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Conspiracy Keanu is an advice animal image macro series featuring a still photo of the Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves wearing a frightened expression from the 1989 comedy film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The images are typically captioned with paranoid conjectures and absurdly philosophical questions that bear similarities to the Paranoid Parrot, Philosoraptor and Stoner Dog advice animal series.
On December 11th, 2008, New York Magazine’s Vulture Blog published a slideshow titled “Vulture’s Complete Field Guide to the Facial Expressions of Keanu Reeves” that consisted of screen captures of Reeves from various films. The 22nd slide featured an image of Ted (played by Keanu Reeves) taken from the 1989 comedy film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in a scene where Ted is being chased by medieval knights.
The image was subsequently used as a reaction face with the earliest known instance occurring on the Fark forums (shown left) on September 17th, 2010. The first image macro (shown right) was posted to the r/funny subreddit with the caption “What if we CAN breathe in space / and they just don’t want us to escape” on June 2nd, 2011, which accumulated 6,847 up votes prior to being archived.
An instance with the caption “What if all the specs we see in the light / are all miniature unierses?” was submitted to the humor site FunnyJunk on September 24th, 2011.
Beginning in November 2011, Conspiracy Keanu image macros spread on a larger scale with the launch of a Facebook fan page on November 19th and compilations were posted to various sites including BuzzFeed, Pleated Jeans and the web culture blog UpRoxx within the next few days. On December 15th, the web culture blog Smosh published a “Best of Conspiracy Keanu” post. The domain for the single topic blog ConspiracyKeanu.com was registered on December 18th. Additionally, derivatives have been posted to FunnyJunk, Tumblr, Troll.me and Reddit. As of April 2012, the Quickmeme page has 37,458 submissions and the Facebook page has 1,421 likes.
On Quickmeme, searching for ‘conspiracy’ results in numerous spin-offs. These vary between humans and animals, to fictional characters, with the text on the image macro matching to the image. Even though most of these only generated a few images and didn’t gain much popularity, more succesful versions are Consiracy Cat and various instances of Conspiracry Lyra.