorilla, global warming, and “he who shall not be named” becoming the president-elect (and now president) of the United States. You name it. We are all this dog whose name I’m too lazy to look up, getting jazzed on caffeine while our houses burn down.
5 Classical Art Memes
There's nothing quite like making old art relevant again by way of typo-ridden meme-ing it. Yes, for the umpteenth time, "meme" is a verb now, haven’t you heard? Okay, so maybe there are no typos in this particular classical art meme, but you know what I’m talking about, right? Like, sometimes a meme is so spot on, or so freaking funny that I want nothing more than to share it with all my friends on social media, but the writer in me detects the typos instantly and just can’t bear to spread the good word because of the misspelling of “their” or something. And the only thing worse than calling out a typo in a public forum is having a typo of your own when you call it out in a public forum. Seriously, nothing gives me worse anxiety. Note to my editor: please, please, please double-check (and then triple-check) this paragraph for typos and misspelled words. K, thx, BYE.
4 Mr. Krabs
This meme was used tirelessly by frantic millennials (let’s face it, we are pretty much the only generation that appreciates a good meme) all over the Internet, to express distress, helplessness, and utter confusion. Again, basically how all of us felt throughout the whole of 2016. Okay, now that that has been established, it's time to address the subject matter of this particular Mr. Krabs meme. Is there anything worse than the intended recipient of your “bomb selfie” on Snapchat not even viewing your story? Some might ask that if you wanted "said recipient" to see it, why didn’t you send it to them directly? In which case, I would point out to “some” that would be desperate and send the wrong message entirely. Ugh. IMHO, Mr. Krabs meme-ing is a perfectly acceptable response to this situation. Social media is so confusing.
3 Me At The Beginning Of 2016 VS. Me At The End Of 2016
Me at the beginning of 2016; me at the end of 2016. pic.twitter.com/h1uHkFW2zm— Rachel Vorona Cote (@RVoronaCote) December 9, 2016
Longest. Year. Ever. Am I right? Honestly, I’ve been seriously considering botox lately because, apparently, I suddenly have forehead wrinkles and I attribute them entirely to 2016. Don’t judge me. Okay, so maybe this meme is a tad hyperbolic (that’s what makes it funny), but admit it: you feel it, too. It’s the premature wrinkles at the corners of your eyes that you never expected to find for at least another ten years. It’s that hardened edge in your voice that girls just love, but that also makes you sound like a chronic smoker. You’re not a chronic smoker. It’s that “bad hair day,” that’s lasted all year. I’m sorry, this is getting dark. Can I remind you that this meme is actually really funny? Go ahead, look at the meme again. Laugh. Not too hard, though, I wouldn’t want to be held responsible for any of your newfound wrinkles.
2 Caveman Spongebob
when your mom texts you "I'm almost home, that room better be clean when I get there" but... pic.twitter.com/wbh0rqOYMC— SpongeBob (@spongebobstbh) June 1, 2016
I’ll admit it; I’ve never been a huge Spongebob Squarepants fan. In fact, I can truthfully say that I’ve never even seen a full episode of the show. But I’m aware there are dedicated super fans out there. And just because I don’t watch the show, and therefore don’t exactly have any context for “Caveman Spongebob,” doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this brilliant meme in all of its glory. That’s sort of the beautiful thing about memes. Even if you don’t relate, or have any context whatsoever, they’re still relatable. Don’t ask me how that works. I’m not a scientist.
Oh. And there’s an entire Twitter account dedicated to Caveman Spongebob memes. So if you feel that he simply wasn’t around long enough, you can still enjoy over 480 tweets from @CavemanBobMeme.
1 Crazy Typing Cat
And last but not least, this one. I feel it’s fitting to end this epic meme collection with this crazy typing cat - and not just because it’s a gif, making it an even more special meme. But because it’s about to be you and I pretty quick. This meme is for you, my readers, to laugh and relate to when you realize you’ve been spending way too much time on the Internet, reading way too many addicting articles on The Things and really need to get some work done before Friday rolls around and your boss wonders what the heck you’ve been doing for the last 40-hours this week. If you need an alibi, feel free to share this article with him. It might give your boss a laugh or two, and get you off the hook. Win win for everyone.