50 Famous Internet Memes and Viral Videos

Infectious content that has grabbed our attention over the years

Memes are cultural symbols and social ideas that spread virally, primarily with the intent to make people laugh.

The meme content itself is usually something minor, for example, jokes about dad, urban legends, TV shows (including shows like Arthur, which has generated its own genre of memes), movie references, and human and animal oddities. In rare cases, memes can include profound art and music curiosities or even philosophical ideas. 

People on a picnic looking at a funny meme on a phone and laughing
Lifewire / Ashley Nicole DeLeon 

Memes are infectious, enticing people to spread them via social media, text, email, and photo and video sharing. Here are 50 noteworthy memes and viral videos that have captured our attention.

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Be Like Bill

Example of a Bee Like Bill meme, displaying a passive aggressive comment on people's life choices.

This meme sprang to life around 2015 and propagated very quickly.

Bill is a stick-person illustration with white space left for captioning. The version pictured here is Bill wearing a hat. There are also versions of Bill sitting at a computer.

Bill lets you make passive-aggressive public judgments about other people's life choices — an all-too irresistible appeal in modern society. To comment on something you disagree with, the innocuous Bill stick figure is an easy way to transmit your message. 

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Kermit Sipping Tea Meme: "But That's None of My Business"

Kermit sipping tea viral meme "but that's none of my business"

While the adorable muppet imagery seems innocent enough, this meme allows someone to freely pass judgment on other people for some perceived fault or failing. If you disagree with someone's life choices or practices, the very meme-able Kermit will do the judging for you. 

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Kylo Ren's Tri-Lightsaber

Kylo Ren and his tri-lightsaber

When the trailer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, fans went into a frenzy over the character Kylo Ren's tri-lightsaber. Apparently, the functionality of such a mythical weapon was debatable. This spurred a viral form of playful vandalism where readers around the world edited different implements onto Ren's lightsaber, such as this example of a Swiss Army knife.

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Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat is a popular meme
WireImage / Getty Images

Grumpy Cat was a beloved housepet from Arizona whose real name was Tardar Sauce. The kitty had a disorder called feline dwarfism, leaving her with a distinctive underbite that gave off a pouting facial expression. This little beast became the poster cat for sarcasm and faux negativity. Thousands of captioned meme photos have been created using Tardar's seemingly grumpy face. Tardar, who passed away in 2019, actually was a very happy and friendly cat, which makes the sarcasm memes even richer!

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Ylvis: What Does the Fox Say?

Bard Ylvisaker and Vegard Ylvisaker of Ylvis whose "what does the fox say" made popular memes

Cindy Ord / Getty Images 

Norwegian comedy and music duo Ylvis asked the burning question, "What sound do foxes make?" Sure enough, they not only provided the answer but presented it via a preposterous dance video that went viral. This musical meme has gotten a lot of traction since its 2013 inception.

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Old Spice Commercial: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

The New Old Spice Guy standing in the shower, which created a viral meme

This hilariously preposterous Old Spice commercial had enough charm to make women grin and men guffaw, creating a viral sensation that spawned many memes. Other Old Spice commercials went viral, as well.

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Rick Roll

This bait-and-switch prankster meme refuses to die! Rickrolling is when people pretend to send critical business links in emails, but actually send links to Rick Astley's iconic Never Gonna Give You Up music video from the 1980s.

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More Cowbell

The I gotta have more cowbell meme featuring Christopher Walken.

Christopher Walken immortalized the expression "more cowbell" in a classic Saturday Night Live sketch that also featured Will Ferrell. "More cowbell" still stands as a humorous expression and inside joke.

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U Mad Bro?

u mad bro? popular viral meme featuring young smiling man with a baseball cap

The "U mad bro?" catchphrase is simultaneously a meme, conversational expression, and form of trolling. This meme expression allegedly started in 2003 when hip-hop musician Cam'Ron engaged in a heated discussion with talk show host Bill O'Reilly over how his music affected children. "U mad bro?" has spawned several versions of itself, including "umad," "youmad," "youmadbro," and '"uzmad."

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Randall: "Honey Badger Don't Care"

Randall the Honey Badger animal narrator, who became a viral meme

The viral honey badger video featured nature documentary footage narrated by the engaging, irreverent, and sassy Randall. Randall coined the now-ubiquitous expression "honey badger don't care," which became a conversational phrase of courage as well as a viral meme.

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Doge! Much Wow, Such Fun...

Shiba Inu dog giving sideways glance in viral Doge meme

Doge is a photograph meme commonly attached to pictures of Shiba Inu dogs, combined with the Comic Sans font and the use of bad grammar with comedic monologue text. Doge even inspired the name of a new type of digital currency called Dogecoins.

Doge has two common pronunciations: as a rhyme with rogue, or pronounced as dohj.

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Gas Pump Karaoke Prank

Man on camera by car caught in gas pump karaoke prank

This smile-inducing Tonight Show With Jay Leno prank became a viral hit. The prankster is a faux newscaster on a gas pump TV monitor. He starts a conversation with Will and Monifa Sims, two California customers filling up their minivan. The conversation turns into an impromptu singing performance, with Will and Monifa performing songs from the 1980s. This is a terrific example of human talent and infectious spirit and, if you're like most viewers, you will cheer and clap during this delightful video.

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Leekspin: The Loituma Girl

The Leekspin anime image, which became viral

This Finnish folk song meme has been mesmerizing online users for years. The animation is taken from the Japanese anime Bleach, and the music is the Ievan Polkka performed by a quartet called Loituma. Yes, the girl is twirling a vegetable. Yes, it's odd, but also oddly catchy. 

You may need to enable Flash in order to view this website.

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Matt Harding: Where the Heck Is Matt?

Where the Heck Is Matt? viral video of bad dancing around the world

Matt Harding was the star of the internet phenomenon "Where the Heck Is Matt?" In a series of viral videos, Harding traveled the world and danced (he says badly) in front of local landmarks with local people.

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"All Your Base Are Belong to Us"

All Your Base Are Belong to Us screenshot from video game

"All Your Base Are Belong to Us" is a humor meme that stems from an awkward translation of "all your bases belong to us." The original video footage is from Zero Wing, a 1989 video game by Toaplan.

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Good Guy Greg

Good Guy Greg viral meme

Good Guy Greg (also known as GGG) is the endearing photo of a marijuana-smoking fellow with a likable grin. His photograph has been repeatedly captioned to show examples of acts of kindness and respectful public behavior. Good Guy Greg is quite a pleasant meme, actually, as it promotes the opposite of trolling and negativity on the web.

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Domo Kun and Kitten viral meme

This strange creature originally was a mascot for Japan's NHK television station. Domo, or Domo-kum, is often pasted into disaster scenes as the supposed cause of the destruction.

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The Spinning Dancer Illusion

Spinning dancer illusion viral meme

This mesmerizing optical illusion was created by graphic designer Nobuyuki Kayahara and has fascinated readers across the globe since 2007. Is this dancer standing on her left foot and spinning clockwise? Or is she standing on her right foot and spinning the other way? Take a look for yourself, and watch how the ballerina can change direction before your very eyes.

Focus on the standing foot, and you can almost will the direction change to happen.

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Gangnam Style, by Rapper Psy

Gangum Style viral video

At one point holding the title of most-liked video in YouTube history, this pop song was released by South Korean rapper Psy in July of 2012. In this video, Psy inspires a funny dance style involving an invisible horse and clumsy dance moves. "Gangnam Style" itself is a parody of people's perceptions of the upscale Gangnam District in the city of Seoul, where the residents are known to be wealthy and trendy.

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lolcat viral meme

Flickr / Crystal Writer

This absurd gallery features people attaching human behaviors and captions to photos of housecats. If you like Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons, you are bound to like LOLcats.

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The ehrmahgerd kerrerts bunny viral meme

Ermahgerd is a mispronunciation of "Oh my God." Ermahgerd fits wherever "Oh my God" does but adds an edge of silliness, humor, obnoxiousness, or nerdiness.

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The Double Rainbow

The Double Rainbow viral meme

The cameraman capturing this double rainbow is about as excited and moved as a human being could possibly be by the wonder of nature. Paul Vasquez says he was having a spiritual experience at the sight of this Yosemite Park rainbow. The original video went viral and spawned countless memes.

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Epic Fail!

Epic Fail viral meme featuring a sinking sailboat.

This photo and video blog is mesmerizing! Here are pictorial essays on the tragic mistakes of people around the world. Bad drivers, stunts gone wrong, public faux pas embarrassments — this website truly depicts human folly.

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Lady Gaga: Bad Romance

Screenshot from the Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" music video.

This catchy song by artist Lady Gaga is paired with some surreal costumes and mesmerizing dance moves. Whether you like Lady Gaga's music or not, you'll want to watch this video and decide for yourself what you think. 

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Mr. Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind

Mr. Rogers, remixed viral meme

Fred Rogers was an educational influence for millions of young people before he passed away in 2003. His PBS show inspired scientific curiosity, multiculturalism, compassion for fellow human beings and animals, and real hope for the future.

The Public Broadcasting System remixed a montage of Mr. Rogers' work in this hypnotizing video. Unlike other memes, this video is thoughtful and non-flashy, but if you followed Mr. Rogers as a youth, you are bound to find this video resonant and moving.

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NONONO Cat viral meme

NONONO Cat is a special long-haired cat from Russia. In this video, he cowers in fear at seeing a young child for the first time. This feline begins to speak in seeming English, repeating the word "no" for several minutes. This is a much-loved meme video, especially among animal lovers.

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OK, Go: The White Knuckles Music Video

Ok Go White Knuckles viral video

OK Go is an internet music group that specializes in sharing music through oddball choreography. These artists made the famous "Treadmill" video meme (see later in this list) as well as this adorable music video of dogs and plastic furniture. Animal lovers should really enjoy this meme!

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Numa Numa Dance

The numa numa guy dancing for the camera in a viral video

Amateur videographer Gary Brolsma won the hearts of viewers everywhere when he lip-synched to the song Dragostea by the Romanian group Ozone, engendering parodies and reenactments.

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Rebecca Black: Friday Music Video

Rebecca Black, whose Friday music video was a viral sensation

Millions of people called it the worst music video ever made, but Rebecca Black's Friday video became a viral sensation across the world.

This music video was shot with a budget of only $4,000 and was taken offline because of the massively polarized attention it received, though it was eventually re-uploaded. Rebecca is now a successful YouTuber who has released other songs.

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Star Wars Kid

The Star Wars Kid Drunken Jedi is a doctored video of a young man wielding a golf ball retrieval stick like a lightsaber.

This doctored video of a youngster twirling a golf ball retriever staff like a lightsaber went viral. Star Wars fans get a kick out of this meme.

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David After the Dentist

Image of a boy named David who reacted badly to the medication given to him at the dentist, creating a viral video

David was a 7-year-old boy who just had a tooth removed. As he recovered from the general anesthetic, his father videotaped him with the new family Flip camera. During his wooziness, David proceeded to monologue in an endearing Hamlet-ish kind of way, questioning life and his medicated condition. The video went viral, become 2009's second-most-watched video on YouTube. (A Chad Vader parody video also garnered laughs.)

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Chuck Norris Memes

A Chuck Norris meme featuring Norris holding a weapon

A flurry of Chuck Norris memes drew upon the preposterous exaggerations of Chuck Norris as a modern Superman. His powers are legendary!

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The Famous Dancing Baby

Images from the Dancing Baby meme showing the baby's dance moves.

The famous dancing baby animation was originally intended to demonstrate 3D drawing software in the animation world but instead caught fire as a curiosity meme once it was featured on the Ally McBeal television show. Years later, this animation is still making people chuckle.

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Dogs Go to Heaven

Two signs from competing churches where they argue over whether dogs have souls and can go to heaven, becoming a viral meme

Hoax or not, this photo essay of two competing churches is a modern favorite. Commonly, this meme is forwarded as a large email containing all the photos of the two churches in question.

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Charlie Bit Me!

The meme of the baby, Charlie, biting his older brother.

In one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time, adorable baby Charlie bites his big brother's finger, much to the big brother's chagrin. Charlie's fiendish laugh is the best part.

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Ask a Ninja

Ask a Ninja meme.

This cheeky type of comedy is blended with modern street jargon and inane videos of ninja actors. Definitely a good laugh for people who enjoy this kind of humor.

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OK, Go: The Treadmill Dance

A screen capture of the OK Go group doing their viral meme Treadmill Dance.

Alternative rock band OK Go won the hearts of viewers with their challenging choreography, which turned into a viral meme. 

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One Red Paperclip

An image of a red paperclip, which one man traded for a house.

A fellow in Saskatchewan had the outlandish idea to repeatedly trade objects online until he was traded a house. It actually worked!

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David Elsewhere Breakdance

David Elsewhere breaking out his rubber man moves when breakdancing, which became a viral meme

In 2001, a dance festival video launched David "Elsewhere" Bernal into internet fame. His rubber-man moves became so legendary, David was asked to participate in advertising for Heineken and Pepsi. 

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Demotivational Posters

A demotivational poster about how lighting kills hundreds of people to illustrate pessimism.

Despair.com is one of a few memorable sites that have turned visual sarcasm into a meme phenomenon. Originally a parody of motivational posters, these "demotivational posters" take cynicism and sarcasm to a new level.

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The Hamsterdance

Screen capture from the Hamster Dance video showing animated hamsters dancing in the summer heat, which became a viral meme

Catchy music with videos of small critters. The original hamsterdance is from 1999, with a 9-second sound loop from Whistle Stop (a Disney movie). This clip has since spawned dozens of follow-up remixes and a top 40 song.

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Dramatic Chipmunk

A screen capture of the viral meme Dramatic Chipmunk looking very...dramatic.

The self-explanatory dramatic chipmunk offers three seconds of hilarity.

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Diet Coke and Mentos

Two scientists demonstrating what happens when you put Mentos candy in Diet Coke.

Scientists have varying theories as to why there is such an explosive chemical reaction between Mentos and Diet Coke. Science notwithstanding, the shock value and creative pyrotechnics are worth 3 minutes of your time.

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Evolution of Dance

Screenshot of Evolution of Dance viral video

Comedian Judson Laipply does it all, from the robot to YMCA to the twist in this six-minute viral dance sequence. Laipply takes us seamlessly through various time periods and brings the nostalgia.

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Keyboard Cat

Screenshot of viral meme Keyboard Cat

The internet loves a good cat meme, and this tabby, dressed in blue and playing the keyboard, sparked a plethora of memes and viral videos.

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Sneezing Baby Panda

Screenshot of sneezing baby panda viral video

An adorable baby panda lets out a humongous sneeze, startling his mom and viewers.

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Otters Holding Hands

Screenshot of otters holding hands from viral video

Two adorable critters clutch hands while sleeping and floating, much to the delight of the aquarium crowd.

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Susan Boyle's Debut

Screenshot of Susan Boyle's singing debut, which went viral

Susan Boyle's stunning singing debut on a 2009 episode of Britain's Got Talent elicited tears, shock, and good feelings all around.

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Baby Dancing to Single Ladies

Baby dancing to Single Ladies viral video

New Zealand tot Cory Elliott, clad in a diaper, has all the moves dancing to Beyonce's Single Ladies, in a video that went viral in 2009.

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Tillman the Skateboarding Bulldog

Tillman the skateboarding bulldog from viral video

This laid-back, cool, skateboarding bulldog gained fame and a huge following when a video of him in Venice Beach, California, went viral.