It’s going to be a great year for memes.
The year 2018 has a tough act to follow in terms of memes: 2017 expanded the internet culture vernacular with new classics like Distracted Boyfriend, White Guy Blinking, Cracking Open a Cold One With the Boys, and Expanding Brain. Whomst‘ll be the best new memes of 2018? We’re already starting to find out.
Here’s our running list of the best memes of 2018, broken down in chronological order from each month of the year.
The best memes of 2018: January
1. Tide Pods
Tide’s laundry detergent pods are truly the forbidden fruit. They look like delicious candy, but they can also kill you if you eat them! The internet’s obsession with death, food, and bad decisions has made the temptation to eat Tide Pods into a meme—to the point where people are making their own out of gelatin.
Do you know de wey? Ugandan Knuckles is a deformed version of Knuckles the Echidna from the Sonic the Hedgehog games, and he speaks with a faux-African accent. In VRChat, the latest virtual chatroom app, hundreds of trolls use him as their avatar, swarming other players and repeating catchphrases from a Ugandan action movie. It’s as surreal as it sounds. Is it also kind of racist? Yep! But the gamers who love it don’t think so. Knuckles is well on his way to becoming the next Pepe the Frog.
A line from a 1939 Goldilocks cartoon, “somebody toucha my spaghet” is an Italian-caricature catchphrase that swept social media in January. It was mainly a nonsequitur found in weird YouTube remixes, but it got a huge boost from popular gaming YouTuber PewDiePie. He claimed “YouTube touched my spaghet!” after the site stopped the ad revenue on one of his videos.
Logan Paul damaged his career and became a meme when he filmed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara “Suicide Forest.” He offended an entire country and lost sponsorships and YouTube money, and he became a meme in the process. No one could believe he would be that dumb.
This Chinese trend showed posters going from plain to stunning with one sweep of a blanket. It was practically magic! It’s called “Karma Is a Bitch” because of the line from Riverdale that plays over every video, and because it implies that these amazing reveals are retribution against shallow people who focus only on looks. It also reminded us that that Kreayshawn song was a banger.
The best memes of 2018: February
Conservative commentator Steven Crowder visited a college campus with a sign reading: “Male privilege is a myth. Change my mind.” No one did, but they changed his sign with Photoshop, mercilessly mocking him and his original premise.
Scientists at Harvard University have created this 3D Model depicting what ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra may have looked like. pic.twitter.com/91zFGPiY8Z
— jean (@Iovemedown) February 18, 2018
“Scientists at Harvard University have created this 3D Model depicting what ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra may have looked like,” joked one Twitter user, captioning a 3D model that was very obviously Britney Spears. Britney may be a queen, but she’s not Cleopatra. Lots of people somehow missed the joke and got outraged at what they thought was whitewashing, but many others laughed and posted their own “models of Cleopatra” jokes.
Is Tesla founder Elon Musk’s name short for “Elongated Muskrat?” Nah, but it would hilarious if it were. Calling Musk “Muskrat” became a big trend in February, especially after he made the news with his successful Falcon Heavy rocket launch.
I think I found my new hobby pic.twitter.com/PAYMRM7wXz
— ✰ JAY ✰ (@jaypaulgeorge) February 13, 2018
Gym Kardashian, a.k.a. Buff Kim Kardashian, is a humorous Photoshop of Kim K. with enormous, musclebound arms. Kim has been working out lately, but the bulked-up biceps still look out of place, and it’s hard not to laugh. You can also use the meme to represent a strong woman who means business.
The best memes of 2018: March
Spongebob Squarepants memes experienced a huge resurgence in March, starting with “Evil Patrick.” This screengrab of Spongebob’s friend Patrick Star glowering down at him was used to represent any evil, petty thought a person might have, and it was everywhere.
March’s other big Spongebob meme used the show’s two competing restaurants, the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket, to compare things to other, lower-quality alternatives. If you needed to throw shade by saying one thing was worse than another, this was the meme for you.
Ben Affleck’s back tattoo looks like it was ALSO directed by Zack Snyder pic.twitter.com/Nz3wK0bNZ7
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) March 19, 2018
Actor Ben Affleck’s comically huge back tattoo, once thought to be painted on for a movie role, turned out to be real. The internet was absolutely loving it, and everyone scrambled to one-up each other with the funniest sick burns. Batman? More like back man, amirite?
I found my new favorite meme pic.twitter.com/QGB1bH5sSV
— KT (@increasethesoup) March 20, 2018
Jokes about America’s lust for oil were all the rage as President Trump gathered his “war cabinet.” Any kind of oil, whether it was in the ground, in a hot pan, or inside someone’s skin, got American soldiers Photoshopped onto. It seems like meme teens who were in diapers during the Iraq War are learning some recent history, and they’re not impressed with what they’re finding.
Marvel: 'Infinity War is the most ambitious crossover event in history'
— J'onn J'onzz (@MustyKonyByke) March 19, 2018
Is Marvel’s Infinity War, featuring more than 30 superheroes and villains, really the “most ambitious crossover event” of all time? Meme fans say no, and they’re making good jokes about their own absurd favorite crossovers, in everything from classic cartoons to basketball.
once i fix my sleep schedule, start eating healthy, get physically fit, beat depression, stop procrastinating, learn how to do taxes, get mentally strong enough to make phone calls, then it’s over for you bitches
— Seth Everman (@SethEverman) March 13, 2018
“It’s Over For You Bitches” is what you say when you finally achieve your life goals, whether they’re modest or impossibly ambitious. The phrase was used a lot in March to joke about overcoming everyday struggles or to make fun of how far we all have to go to become basically functional human beings. When you finally get it together, it’s over for the unnamed “bitches” who doubted you.
Black Panther’s villain, Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan), had several memorable lines in the critically-acclaimed Marvel film. The one that stuck the most with the internet? When Killmonger yells, “Is this your king?” to the people of Wakanda while battling T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). One Twitter user turned the line into a pun during a chilly first week of Spring, and a meme was born.
17. American Chopper
Who would have guessed that five panels about a father and son arguing would become a viral meme in 2018? In the original clip, from 2009, Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr. fight in the reality TV show American Chopper. Then again, everyone on the internet has something to argue about, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that this meme took off in such a big way.
18. Gru’s Plan
Everyone has seen far too many Minions memes at this point, so it was a relief to see a different Despicable Me character being meme’d. “Gru’s Plan” is all about your master plan going terribly wrong.
The best memes of 2018: April
In April, an 11-year-old named Mason Ramsey stood in a Walmart and yodeled his heart out. His performance was captured on video, and it quickly became a meme. Mason’s internet celebrity status led an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and a set at Coachella. In June, he released a studio recording of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues,” the song he yodeled to in the video that launched his career.
You want the people in your life to still love you at your “worst”—when you’re ill, broke, tired, depressed, or overall going through a tough time in life. A popular April meme illustrated this point with two photos, paired side by side, that showed a person (or fictional pop culture character) at their worst self versus their best self. Naturally, this memes worked perfectly with Pokémon evolutions and actors at different times in their career.
21. Squinting Woman
Kalin Elisa was posing for an Instagram photo while squatting on the ground. Then her friend took an outtake photo that showed Elisa squinting and looking out of breath. That photo turned her into a popular meme on Twitter. Elisa embraced her meme status, telling the Daily Dot that “to see my picture used to illustrate so many hilarious situations has been the absolute greatest.”
22. Twitter Stars
Occasionally, a genuinely earnest meme rises to the top. In April, Twitter users began copy and pasting a series of contrasting Unicode stars that bleed into other images. The effect was, in a word, magical. Even Kenny G and Dolly Parton participated in the meme.
A line from the Adult Swim comedy show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! became a popular meme after someone posted it on Reddit. The line, “It’s free real estate,” comes from a 2009 sketch featuring Tim.
After Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, people began circulating Photoshopped images of the Facebook founder. The images depicted Zuckerberg looking especially “thicc”—curvy in internet speak. And so an absurd meme was born.
Comedian Eric Andre’s 2013 sketch led to a perfect meme format for pointing out a person’s hypocrisy. People used it to illustrate points about climate change, millennials, Donald Trump, and even Game of Thrones.
A creepy video game creature became a weird meme when people started Photoshopping him into different scenarios. Someone even made Apyr, from Fallout 4, a Tinder profile.
27. Perfect Man
If you had $100 to build the “perfect man,” what traits would you spend it on? That’s the game that Twitter users played in April. The result was a hilarious new meme.
The best memes of 2018: May
28. Anime Butterfly
The butterfly meme, which uses a screengrab from the anime The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird, quickly became one of the top memes of 2018 after people started sharing it on Twitter. The screengrab features a character, who is an android, motioning at a butterfly and asking, “Is this a pigeon?” Reader, it’s not a pigeon. But it’s definitely an easy setup for a meme about people incorrectly identifying something.
Spoiler alert! At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the supervillain Thanos collects all the Infinity Stones and completes his mission of wiping out half of the population in the world. In the film, we see these characters slowly turn into dust. The effect was emulated by people with Photoshop at the ready—and it became one of the top Marvel film memes of the year.
What do you get when you combine Shrek‘s Lord Farquaad, YouTuber Markiplier, and Mark Zuckerberg? A seriously weird mashup meme. The image first appeared in 2015, but a new version of it started circulating in 2018 and appeared as a “deep-fried” meme. As for the “E,” it’s an absurd joke, one that doesn’t have an explanation. Naturally, the internet loved it.
Every year, at least one pose or dance move turns into a meme. Is the T-pose the pose of 2018? The stance is known for its appearance in video games and 3-D animation programs, but it turned into a thing kids started doing in real life.
32. BBQ Becky
In May, a white woman called the cops on a group of Black people who were barbecuing in a public park in Oakland, California. The woman became known as “BBQ Becky,” and the image of her on her cell phone was Photoshopped into pictures that feature Black people—like the Obamas and the cast from Black Panther.
33. Yanny or Laurel?
A few years ago, it was “the dress” that divided the internet—a photo of a garment that some people thought was black and blue, while others thought it was white and gold. Yanny vs. Laurel is an audio version of the dress; some heard Yanny, some heard Laurel, and some people claimed to hear both words. The real word? Laurel.
34. Captain America
The detention video that Peter Parker watches in Spider-Man: Homecoming features another Marvel superhero—Captain America. A screengrab of Cap looking at the camera in the video became a meme to tell someone, “So, you screwed up.”
The best memes of 2018: June
35. Young Thug
A studio photo of Young Thug and Lil Durk, both looking seriously at a computer screen, became a viral meme on Twitter when people started adding their own captions to the image. Soon, people began Photoshopping Young Thug into images of the Situation Room and the bridge on Starfleet ships.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.