What’s your favorite meme? Is it doge, scumbag Steve, confession bear, Ermahgerd Girl, grumpy cat? These wonderful creations have been the cause of hours of laughter for many, but have you ever wondered about the original story behind these pictures? What makes grumpy cat so grumpy? Why is scumbag Steve such a scumbag, and what on earth did confession bear need to confess so badly? Not to worry, we have the answers for you! So sit down (or stay seated if you are already sitting) and enjoy these 25 Surprising Sources That Influenced The Creation Of Today’s Funniest Memes.
You Don’t Say?
“You Don’t Say?” is a black-and-white drawing, often used in rage comics, of Nicolas Cage taken from a scene in the 1988 black comedy Vampire’s Kiss, which revolves around a troubled literary agent’s descent into madness after convincing himself that he is turning into a vampire. In rage comics, the face is used as a sarcastic response to an obvious observation or statement.
First World Problems
First World Problems, also known as “White Whine,” are frustrations and complaints that are experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences. Believe it or not, its origin can be found in the lyrics of the Matthew Good Band’s 1995 song “Omissions of the Omen,” whose lyrics include: “And somewhere around the world, someone would love to have my first world problems; kill the moon and turn out the sun.”
Third World Success
Third World Success is a meme featuring a photograph of a dancing tribal child with captions about overcoming hardships that are associated with life in underdeveloped countries. The series is considered to be the antithesis of First World Problems. Prior to the photograph’s association with Third World Success, the image was seen on Twitter as early as June 2011 and paired with the phrase “It’s Friday, Niggas” on October 14, 2011.
Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
The handsome and charming Zeddie Little just happened to be running a race and was spotted in the background of a group photo by Facebook users. If he only knew what would’ve followed when he smiled at the camera that day.
The Most Interesting Man in the World
The Most Interesting Man in the World is an advertising campaign for Dos Equis beer, produced by the marketing firm Euro RSCG for Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery. The ads feature actor Jonathan Goldsmith as “the world’s most interesting man” and are narrated by Frontline’s Will Lyman. The advertisements first began appearing in the United States in 2006 and have since then become an Internet meme.
Sudden Clarity Clarence
The awkward photo of this young man at a party staring into the distance as if he is having an epiphany has become one of the most viral memes in the past few years. The captions often contain the phrase “Oh my God” or “Holy S#%$” followed by a sudden realization that is trivial and insignificant. The original stock photo was submitted to the Australia Associated Press covering the Schoolies Festival on Queensland, Australia’s Gold Coast on November 21, 2009.
Bad Luck Brian
Bad Luck Brian is a meme featuring a photo of a typical geek wearing a plaid sweater vest and braces, accompanied by captions that describe a variety of embarrassing and tragic occurrences. On January 23, 2012, the original instance of the meme was submitted to reddit by Ian Davies, a longtime friend of Kyle since elementary school, using a yearbook photograph of Kyle with the caption “Takes driving test . . . gets first DUI.” The original post received fewer than five up votes but what followed next ended up giving the photo millions of views.
Condescending Wonka or Creepy Wonka, as it’s also known, is a meme featuring a screen capture of the great Gene Wilder from the 1971 musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As its name suggests, the captions can be characterized as patronizing and sarcastic.
Grandma Finds the Internet
The original image of this awesome meme comes from a stock photograph titled “Elderly Woman Looking at Computer Screen” taken on December 21, 2005. On February 4, 2011, several redditors posted image macros featuring the stock photo, referring to it as “Internet Grandma.” The rest is just part of Internet pop culture now.
Really High Guy
The young dude who appears to be under the influence of marijuana became the “face” of many photos that typically portray stereotypical stoner behavior, such as giving invalid answers to misunderstood questions and craving junk food. On November 25, 2011, Redditor randomdave posted a photo of this red-faced young man to the marijuana enthusiast r/trees subreddit titled “Getting high is not always pretty.”
Philosoraptor is a meme featuring a clip art of a velociraptor deeply immersed in metaphysical inquiries or unraveling quirky paradoxes. The Philosoraptor often challenges the reader with his deep, existential, Paleolithic questions and at the same time never fails to entertain. As for the original Philosoraptor? Sam Smith created the T-shirt design to sell on LonelyDinosaur, and registered the copyright for it on October 8, 2008.
Overly Manly Man
Every hard-core boxing fan knows that the overly masculine alpha male with a misogynistic attitude is nothing but a truly badass, bare-knuckle boxer from the 1800’s named Mike Conley. For those who don’t know, Mike was known for his knockout power and roughness but unfortunately he lacked finesse and skill in the ring.
Overly Attached Girlfriend
Laina Morris’s fake fan video for Justin Bieber turned her face into a symbol of what we call Internet pop culture. The video was a submission to a contest held by Bieber who challenged fans to create a “Girlfriend” counterpart to his hit song “Boyfriend.” Unfortunately she didn’t win.
Not Sure If
In Season 2, Episode 6 of Futurama (“The Lesser of Two Evils”), there’s a scene where Fry is searching through Leela’s underwear drawer—that’s where this screenshot comes from. The image first hit the Internet as a variation of the “I See What You Did There” meme before becoming “Not Sure If.” On June 20, 2012, Futurama’s opening sequence paid homage with “Not sure if new episode, or just rerun of episode I watched drunk.”
Joseph Ducreux was an eighteenth-century French artist known for his unorthodox portrait paintings. On the Internet, his eccentric self-portrait has inspired a series of exploitable macros, featuring “archaic reinterpretation” of popular rap lyrics superimposed over the artwork. Judging from his attitude and pose in his self-portrait we tend to believe that Ducreux would have loved all the attention he’s been getting more than 250 years later.
Tardar Sauce, better known by her Internet name “Grumpy Cat,” is a cat and Internet celebrity known for her grumpy facial expression. Her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, says that her permanently grumpy-looking face is due to an underbite and feline dwarfism. For the record, Tardar’s Facebook page has more than seven million likes.
When you see a meme of Scumbag Steve the theme is usually revolving around unethical behavior regarding drugs, partying, and other hedonistic behavior. However, the photo of this guy was taken by his mama and was the cover of the totally amateur album Ma Gangsta by the rap group Beantown Mafia, of which Blake Boston, also known as “Weezy B,” was a member. And yep, “Scumbag Steve” is Blake in reality.
Good Guy Greg
GGG (Good Guy Greg) was created as the antithesis to Scumbag Steve, but nearly four years after the meme became viral Good Guy Greg’s identity still hasn’t been revealed. Reddit users have come forward every now and then with images of people they claim to be the “real” GGG, but the mystery hasn’t been solved yet.
Y U NO Guy
Chapter 55: Naked King from the sci-fi manga/anime comic-book series Gantz is said to be the original source for this character’s explosively hilarious face. The original instance of the “Y U NO” guy was first found on LOL Tumblr Wallpapers, where he was spouting, “I txt u Y u no txt bak!?” It spawned over ten thousand re-blogs and likes.
On March 14, 2012, a post titled “Just a book owners smile . . .” was submitted to reddit with a photo of a young girl posing with three Goosebumps books and her mouth agape in excitement. Ermahgerd Girl took the Internet by storm the next day on FunnyJunk.com. She quickly gained notoriety all over the Web and the rest is history.
The use of the misspelled word “doge” to refer to the dog in these hilarious pictures dates back to June 24, 2005, when it was mentioned in an episode of Homestar Runner’s puppet show. In the episode titled “Biz Cas Fri 1,” Homestar calls Strong Bad his “d-o-g-e” while trying to distract him from his work.
Conspiracy Keanu is a meme featuring a photo of the one and only Neo, sorry, Keanu Reeves, wearing a frightened expression from the 1989 comedy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The images are typically captioned with paranoid conjectures and ridiculous philosophical questions to which no logical answer can be given.
The images of this meme have usually been captioned with confessions about taboo behavior and controversial opinions that are often kept secret for fear of being ostracized. The original bear photo was taken by photojournalist Clemens Bilan and was submitted to the stock photo website Getty Images on April 12, 2007. Five years later, on June 21, 2012, Redditor F-18Bro submitted a post titled “I have a lot of weird stuff that I’d like to be able to confess to reddit so I can get it off my chest, so I made Confession Bear.”
Skeptical 3rd World Child
In 2012, a redditor who had recently traveled to Uganda on a volunteer trip for the Student Global Health Alliance posted pictures from her trip. On June 22, 2012, a redditor posted a photo of a Ugandan child titled “Skeptical 3rd World Child” to the “pics” subreddit. Needless to say, it has become one of the funniest and most famous memes of the past few years.
The original image of the most awesome kid on the Internet was taken by photographer Laney Griner, who also happens to be the mother of the boy in the photo, then eleven-month-old Sammy, on August 26, 2007. She posted it to her personal Flickr account and put it on Getty Images. As early as January 2008, users of social networking sites such as MySpace began incorporating Sammy’s photo in their profiles, either as their avatar or as part of the page’s layout. It was often paired with the phrases “Ima F*&% you up” or “I Hate Sandcastles.”