Deep Fried Meme

Know Your Meme

What are deep fried memes?

Deep fried memes stand as a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of internet humor.


Kahron Spearman


Posted on Dec 26, 2023   Updated on Dec 15, 2023, 3:51 pm CST

In the vast world of internet humor, deep fried memes stand out with their distinct graphics and edgy content. These memes are characterized by a grainy, washed-out, and strangely colored appearance, resulting from running the image through numerous filters, and the unique aesthetic has become a matter of visual style and a commentary on meme culture itself.

Origin of deep fried memes

Deep fried memes emerged as a unique internet phenomenon on Tumblr in 2015. While the origin of the meme is unknown, the first recognized use of the term came from user paparoachscarsmp3, marking the beginning of a new era in digital humor.

The memes quickly gained traction with their distinctive, overly-filtered visuals that were reminiscent of low-quality images that had been repeatedly screenshot, edited, and shared. In 2016, Urban Dictionary user memegod420 uploaded the definition of this new meme format as, “When a high quality meme is screen shot, reposted and re-filtered so many times over that it has a yellowish, low quality resolution and looks like it was deep fried.”

As the memes evolved, they became a staple in online communities, particularly resonating with users who appreciated their ironic and exaggerated humor.

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Evolution and spread

The concept expanded further with a now-defunct Tumblr and subreddit established to celebrate deep fried memes. These platforms became hubs for sharing and evolving the meme’s aesthetic.

These memes often feature elements like glowing eyes, a high degree of pixelation a visual noise due to excessive JPEG compression, and the use of silly emojis. They are also easily recognizable by their over-saturated colors, and often include elements like slang that is difficult to understand, and dark, surreal imagery.

These elements combine to create an often absurd image, and reflect a meta-ironic take on broader meme culture.

Controversy and criticism

While deep fried memes are celebrated for their edgy and absurd humor, they have also been subject to controversy. The use of dark comedy, including racial slurs and jokes about sensitive topics like suicide, have sparked criticism online with the memes being labelled as unoriginal and ableist.

Deep fried memes as meta-ironic commentary

Deep fried memes aren’t just about the laughs. They push the boundaries of aesthetics and humor and challenge viewers to consider the definition and role of memes in digital communication.

These memes stand as a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of internet humor. As a symbol of the internet’s ability to continuously reinvent humor based on the current ethos, deep fried memes remind us of the endless possibilities of online creativity. Their legacy continues to influence and inspire new forms of digital expression, making them an enduring part of internet history.

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*First Published: Dec 26, 2023, 6:00 am CST