This year has been tough on just about every level, but goodness, has the content been tremendous.
Fortunately for all of us, In The Know’s editors have been paying close attention to the internet’s most clever inside jokes … some may even call them memes.
There are a few that are near and dear to our hearts, so join us on a brief trip down memory lane to appreciate the few bright spots we’ve had over the course of this wretched year. Without further ado, we present to you the best memes of 2020 — so far.
1.Robert Pattinson’s Tracksuit
“My favorite meme of 2020 so far is the photo of Robert Pattinson in a tracksuit. I think it’s so funny because he’s just standing there so awkwardly. Like, there’s something about that dumb expression on his face, like he was caught off-guard. I love what people are doing with it, specifically putting it in screencaps of movies — extra points if it’s a Robert Pattinson movie. It’s like 2020’s ‘Where’s Waldo?’ for some of them.” — Mark Chrysafis, Associate Video Producer
2. Michael Jordan’s iPad
“It’s sad but true that most of us will never be the Michael Jordan of anything. Michael Jordan, meanwhile, gets to be the Michael Jordan of several things — including making memes. His Airness was already logging a Hall of Fame career with the Crying Jordan meme, but thanks to ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance,’ his resume only got stronger. We may never be Jordan, but at least we can laugh at our own tweets the same way M.J. laughs at an iPad video.” — Dillon Thompson, Trending Content Editor
3. The #2020Challenge
“This year has been one to remember — and unfortunately, not for the best reasons. As with all things ‘internet,’ folks found a way to make joy out of misfortune with these #2020Challenge memes and I’ve got to admit, it was a welcome distraction — no matter how close to home they hit.” — Moriba Cummings, Commerce Editor
4. What ___ Are You?
“With the entire live entertainment sector being shut down as a result of the pandemic, 2020 has caused me to suffer an identity crisis of sorts. Thankfully, the ‘What ___ Are You?’ meme accounts that swept Instagram in mid-July told me exactly who I am. I’m a tricked-out McDonald’s car with hydraulics, a terrifying Minion blanketed in darkness, a Rasa Taro-flavored bubble tea and most importantly, a frog with a very wide mouth. If you’re feeling lost, I urge you to scroll through these seemingly endless accounts and search for your name embroidered in rainbow WordArt.” — Dylan Tuba, Video Producer
5. ‘WAP’ (Song Version)
“There’s nothing better than when a song that truly slaps also becomes a very good meme. Such is the duality of Cardi B’s ‘WAP,’ featuring Megan Thee Stallion. During a year when a global pandemic has prevented us from experiencing ‘WAP’ in the club (where it deserves to be heard), I am thankful we are still able to engage with it in the second-best place — on TikTok, where the song has taken on multiple new lives, from an Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘Phantom of the WAPera‘ remix to TikToker ushygushysquish’s beyond iconic rendition of one of the songs raunchier lines (ᵍᵃʳᵃᵃᵃᵃᵍᵉ).” — Alex Lasker, Trending Content Editor
6. ‘WAP’ (Music Video Version)
“This was the music video drop heard ’round the world and, depending on how you feel about the Kardashians, Kylie Jenner’s leopard print-clad cameo was either the best or worst thing to ever happen to you. Her appearance immediately became a meme: Someone made her into Viola Davis — seriously, who did this?! — and someone else had her seductively opening a door only to cut to her infamously singing “Rise & Shine” to Stormi, which was last year’s best meme. Love them or hate them, the KarJenners are iconic meme material.” — Gibson Johns, Host and Producer
7. Bong Joon-ho’s Kissing Oscars
“Ah … to exist again, even for a moment, in February — when our biggest concern was that a movie about a skinny clown might win the Oscar for Best Picture. Instead, we got ‘Parasite,’ and acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho capping off his historic night with the most lovable ‘na-na-na boo-boo, I’m better than yoo-hoo’ in cinematic history. The legendary filmmaker spent his evening apologizing to the engravers for having too many trophies, claiming he’d ‘drink until noon‘ after his win and of course, welcoming his trophies the same way a 4-year-old celebrates getting new action figures — by making them kiss.” — Dillon Thompson, Trending Content Editor
7. All of the ‘Hamilton’ Memes
“All of the memes that came from the release of ‘Hamilton’ on Disney Plus this summer are great. To this day, I still throw rogue lyrics from ‘The Room Where It Happens’ into conversation (my colleagues can attest to this) and enjoy tricking people into accidentally perceiving photos of Lin-Manuel Miranda. That photo of Lin-Manuel Miranda biting his lip truly lives in my head rent-free.” — Morgan Greenwald, Trending Content Editor
8. The Accent Challenge
“One of my personal favorite things about TikTok is how it has revealed that every person in the world sounds just like Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish or another A-list celebrity. Through these various ‘accent challenges,’ where users mimic their favorite stars by speaking/singing a list of their most iconic phrases, it has become evident that nothing is unique! On the flip side, the trend has also treated us to spoofs like the ‘Southwest Missouri accent challenge,’ which quickly spawned its own legion of glorious, inaudible TikToks. Tag yourself, I’m BÉAnïN.” — Alex Lasker, Trending Content Editor
“I came across this meme on TikTok in its early life. I definitely don’t say this to brag, because it’s embarrassing how much time I spend on said app — however, I remember watching it and thinking, ‘If this doesn’t blow up, I quit.’ Thankfully it blew up, so I can continue to spend inordinate amounts of time on TikTok. The joke is so freaking silly and so perfectly executed. The tears welling, the flowing beard, the top-notch timing — truly Oscar-worthy.” — Katie Dupere, Commerce Editor
10. The Fruit Snack Challenge
“Lightly messing with children always makes for solid content (see: Jimmy Kimmel’s annual ‘I ate your Halloween candy‘ prank), and the Fruit Snack Challenge took that and ran with it. The suspense of waiting to see if a toddler would give in to the temptation of eating a fruit snack before their parent returned to the room while unknowingly being filmed never got old and always made for a genuinely surprising, wholesome and hilarious meme, which is all any of us needed in 2020.” — Gibson Johns, Host and Producer
11. Will Smith Crying during ‘Red Table Talk‘
“In July, Jada Pinkett Smith ‘brought herself’ to the ‘Red Table’ and addressed claims that she had had an affair with R&B singer August Alsina. She and her husband Will Smith clarified their relationship timeline, and Jada admitted that, yes, she had once been romantically involved with Alsina, though she and Will were separated at the time. The interview was very raw and emotional, and at one point, Will appeared to even be crying.
“Of course, with the internet being the cruel place that it is, it didn’t take long for people to turn the snippet of Will Smith crying — and the interview in general — into a meme. I know we shouldn’t be laughing at Will Smith’s pain, but the memes that came out of Will and Jada’s ‘Red Table Talk’ episode were next-level. Would these have blown up like they did if Jada hadn’t referred to her affair as an ‘entanglement’? I guess we’ll never know.” — Morgan Greenwald, Trending Content Editor
12. ‘Gossip Girl‘
“OK, remember how in ‘Inception’ Leonardo DiCaprio uses the spinning top to figure out whether he’s dreaming? That’s basically what the ‘Gossip Girl’ letter-rearranging meme was for me. The first iteration of the meme came about on Twitter in early April, about two or three weeks into quarantine, when nobody knew what day or time it was. It was as if the internet clouds parted and the meme lords looked down upon us and said: ‘This is how we will handle uNpRecEdENtED TiMes.‘
“The format is so simple and the jokes are so stupid, but it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. The fact that there’s a limited number of memes possible because there are only so many letters in ‘Gossip Girl’ adds an extra layer of insanity to it. It will be absolutely impossible to explain this to future generations, and that’s why I consider it a perfect meme.” — Katie Mather, Trending Content Editor
13. ‘How It Started … How It’s Going‘
“The ‘how it started … how it’s going’ meme first hit Twitter as a way for people to show how their romantic relationships began and where they’re at now. It evolved into a way for celebs, athletes and even politicians to show how big moments in their lives originated. I love this meme because while there are of a ton of wholesome renditions, there are also plenty of hilarious ones that highlight how wildly chaotic 2020 has been.” — Julia Webb, Commerce Editor
14. WASP Mom
“WASP mom TikToks are internet gold because they are just so Boomer white woman. We all know a WASP mom, whether we want to or not. The creator, Caitlin Reilly, is a certified comedic genius, and I’m sure she’s a very nice person. Yet, the character is so insufferable and cringey and makes you violently uncomfortable.” — Katie Dupere, Commerce Editor
15. Dakota Johnson vs. Ellen DeGeneres
“Just weeks before the onset of 2020, we were granted one final moment of grace: A rare exhibit of pure, dripping disdain on daytime television. Dakota Johnson, accused of excluding Ellen DeGeneres from her birthday party, resolutely, steadfastly, unswervingly uttered, ‘Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen’ — and followed that up with the equally unabashed, ‘Ask everybody. Ask Jonathan, your producer.’ It was the gold standard of fact checks: No hedging, no apology or joke to cut the tension — just sweet, juicy truth. In a year so ripe with spin and flat-out lies, the reaction image has proven indispensable.” — Jennifer Kline, Producer
16. Big Ed and Rose from ’90 Day Fiancé’
“Every second of this ’90 Day Fiancé’ clip is gold. Big Ed’s delivery of ‘you’re my best view’ is a pretty smooth line. The way Rose mockingly laughs at him is hilarious both because of the quick timing and the ‘neeeh’ sound of her chuckle. Finally — and this is an underrated aspect — the way Big Ed has to turn his entire body like a pivoting sheet of plexiglass to look at the aforementioned view, only to turn back around and get roasted with a flamethrower of a response, is akin to the beeping noise a truck makes in reverse. As a bonus, there’s a TikTok remix of ‘you’re my best view’ that slaps. What more do you need to know?” — Matt Mataxas, Video Producer
17. ‘Da Vinki?!’
“Who painted the ‘Mona Lisa?’ Was it A) Mona Lisa, B) Leonardo da Vinci, C) Da Vinki or D) It doesn’t matter because there is a new great work of art capturing the hearts and minds of young people now?
“Footage of two glorious professional wrestlers pretending to be stupid has invaded my mind and will simply not leave no matter how much material I shove in there. I hear their sing-song-y voices saying ‘Da Vinki?!’ in my head every night as I fall asleep. The Da Vinki video is the ‘Mona Lisa’ of our time.” — Kelsey Weekman, Trending Content Editor
If you enjoyed this story, read about what it’s like to become a viral meme.
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