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2016: A year in memes

Well, another year goes by. 2016 we hardly knew ye, or we knew ye and kinda wish we didn’t. I’m not gonna dally on the ‘important’ news of the year, pfft real news, what’s it ever done? Nothin’ for nobody.

Instead here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since that pesky immovable year digit on your little digital clock churned over on January 1 – the year’s best memes!

So sit back, relax, grab a bucket of popcorn, get your respiratory specialist on speed dial and enjoy!


Did you really think we were gonna start anywhere else?

The breakout meme of 2016. If they were giving out meme awards, the gorilla who was preemptively killed as a child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo would have the top gong named in his honour.

Harambe memes did it all. They came in many shapes and sizes and managed to do from beyond the grave what few have done whilst living – achieved worldwide meme super-stardom.

Who could forget the movement to end all movements? #DicksoutforHarambe. Where internet weirdos everywhere suspended their ridiculous activity to get behind a gorilla they had never heard of – because the internet.

As reflected in the chart above, Harambe left us briefly after his initial newsworthiness in May. However, he was revived in meme-form and reached his peak in August as it seemed every status, tweet or meme in the entire universe revolved around his gorilla-y brilliance.

Heck, there were even actual, physical shrines erected for him.

Rest in peace Harambe you internet phenom. Enjoy the great zoo in the sky.

Damn Daniel

Just a boy and his white Vans who took the internet by storm early in 2016.

Daniel Lara’s mate Josh Holz posted a 30-second video in February which went ridiculously viral and basically ruined the life of everyone in the entire world named Daniel as the phrase was spouted again and again and again and again.

In the vid, Josh basically gawks at his mate’s ‘swag’ (as much as it pains me to say that word) and repeats the phrase “Damn Daniel!” in a damning reminder that just about anything can go viral these days.

Here’s the original vid:

Anywho, the boys made quite a splash and even scored themselves some TV airtime on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

This guy pretty much summed it up best…

Also in hindsight, no one really likes the meme anymore…

As you can see in the above trendy thing, our affinity for the now-deceased Damn Daniel meme was shortlived and tbh we can all see why.

It kinda sucks. In other news, hindsight is 20/20.


Remember Arthur? That nerdy little aardvark with a bunny for a bestie and a villain for a little sister?

He’s back. In meme-form.

More specifically, Arthur’s fist became the star of a worldwide trend in 2016. And a good thing too, it was getting pretty tired of standing in his shadow… you could say he had another trick up his sleeve. (I’ll see myself out)

Anywho, the image of the children’s cartoon character’s fist became simultaneous with anger and frustration in 2016.

The meme peaked right around August before making a revival around October/November – no doubt coinciding with anger towards the US election.

Meme-ception ladies and gentlemen – RIP Pokemon GO, a short and forgettable stain on our cultural cloth.

Kermit the Frog

In 2016, the Muppets’ friendly green star made his return to the spotlight – in meme-form.

We’ve got short memories on the Interwebs and many might not recall the fact that Kermit has actually been the star of not one but TWO internet trends this year!

January saw Kermit’s “that’s none of my business” meme make an appearance in the meme world. With a picture of Miss Piggy’s long-term beau sippin’ on a cup of tea in a nonchalant manner.

However, his biggest and best internet contribution is still dominating social media as I put pen to proverbial paper. The ‘dark Kermit’ meme, which features the stuffed frog having an internal dialogue with himself in a dark manner.

Here’s a few that are pretty, as the kids say, ‘on-point.’

Anywho, this meme came round in November and probably should have delayed a month or so because it pretty much summarises a pretty crappy year for humanity. Speaking of which…

The US election

Well, y’all saw this one coming… definitely more than Hillary did. Zing!

Donald John Trump is the leader of the free world. There. I said it.

Donnie ‘You’re Fired’ Trump was the star of some memes this year, as were a number of his contemporaries and even the dream team that he and VP Pence replaced.

Bernie Sanders was there, Hillary, prospective first lady Bill, Barack and of course the lovable Joe Biden – the vice president of our hearts.

Of course, no real shock the meme peaked right around the time of the election.

FOUR MORE YEARS! OF MEMES. (And definitely more, four is nowhere near enough)

This Google Trend chart shows how interest in each of the memes tracked over the past 12 months. Its Donald Trump by a huge margin! And Time Magazine’s Man of the Year picks up another award. Harambe robbed once again.

2016 in a nutshell.

Here’s to 2017. And the memes it shall bring!

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