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Sad Keanu is a photoshopping trend based on a paparazzi photo of the well-known Canadian American actor Keanu Reeves sitting on a park bench and (sort of) enjoying a sandwich by himself.
The photograph of sullen-looking Reeves eating a sandwich was taken sometime in May 2010 by the Splash News photographer Ron Asadorian. The earliest known “Sad Keanu” photoshop thread can be found on 4chan-like archive called Green-ovale.net, from the /tv/ (television & films) board, dating May 23th 2010. Another thread would pop-up on 4chan imageboard’s /a/ (anime) board dating back to June 1st, 2010:
On June 3rd, 2010, Reddit user rockon4life posted an image with the phrase “I really enjoy acting…Because when I act, I’m no longer me” in a thread entitled “Keanu. More sadness in comments”. The thread quickly made it to Reddit’s front page, gathering over 281,000 page views.
On June 4th, 2010, sympathy for Keanu spread virally across Reddit, resulting in the creation of other threads with more derivatives, such as “Instead of Chuck Norris, let’s make Keanu Reeves a meme”, “Keanu Reeves is Hungry” and “Oh Keanu.” One Reddit user also noted “if you want to truly honor Keanu Reeves, don’t do it by imitating Neo, do it by imitating Keanu Reeves. He donates money to fund cancer research.”
Reddit’s love for Sad Keanu continued on June 5th with more tribute threads like “Keanu Illustrated” and “Keanu Reeves should play Harley Quinn in the new Batman movie”, while some began to ask questions like “Reddit, why this sudden obsession with Keanu Reeves?”
On June 7th, 2010, Urlesque posted the article “Sad Keanu: The Latest Image Macro.” On June 8th, 2010, BuzzFeed user memecore submitted an article titled “10 Best Sad Keanu Images”, where it quickly reached the Top 10 List of the day. TheDailyWhat also provided coverage and follow-ups on Sad Keanu phenomenon.
Once it began to spread across Tumblr sites, the Sad Keanu meme was soon picked up by Tumblr Radar over and over again, driving up the number of derivatives even further. Sad Keanu Tumblr was launched on June 10th, single topic blog SadKeanu.com was launched four days later on June 14th. There’s even a fan-made @SadKeanu Twitter account.
On June 18th, 2010, SadKeanu blogger Dan replaced all of the user-submitted images with a farewell post on the site:
Splash News has decided to keep their DMCA in place, as well as Tumblr, which means we may not publish any more of your awesome submissions and we must start to take down all of our previous 270+ posts. In addition, this blog will most likely be deleted in the next 48 hours by Tumblr because of the DMCA.
Although we do believe that it can fall under “fair use”, both myself and my partner don’t have any time or resources to fight it.
Thanks to everyone that helped out making this meme the most awesome one on the internet.
Since then, the site has been posting submissions that do not use the bench photo, but instead are silhouettes and other renderings of the image. News of the takedown also spread via Reddit and The Daily What.
On Facebook: Cheer Up Keanu Day
Following that intense waves of photoshoppery, a Facebook event entitled “Cheer Up Keanu Day” was organized. Planned for June 15th, it encouraged any people to send love letters, gifts, phone messages, cancer donations or mails of any kind in order to make a special happy day for the actor. As part of the promotion, a fan-made single-topic blog named “Thank You Keanu” was launched to provide a space for fans to leave sympathetic comments.
June 15th, 2010 – By decree of The Internet, June 15th is now an internationally celebrated holiday dedicated to Keanu Reeves.
Keanu Reeves on His Fame
On January 18th, 2011, the Hollywood actor briefly addressed his newfound internet fame in a studio interview with BBC, quoted as saying:
Do I wish that I didn’t get my picture taken while I was eating a sandwich on the streets of New York? Yeah.
We all know Keanu Reeves through his acting career: he mostly plays the cool and stoic hero in works such as The Matrix, Johnny Mnemonic, Speed, and Constantine. However, behind the cool name (Keanu means, “the coldness” in Hawaiian), cool shades, and the deadpan “Whoa…” lies a man with a very tragic past.
His father, Samuel Nowlin Reeves Jr., abandoned him and his mother when he was 3 and has never reconnected with him. His mother, Patricia Bond, became a costume designer and showgirl who constantly remarried and divorced. This led to a constant moving, a series of different high schools, and a string of 3 stepfathers for Keanu. He had a key interest in hockey and was MVP of his hockey team, earning the nickname “The Wall”, but his dream of playing in the Olympics ended after an injury. Afterwards, he dropped out of high school to become an actor, thus starting his career. He never obtained a high school diploma. Keanu has never married and avoids most relationships.
Currently, Keanu’s best friend is his sister, Kim Reeves, who has been diagnosed with leukemia. His remaining money probably pays for her medical bills, and he plays the guitar for a small band to further get finance.
Keyword Comparison of Keanu Reeves vs. other American actors that look sad all the time
In his career, Keanu turns down big roles if he believes the character he would portray is too violent. He took a 90 percent pay cut on The Replacements just so Gene Hackman could be cast. Previously, he had deferred 2 million of his salary so that Al Pacino could be cast on The Devil’s Advocate. Even then, he gives most of his earnings to charity and the backstage crew/people who help on the set.
Keanu Reeve’s memorable quotes are as follows:
- “I’m a meathead, man. You’ve got smart people, and you’ve got dumb people. I just happen to be dumb.”
- “I’m sorry my existence is not very noble or sublime.”
Ode To Happiness
On June 17th, 2011, The A.V. Club reported that Keanu Reeves was had released a book titled “Ode to Happiness”, which is described as “a grown-up’s picture book” on the book’s official Facebook page. The A.V. Club also reported that Keanu claims the book has nothing to do with the Sad Keanu Internet meme:
But just to be clear, Reeves also claims that “Keanu Is Sad” has absolutely nothing to do with his project. “Oh, the Internet deal," he says in the interview, taking great pains to pretend like he doesn’t think about it every single day, adding, "It was brought to my attention. Yeah, it was funny. But no, the book predates that by a long time. We finished it in August 2009.”
Search traffic for “Sad Keanu” first began on June 4th, rising steadily until June 16th. Google Insights trends tend to lag for roughly 2-3 days so it remains to be seen how long people will have an appetite for actively seeking the meme out.
Thank You Keanu – site defunct