sweating meme

Comedy Central

Sweating memes: From Jordan Peele to a fictional Japanese bear

Excessive sweating is no joke—unless it comes to memes.


Natasha Dubash


Posted on Dec 7, 2023   Updated on Feb 4, 2024, 6:43 pm CST

Almost everyone has experienced an uncomfortable moment in which they find themselves sweating profusely. Whether the sweat is due to nerves before a big job interview, being caught in a lie, or after some intense exercise, no one likes the feeling of being drenched in their own perspiration. Fortunately, we can all commiserate over this uncomfortable feeling with the use of sweating memes.

Here’s a list of the most popular perspiration jokes to keep you cool in a sticky situation.

Sweating Jordan Peele

Arguably one of the most popular sweating memes, sweating Jordan Peele is a reaction image of comedian, actor, and director Jordan Peele sweating profusely. The GIF originates from a 2013 episode of the sketch comedy show, Key and Peele, which Peele co-created with comedy partner Keegan Michael-Key.

In a skit titled “Browser History,” a character played by Peele begins to sweat nervously when his girlfriend starts asking him questions about his internet search history. This anxious reaction was captured by Redditor u/austinisme247, who posted the sketch to the /r/videos subreddit.

Soon after, another Reddit user u/barracuda415 uploaded a GIF of the moment in which Peele’s character has sweat pouring down his face. The GIF was also posted to GIFY, where it quickly became popular as a reaction image to express excessive nervousness.

Sweating Rilakkuma

Rilakkuma is a fictional bear character that was created by Japanese company San-X in 2003. The origins of the sweating Rilakkuma image are unknown, but the earliest known use comes from X (formerly Twitter) user @RosceMiyamizu, who posted an image of a sticker of the character covered in condensation. 

Other Twitter users quickly adopted it as a reaction image, and it soon also spread to other social media platforms like 4chan and Tumblr.

Sweating Towel Guy

Sweating Towel Guy is an exploitable meme image of a man wiping his sweaty forehead with a towel. The image originally appeared in articles about excessive sweating, but it quickly morphed into an image of consternation when a 4chan user used the illustration to depict the feeling of anxiety of someone trying to leave a Gamestop store. The image soon gained popularity as a way to illustrate nervousness in various situations.

Sweaty Speedrunner

This sweating meme comes from a video uploaded by YouTuber H*ck No, in which the creator pretends to be nervously sweating as he attempts to complete a heated gaming session.

The video went viral on multiple platforms, including Reddit, Instagram, and Twitter, and eventually, H*ck No made the footage downloadable to be used in memes. It continued to grow in popularity as a reaction image and as source material for other variations of the meme. 

A final word on sweating memes (and sweating)

Excessive sweating is no joke unless it comes to memes. While this bodily function can be embarrassing for some, it can also bring a humorous touch to certain situations. When used properly, this popular reaction meme is the perfect way to diffuse tension in awkward moments and lightheartedly laugh at our struggles.

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*First Published: Dec 7, 2023, 5:25 pm CST