Happy Keanu

Happy Keanu

Part of a series on Keanu Reeves. [View Related Entries]

Updated May 10, 2013 at 07:20PM EDT by VanManner.

Added Oct 07, 2010 at 10:09AM EDT by joyfie.

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Happy Keanu is a photoshop meme based on a paparazzi photo of the Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves skipping cheerfully with a camera in his hand on the set of the 2012 indie drama film Generation Um. It is considered to be the third installment in the Keanu Reeves exploitable series.


Keanu Reeves initially earned his internet fame in June 2010 through a paparazzi photo of the actor sullenly eating a sandwich on a park bench, which spawned an extensive series of photoshopped images known as Sad Keanu. Meanwhile, fans of Sad Keanu and the actor on Facebook took the joke to the next level by celebrating the “Cheer Up Keanu Day”[10] on June 15th, 2010. Within the first week of launch, more than 14,000 Facebook users joined the group.

The “Happy Keanu” meme first emerged in October 2010, shortly after the rise of the first Sad Keanu spin-off series “Sad Keanu in a Helmet” in late July. The photograph[1] was taken by on October 6th, 2010 in New York City’s East Village neighborhood, where Reeves was working on a running scene for the 2012 film Generation Um.


On the following day of October 7th, the photograph of Keanu Reeves was published online by The Daily Mail[2] in an article titled “Happy Keanu strikes AGAIN: Things are looking up as Reeves keeps on smiling” and subsequently picked up by several news sites and celebrity blogs including Washington Post[3] and Jezebel.[4] That same day on Tumblr, the single topic blog Happy Keanu[5] was launched to curate the photoshopped images. Throughout the month of October 2010, a number of Happy Keanu variations were featured on MemeBase[11] and FunnyJunk.[12]

Notable Examples

Mashup Images

The development of Happy Keanu images was also influenced by other similar photoshop memes, such as the Chubby Bubbles Girl and Strutting Leo.

Search Interest

The Google Insights cross-comparison of Sad Keanu spin-offs (Sad Keanu in a Helmet, Happy Keanu, Tai Chi Keanu) shows that Happy Keanu generated the highest volume of search interest in 2010.

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