smooth brain no thoughts meme

Mything/Shutterstock Dexterous Simpson/Shutterstock

The origins of the ‘smooth brain meme’, where ‘all ideas slide right off’

“All ideas slide right off.”


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Jan 31, 2024   Updated on Jan 25, 2024, 12:50 pm CST

“You have a smooth brain. No ridges or lumps, no valleys or bumps,” a soothing voice says in a TikTok audio used in almost 100,000 videos. “All ideas slide right off.”

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The “smooth brain” TikTok audio, created by a TikToker named Lucas, dominated pet-centric content in 2023. The phrase implies reduced brain capacity, and because the wrinkles in and on brains make them more efficient, a smooth brain would be a less efficient one—the phrase isn’t a scientific one, just internet slang. Pet owners everywhere posted footage of their pets doing something silly (or just existing) and rejoiced in their smooth brain life: One free of critical thinking, complex emotions, and existential dread.

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But where did this hallmark of Gen Z internet slang—and the inspiration for many a meme—come from? 

Smooth brain meme: The origins

The phrase “smooth brain” originated in 2020 as a reaction to the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic. As society faced massive amounts of uncertainty and sudden death, many online joked that they’d be better off not thinking than having to process reality. 

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Related phrases include “no thoughts, head empty” and “return to monke.” The latter alludes to de-evolving from a human into a monkey, in order to think less and live a more simple life.

Comparison memes

One of the most common memes about the concept are those that compare non-smooth brains to smooth brains. This can be done via photos of brains and smooth brains (usually represented by a photo of a chicken breast) and might include a list of differences between the two.

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via Reddit

“Smooth, no [wrinkles], cute, cant think=no sad,” a meme says of smooth brains. In contrast, regular brains are “bumpy weird” have “gross wrinkles,” and are able to think, meaning they are sad.

“Insult me all you wish” meme

Having a smooth brain is also a defense mechanism for some meme-makers: A popular smooth brain meme template relies on the phrase “insult me all you wish. My brain is too smooth. The smoothest there is. Your words simply slide right off.”

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via Facebook

Doge, various animals, and internet characters have been stars of the meme. 

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*First Published: Jan 31, 2024, 12:30 pm CST

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