The Top 20 Web Memes of All Time

Was this page helpful?
01
of 21

What is a meme?

what is a meme

 First, what is a meme? Basically, a meme on the Web is a phenomenon, fad, sensation, rumor, or oddity that gets passed around quickly to large numbers of people; this can be via email, word of mouth, blogs, Web sites, chat, pretty much any kind of Web communication.

Here are the top 20 Web memes that you've probably seen in one form or another somewhere on the Web; some are funny, some are weird, but they're all wildly popular. These are the ones that set the standard for all the other memes to come along as far as popularity - they paved the way for future silliness and snark. 

02
of 21

Dancing Baby

dancing baby

The infamous Dancing Baby actually first got its start way back in 1996 with an email that was passed around to literally millions of people. Once the Dancing Baby made his (or her?) way onto the popular show "Ally McBeal", its place in Web meme history was assured.

03
of 21

All your base are belong to us

all your base are belong to us

"All your base are belong to us" is a snippet of text that was incorrectly translated within a Japanese video game, and then popularized in a short cartoon.

04
of 21

Chocolate Rain

chocolate rain

"Chocolate Rain", sung by deep-voiced Tay Zonday, quickly gained popularity for the singer's deep voice and the oft-repeated chorus, as well as the phrase "I move away from the mic to breathe in". 

05
of 21

Star Wars Kid

star wars kid

The Star Wars Kid's claim to fame is a home video showing him very exuberantly wielding a make-believe Jedi light saber. 

06
of 21

Charlie the Unicorn

Charlie the Unicorn, part of the eccentric FilmCow studio, is a somewhat tragic figure who has to endure all sorts of crazy shenanigans put upon him by his two unicorn friends.

07
of 21

The Evolution of Dance

evolution of dance

The Evolution of Dance is a video put together by comedian Judson Laipply; it showcases at least 20 different dance styles ranging from Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" to N'Sync's "Bye Bye Bye".

08
of 21

Bert is Evil

bert is evil

The "Bert is Evil" phenomenon is based on a website featuring the classic Sesame Street character in a number of historical events and situations, offering satirical "proof" that Bert was, in fact, evil.

09
of 21

LOLcats

lolcat

Images of cats with funny captions have pretty much taken over the Web. The captions, mostly written in Internet slang called "lolspeak", are whimsical, witty, or just downright weird.

10
of 21

David After Dentist

david after dentist

This video of a little boy coming home after a dentist appointment is hilariously funny and went viral all over the Web within just a few weeks of upload. "Is this real life?" 

11
of 21

JK Wedding Entrance Dance

wedding dance

Wedding entrances are solemn, stately affairs....that is, until the JK Wedding Entrance Dance made its way onto YouTube. The couple choreographed a fantastic entrance number featuring all their maids of honor and groomsmen to Chris Brown's "Forever".

12
of 21

Tron Guy

tron guy

The Tron Guy's claim to fame is an homage to his favorite movie: he built a completely realistic replica of the electroluminescent costume from the classic movie "Tron".

13
of 21

Hamster Dance

hamster dance

Hamsters. Dancing. This viral meme was one of the first that got passed around in the early days of the Web. 

14
of 21

Charlie Bit My Finger

charlie bit my finger

The video of two little British boys - the baby biting his big brother's finger- has become one of the most popular Web videos of all time.

15
of 21

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

peanut butter jelly time

"Peanut Butter Jelly Time" is a mesmerizing Flash animation of a banana dancing to the song titled, fittingly enough, "Peanut Butter Jelly Time".

16
of 21

Diet Coke and Mentos

diet coke and mentos

Diet Coke and Mentos make for a great science experiment, but the website EepyBird.com really made it popular with their stylized experiment carried out on a grand scale.

17
of 21

Leave Britney Alone

leave britney alone

Chris Crocker's heartfelt videotaped plea, entitled "Leave Britney Alone!", was created after Britney Spears's performance at the MTV Awards in 2007. It immediately went viral, with hundreds of parodies poking fun at his sentiments.

18
of 21

RickRoll

rickroll

80s pop star Rick Astley has gained new fame with the Web meme of "rickrolling"; basically, someone is given a link that they think goes to one thing, but actually goes to the video of Astley's song "Never Gonna Give You Up".

19
of 21

Numa Numa Dance

numa numa

TheNuma Numa Dance is a home video of a young man dancing VERY enthusiastically to the song "Numa Numa".

20
of 21

Dramatic Chipmunk

dramatic chipmunk

Dramatic Chipmunk is a five-second video of a chipmunk caught in just the right post, with just the right music. This meme caught on like crazy, and many parodies and homages followed. 

21
of 21

FAIL Blog

FAIL Blog

The FAIL Blog features images of people and situations that "fail" miserably at one thing or another; usually in drastic, hilarious ways, and always with the caption "fail" on the image itself.