The Know Your Meme Staff's Favorite Memes Of 2022
Every month at Know Your Meme, we invite you guys to vote on what you think is the best meme of the past 30 days. We monitor these polls closely because, while we always honor the results, it doesn’t mean we necessarily feel the same way. There’s always at least one staffer (usually me — hey, it’s Adam) who wishes that a certain meme gained more traction or believes that some high-quality memes were overshadowed by the flavor of the month.
These discussions have led to heated debates in the office, as each of us in the Know Your Meme penthouse has our own definition of what makes a “quality” meme. Is it a meme so cringe that it flips back into being incredible (what we call a “Don” meme)? A meme that celebrates the ingenuity of the internet’s most noble hornyposters? (PHam). A meme so densely layered and buried in Gen-Z lore that it’s incomprehensible over the age of 27 (Sakshi/Owen)?
Now it’s our time to shine, as we on the staff at Know Your Meme finally get to say what we thought were the best memes of the year. In many cases, they definitely weren’t the most popular, but they provided the joy that kept us going as we covered yet another wild year online.
What can I say, Treasure Island holds a special place in my heart: it was my favorite cartoon growing up after all, and I still give it a watch from time to time. That’s why when my boy Dr. Livesey finally got noticed by the West, I dropped everything I was working on and spent the next day and a half writing exclusively about the jovial doctor, his phonk-walk and Treasure Island. I was the man for the job, me, Dr. Livesey’s top guy. And I’m so glad it caught on.
Dr. Livesey is a pure chad in all the positive meanings of this word. Cartoons naturally advocate good, and Dr. Livesey does the job effortlessly simply by being this chaotic good kind of guy who’ll do anything for his friends, all while laughing and shrugging off any trouble like it's nothing. And then there is his Phonk Walk. Is this kind of swagger possible to achieve IRL? I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying. For him.
Also, it’s pronounced “live-see,” goddamnit.
Setting one of the two precedents this year when the internet proved that for a massive fandom to exist there is no need for the actual media (the other being Goncharov), Morbius managed to become the most important internet culture phenomenon this year despite being a generally mediocre movie that flopped not one, but two times (they really thought we were going to see it the second time around, those numbnuts). There is a lot to say about how, when and why Morbius memes were born, but I just really want to focus on Morbius Sweep, the meme that started it all, the meme that was so grassroots, spontaneous and unprovoked that you couldn’t resist jumping on the Morbius bandwagon and rooting for the movie to defy the odds it was never meant to beat. Thank you /r/MovieCirclejerk for jerking this into our humble reality.
Confession time: I watched Morbius, and it wasn’t half bad, heck, I enjoyed it. And when Dr. Morbius finally said “It’s morbin’ time,” I morbed all over the place. True story, that.
Some memes are for the people and by the people, and then there are formats like Cat Breakdancing which are reserved for an exclusive club of those who can draw and animate. Call this gatekeeping (at least until AIs come for the animators as well), but after this neat little redraw (re-animation?) format grabbed my attention in June, seeing a new version pop up on my timeline felt like finding a precious gem and made me appreciate just how much talent and effort went into creating them.
Quality animations aside, Cat Breakdancing is also perfect in the way it captures the straight man vs. the little shithead dynamic. Gimme some more of that in 2023, please.
Live Tucker Reaction
It’s 2022, and reaction images are no longer reserved for people only. Why react with a boring old GIF when you can instead drop a Live X Reaction meme and let anime girls, sigma males and internet cryptids be your mouthpieces? A BeReal for memes, the format actually started in 2021 when Live Tucker Reaction memes went viral on iFunny (☝️🤓), but only unlocked its full potential when Klaud the Star Wars slug came around in March 2022 with its Homophobic Dog vibes.
Live X Reaction is great, and not only as an independent format: it can also complement other memes, so bonus points for that. Hey, traditional media have been using it for forever, why should they be getting all the fun?
Confession: I didn’t play Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I haven’t seen most of the anime used in this meme. Nevertheless, Revengeance Status and its myriad offshoots get me every time. The meme usually shows a scene from a spicy anime or internet video, but right as things are about to get really saucy, “STAAAANDING HEEEEERE, I REEEEEALIIIIIZE!” The meme is the video equivalent of the Don’t Look at Her format but with butt rock badassery, making for one of the best bait-and-switch templates we’ve seen in recent memory.
Pokémon Scarlet/Violet Bugs
When I heard about the issues plaguing Pokémon Scarlet and Violet ahead of their release, my initial thought recalled a classic Trump tweet: “I’m not happy with the Pokémon Company right now. That’s ok, I’ll keep playing that garbage.”
Little did I know how bad things would really be, as soon the internet was flooded with videos of the game falling apart in ridiculous ways. Pokémon blinked out of existence, the player twisted to monstrous proportions, and of course, players fell through the environment into infinite abysses. But unlike some notoriously broken games like Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is actually an extremely good game, it’s just that it’s held together by chewing gum and Scotch tape. This made the discourse around the game’s clear poor technical performance entertaining, as even the biggest fans acknowledged that it ran like garbage while they had the time of their lives.
Forspoken Trailer Parodies
Marvel one-liners were long overdue for a proper, thorough roasting, but the genre needed a spark to turn from semi-niche internet joke to full-on meme. Enter one horribly cringe trailer for a video game called Forspoken that crammed an obscene amount of awful, wink-wink Whedonisms into a minute of action. The Forspoken trailer undercut whatever it was selling by having its protagonist talk in the sort of half-witty, fish-out-of-water snark that has fallen deeply out of vogue of late, and was timed perfectly to get memed to oblivion. What followed was a joy, as some of the internet’s most creative voices tried their hand at crafting similar trailers for games whose tones didn’t match the quippy feel of the dialogue, resulting in a beatdown so thorough, it will be difficult to imagine a game or movie studio will draw from the Whedon well again. Good riddance.
— westivus (@funnywes) August 10, 2022
If I had to pick an overall favorite from 2022, the sheer adaptability of Morbius and the many memes it produced (“It's Morbin Time,” the “Matt Smith Dance,” etc.) throughout the year would get it close. However, what sets it over the top for me is the fact that the internet collectively memed and trolled it so much that a multi-billion-dollar company actually thought we wanted another chance to see it … as if we’d missed the first release and would go spend money on such a flop. Every corporation has its “internet lesson” moment, so this year I guess it was Sony’s turn.
Kramer, What's Going On In There?
I’m a sucker for a good exploitable format with lots of editability, and while it didn’t last too long, “Kramer, What's Going On In There?” was one of my favorites this year in that category. It wasn’t particularly special, but the ease of creation led to a ton of funny memes in various communities I’m a part of — and I will never not enjoy some good Warhammer and LotR memeage.
Italian Senate Tifa Hentai
While not really a meme format, the whole Italian Senate livestreaming Tifa hentai during a meeting where none other than a Nobel Prize-winning physicist was in attendance was such a hilarious way to start off the year, I think I have to put it on my list. Especially considering how much Zoom had become a begrudging part of so many of our lives not long before this event happened, I feel that element just adds another dimension to how funny this whole debacle was. Here’s to hoping we get something similar to kick off 2023 in January.
It’s rare that a meme comes along and perfectly encapsulates an entire moment in history. At the peak of NFT absurdity, one tweet came along out of nowhere about using something called “slurp juices” that could be used to make “new apes.” The tone of the tweet was extremely patronizing, starting with the phrase “a lotta yall still dont get it,” followed by a string of words completely incomprehensible to anyone not immersed in this particular NFT project. “Slurp Juice” became a meme to represent the silliness of the entire crypto art scene.
Different Dimension Me
Of all the AI art generators, Different Dimension Me may have been my favorite from a meme perspective. Not only is the technology super impressive, but the variations were also the funniest of all the AI art generators. If I were to pick a favorite, I think I’d go with the anime representation of Yes Chad.
As Adam noted in the comments section of the Zoomer Haircut entry, I had been making a stink about this until we got an entry up on the website last year. I was thrilled to see this spawn the Zoomerification meme this year, which stood out to me as one of the better photoshop memes of 2022.
The One Piece Is Real
Historically speaking, One Piece has always been considered lower on the popularity list than its contemporaries such as Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. However, a noticeable shift occurred during COVID, during which both Naruto and DBZ were without new content (Boruto doesn’t count), giving One Piece its moment to shine. The number of memes coming from the series from 2012-2019 is less than the number of memes made from 2020-2022, and "The One Piece Is Real" is the biggest mainstream meme push ever for the series. Just don’t go looking for the original posts about it.
Stable Diffusion, which was one of the first times AI Art was ‘solved’ and people immediately used it to create images that were supposed to look like memes, was a magical time. Using AI to create meme art is the ultimate expression of IYKYK, and if you truly do know, I feel bad for you bro.
Booze Cruising / Drunk Driving Memes are the pinnacle of absurdity mixed with pure sarcastic irony so thick you’d swear you jumped through the Overton window. Are there really tens of thousands of people liking and sharing memes about a Doge drinking a Modelo while driving 80mph in a school zone? Yes. Is Drunk Driving a serious concern in the world that could lead to Drunk Crashing and loss of life? Yes. Does that make it okay? It Depends, is Free Bird Playing?
Momlife Comics / Peach Husband
The "Peach Husband" became this year's perfect exploitable meme because the concept behind this comic was so wildly annoying, as was the "lore" of Momlife Comics's life and marriage. She was essentially making comics dissing her husband for eating the food he pays for, and it's become a pretty entertaining representation of how delusional some people are online. I also find this meme particularly funny because I can't stop imagining how her husband feels about getting publicly shamed by his own wife for eating a peach, an act that has somehow become so controversial that millions of people are weighing in on it. The template also has some pretty entertaining uses, with anything and everything from Pickle Rick edits to anti-memes taking over Twitter for a solid week.
It's Morbin' Time
As a fan of terrible movies, “It’s Morbin’ Time” naturally became one of my favorite memes from this year as well. Yes, I have watched the entirety of Morbius, and yes, it was still somehow worse than I thought it would be. But out of them all, my favorite meme about the movie certainly would be those casual uses of “morb” as a verb, implying that anyone who’s morbing is turning into an angst-filled, overdramatic version of Michael Morbius (or worse, just a regular version of Jared Leto).
My third pick is Dall-E Mini. Computer-generated art has certainly come a long way, and just by looking at what Dall-E Mini has created, it’s pretty clear that we’re going to be overthrown by AI sometime in the near future. However, Dall-E Mini has one major flaw, which is its complete misunderstanding of what a human face looks like, which somehow makes every image it comes up with 10 times funnier. I’ve loved seeing what this AI has come up with over the past six months in response to some particularly bizarre prompts we’ve all thought up. Somehow, it’s created a work of art every time.
It’s cool seeing a new slang term enter the canon in real-time, and Rizz’s origins in NYC streamer lingo and its TikTok-fueled popularity made it really entertaining to see how the word and its use developed over the course of the year. I also think Rizz nicknames are super funny, and these are some of my favorites; Rizzly Bear, Adolf Rizzler, First Rizzponder, Last Rizzort, Nation of Rizzlam, Rizz Reaper, etc.
Does He Know
The Rockstar YouTube thumbnail memes were funny enough when they launched but nothing cracks me up like seeing Paul Dano’s weird little smirk when I least expect it. It's got all the makings of what I consider a funny meme; oddly specific origins, simplistic design, and the ease with which it allows the wielder to dunk on an unsuspecting internet user.
The Nathaniel B video got better every time I watched it, and the layers of funny to this video and its setup remind me of early 2010s videos like You Smell Like You Farted and Supa Hot Fire. The fact that the video was named “Part 5,” the kid's smug delivery followed by him making the most quizzical expression, all the other kids going “what?” and “pause” through the cacophony of laughter made it such a stupid funny video.
@jacob__292 NATHANIEL B FULL VIDEO RAP BATTLE🔥 🔥 #nathanielb #rapbattle #fyp #meme #viral ♬ original sound – jacob_2828
@hoyabembee #nathanielb #is #jesus ♬ aint u nathaniel b – 27bplz408v91njkw3uo
I’m not sure if it’s the Gen Alpha middle schooler or the mature, meme connoisseur in me, but these Ambatukam Omaygot videos literally get me every time. First of all, it’s just funny that TikTok’s algorithm lets these videos slide and even recommends them over other content. Also, this meme has spread much farther than Indonesian TikTok (where it started) to pretty much every platform and country. Plus, the lore on Dreamybull actually is quite interesting. The fact that he’s sending his daughters to college with his content definitely puts Ambatukam in the running for “Best Wholesome Meme of the Year.”
@jed_reznik #dreamybull #ambatukam #sad #icantmoveon #fyp ♬ Get You The Moon – Kina
@evangelist.4 Ambatukam #fyp ♬ Abatukam – raihan
'Sweet Caroline' Relevant DNB Remix
At first, I loved the “Cbat” by Hudson Mohawk trend that made fun of that one “weird sex guy” on Reddit. I loved that whole story and how it unfolded, including how TikTok made fun of his imagined movements as a disgustingly quirky top. Soon after though, a different song jumped to the top of my list for “Funniest Song of 2022”: the “Sweet Caroline” Relevant DNB Remix. I’ve always been a fan of UK jungle, drum and bass, dubstep (etc.) and I love the weird “indie” samples that they sometimes use to contrast the wub-wub sounds and make them feel nostalgic. Of course. though, the “Sweet Caroline” remix is the epitome of the genre’s cringe. Every time I hear this stupid remix I have to wait for that now-infamous bass drop.
Ngaly3622 and Lori Mattson
When I first saw a Ngaly3622 TikTok on my feed, I really thought nothing of it. I just thought that the guy had swag and that the account was obviously not him; the account was clearly just reposting videos from a secondary Douyin account owned by a Chinese, synchronized dance instructor. The hazy phone camera, the catchy song, and the optics of the charismatic man and his hoards of women were infectious. But what made it hilarious was the videos’ comment sections where one American woman named Lori would comment “King” or “My love,” on every video with multiple colored heart emojis. Even though Ngaly3622 was fake, Lori wasn’t and she was in love with this man to the point of obsession. Others started to notice her comments, trying to comment before her something like “Here before Lori” or “Love you Lori.” The videos became about two people and I loved the weird lore that the seemingly two-dimensional content had.
My Brother In Christ
I love any meme that feels earnest and sincere. When “My Brother In Christ” swept onto the feed earlier in 2022, it struck me as a surprisingly wholesome way to call people out. There’s also something to be said for memes that reference a corner of the internet (in this case, the Christian web) that we don’t hear from very often. I also admire the stoutness of the sandwich in a lot of these memes, it’s giving “absolute unit.”
Out of all the 2022 memes, Dark Brandon has the best chance of being a future AP U.S. History exam DBQ. Here’s a meme that was made by Chinese propagandists, rightwing Trump supporters and liberal lovers of Joe Biden all riffing off each other. I wouldn’t say it’s a collaboration between these groups, but you can definitely see the influences crossing back and forth, showing the ways even very opposed media bubbles are connected online. And the fact that Biden seemed to actually give a speech inspired by the meme’s aesthetics sealed the deal: memes penetrated reality.
I have to include this meme because, even though I got sick of seeing it during its time of peak virality, it’s a cool evolution of an old format. There's been so many “Bro Explaining” memes but this is the first truly viral one that flipped the genders: women, too, possess niche annoying knowledge that none of us want to hear about. I also love the “Explaining” memes in general because they often turn out positive: people are proud to info-dump about their interests and people are happy to read all that.
Gracias A Dios Nací En Latinoamerica
Although this meme was not created in 2022, it got more popular this year as many Latin American people started to use the image of Patrick Star in front of a favela praying to express their love for being Latino. This type of meme epitomizes so much of us LatAm that, despite all the trouble or hardships, we all love our cultures and countries.
Qué Mira, Bobo? / Anda Palla Bobo
Lionel Messi's response to a rival player during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been one of the most popular memes of the event for Latin Americans and football fans, thanks to the player's unusual, angry reaction. As Argentina ended up winning the World Cup, some fans decided to tattoo Messi’s phrase on their bodies and paint murals in the country to show their support for the Argentinian team captain. I love the commitment people show to things and idols to the point of inking their bodies (I also have some tattoos inspired by memes).
Patriota Do Caminhão / Truck's Patriot
How could I keep this one out of the list? A man that clings to the front of a truck driving at high speed to protest the 2022 Brazilian General Election. His lone attempt to stop a truck ended up with him clinging for his dear life, as the trucker decided to keep going at high speed on the highway (50 miles per hour) for more than 30 minutes. People used this meme to create costumes, montages of the man flying to the moon and many other incredible variations.
Pensando muito nessa cena. pic.twitter.com/QgCMUcIEET
— netflixbrasil (@NetflixBrasil) November 3, 2022
Have You Seen This Woman?
Brazilian K-pop stans, especially LOONA fans, are so dedicated to spreading the word about their favorite singer that they created an entire backstory surrounding the former LOONA member Chuu by gluing posters of the singer in universities across the country. I like that the lore of this expanded so much in 2022 that other variations began to appear, like a Brazilian Presidency propaganda for Chuu as a communist leader. Similar to the Morbius Sweep meme, everyone went along with the joke that Chuu was missing, with different stories as to why she disappeared and what her goals were. A silly joke that got people confused online and no one explained why, in the first place, they would do that to promote a singer – a truly Brazilian meme I love.
Beyond the memes themselves, it’s the journey of the Homophobic Dog meme that really makes it special. What started off as a simple Whisper image macro of a sassy-looking dog (Whitney Chewston) with a glass of wine and the caption “not too fond of gay people” exploded into one of the most versatile exploitables of the year as memers poured through the vast collection of her photographs on Instagram and went to town, adding the most homophobic captions possible. For a minute, some people were worried that Chewston might become Pepe for homophobes, but instead, her memes were embraced by the LGBTQ+ community – including her owners, Ben Campbell and Logan Hickman and even Lil Nas X – turning the sassy sausage dog into a ridiculous parody of homophobic people.
Stardew Valley Grandpa Dying in Bed
This one was a bit more lowkey than Dingle and Chewston, but if you’re a Stardew Valley fan, you probably got a kick out of those few weeks in April when everyone in the fandom was photoshopping the protagonist’s dying grandpa doing uncharacteristic things and making those photoshops into mods for the game. Your dying grandpa laying in an uncomfortable bed in his little sleeping cap is one of the first things players see when they start the game, so seeing a new image of him, say, being used as a ping-pong table, or in the Family Guy death pose, or horribly disfigured and bent into the shape of the bed itself is a funny way to mix things up for the old geezer. You almost feel bad for Grandpa in some of these images, but the dude is destined to die anyway. Do not go gentle into that good night or something, am I right?
Quandale Dingle refers to a series of ironic memes about a man named Quandale Dingle and wow, did they ever get around in 2022. The whole meme is based on how silly of a name Quandale Dingle is, which wouldn’t be that great, only it’s not some made-up name. There’s some dude who recently graduated from high school and just entered the workforce that is actually named Quandale Dingle, and there’s something beautiful about that. Quandale inspired tons of memes, including fake RapTV posts extending his lore alongside a distorted image of YB and those bizarre audios by TickleMyTip where he plays Quandale and other members of the Dingle Extended Universe. It is also one of the most notable actual memes to come out of TikTok and gain legs on other platforms. Here’s hoping we might actually get Mr. Dingle’s opinions on the meme in 2023.
@knowyourmeme For more information, check out the Quandale Dingle entry on Know Your Meme! #quandaledingle #quandale #dingle #knowyourmeme #carmenwinstead #aughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ♬ original sound – Know Your Meme
(Editor's note: My (Adam) favorite KYM office inside joke of the year was Don reading "Quandale Dingle refers to a series of ironic memes about a man named Quandale Dingle" like he's Bob Dole on the campaign trail.)
Looking for more of this year's best viral phenomena and memes? Be sure to check out our other 2022 meme roundups below:
- The Top 10 Memes Of 2022
- KYM Staff Picks Of 2022
- The Slang of 2022
- Breakthrough Meme Formats Of 2022
- The Year Of AI Generators
- Top Gaming Memes Of 2022
- Wildest Stories Of 2022
- Top Streamer Moments Of 2022
- Top TikToks Of 2022
- Top Lewd Memes Of 2022
- Trolls, Rumors and Hoaxes Of 2022
- Top Exploitables Of 2022
- Top Meme Creators Of 2022
Top Meme Revivals Of 2022
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