Classic Memes And Their Origins

Distracted Boyfriend

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Distracted Boyfriend or Man Looking At Other Woman is a meme of a woman catching her boyfriend checking out another girl’s ass. The origins are that it is a stock photo by the photographer Antonio Guillem. The earliest known Distracted Boyfriend meme was posted on the social media website Tumblr commenting on Phil Collin’s career. 

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But That’s None Of My Business

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But That’s None Of My Business is a picture of the lovable Kermit the Frog casting judgment on people or sarcastically calling them stupid in a passive aggressive way. It all started in 2014 on Instagram with the hashtag #kermitmemes which consisted of various pictures of Kermit with funny hypercritical captions. Later that year the Instagram account @thatsnoneofmybusinesstho was created and went viral. However, the picture of Kermit sipping Lipton tea was started on Tumblr. The meme’s popularity faded away until 2016 when Lebron James posted a picture on instagram of him wearing a hat with the stitching of Kermit sipping tea on it while he held the championship trophy of the NBA finals to mock his haters.

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Drew Scranlon Reaction

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The Drew Scranlon Reaction meme is an image and GIF used to portray confusion or a reaction to being insulted. The meme comes from a video of a man named Drew Scranlon, who is podcaster/video editor for the video game website Giant Bomb. He is the guy in the top left corner in the video below.


Scumbag Steve

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Scumbag Steve is a meme that portrays a broke, freeloading, partying, man child, tool. This meme is so popular because everyone knows someone in their life that is or was like that. The guy who thinks he’s cool with his sideways hat but everyone hates him because he’s a loser who only cares about himself.

The history of “Scumbag Steve” comes from the album cover titled Ma Gangsta by the MySpace based rap group “Beantown Mafia”. The cover reached the front page of Reddit in January 2011. Before that, it was on the website 4chan but didn’t make an impact. Redditors quickly identified the man on the album cover as Boston Blake, also known as "Weezy B”.  The infamous meme picture was taken by his mother. 

Blake was a good sportsman to the joke and even went along with it making a music video titled “Scumbag Steve Overture”.


Good Guy Greg

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Good Guy Greg (or GGG) is a meme depicting a man giddily smiling the camera while smoking a joint. It’s meant to be the opposite of the “Scumbag Steve” meme. The captions to Good Guy Greg always refers him as a nice, caring, friendly, lovable guy. 

The “Good Guy Greg” template picture was first uploaded on the image sharing/re-mixing website Canvas in April 2011. The description read “this is Good Guy Greg.” In May 2011 the first Good Guy Greg meme was created using the website Quickmeme with the captions “Sleeps on your couch… makes breakfast.”

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In June 2011 someone posted the Good Guy Greg meme reference on Urban Dictionary and in October 2011 a Tumblr was made for the meme and Buzzfeed wrote an article about it. No one knows the identity of Good Guy Greg but two people have claimed to know but have been disputed.



Condescending Wonka

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Condescending Wonka is a meme that is a screen shot of the actor Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It always depicts “smart ass" sarcasm and patronizing humor.

The very first Wonka memes had the caption “You must be new here” to make fun of noobs on the internet. Then in March 2011 they evolved into memes called “Creepy Wonka” with the captions saying inappropriate things and using sexual double entendres with candies. — “shut the door… I’ll show you my fudge packer”  In October 2011 the first “Condescending Wonka” was made on Quickmeme with the caption saying “So you graduated? You must know everything.” The image made it onto the front page of Reddit and has been in use ever since. 

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Sudden Clarity Clarence

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 Sudden Clarity Clarence is a meme of a bug eyed teen at a party suddenly having an epiphany. The top captions usually says “Holy shit” or “Oh my god” but doesn’t have to. The humor of the joke is that the sudden realizations Clarence has are insignificant and trivial.

The original photo of Sudden Clarity Clarence was taken by a photographer covering an event called the Schoolies Festival on Queensland in Australia’s Gold Coast in 2009. In 2011 in the height of Dubstep’s mainstream popularity, a Redditor posted the picture as a meme with the caption saying “Oh my god… dubstep sucks.” and Sudden Clarity Clarence was born.

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[10] Guy

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 [10] Guy is a meme depicting stoner humor and logic on a picture of a guy who looks high out of his mind. The captions usually has typical stoner behavior like craving junk food while having the munchies and giving wrong answers to misunderstood questions because your stoned.  

In 2011 the picture of [10] Guy was posted to Reddit with the caption “Being a [10] is not always pretty.” [10] refers to an expression from the website about being extremely stoned, on a scale from 1 to 10. That same day another Redditor took the picture and captioned it “Texts the person next to them… I want hospital”.

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Shortly after, the picture was put into Quickmeme with the caption “How would you like your burger cooked?.. Bacon”  it was posted onto Reddit and reached the front page. 

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Success Kid

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Success Kid is a meme of a baby’s smug reaction while at the beach. It is usually paired with captions of triumph or anger The original picture was taken by photographer Laney Griner of her 11 month year old son Sammy in 2007.  She then posted the picture to her Flickr account.  In 2008 people began incorporating the image with the captions “Ima fuck you up” or “I hate sandcastles” either as their profile picture or as a picture on their page. In 2011 it was shared on Reddit and Quickmeme and the rest is history.

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Overly Attached Girlfriend

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Overly Attached Girlfriend is a meme about a stereotypical possessive over bearing girlfriend. The captions depict her craziness and over the top actions she does because she loves you.

The original image is a screenshot of a YouTube video by the vlogger Laina Morris made in 2012. The video was titled “JB Fanvideo” and was in response to a sing off competition of Justin Beiber’s song “Boyfriend.” Her song was a parody of the original where she sang her own lyrics about being a super clingy girlfriend. In less than 48 hours the video received 1.35 million views and was very popular on Reddit. 

Very soon after the image became an official meme titled Overly Attached Girlfriend having it’s own Quickmeme page, twitter account and Tumblr.  Laina Morris has now has a YouTube channel with 1.2 million followers.