- Good Guy Lucifer
Have some sympathy for the devil. He’s just misunderstood. Sure he’s the prince of darkness, but I mean, think of all the positive things he’d like to do for you. This well-dressed good-looking Lucifer (originally featured in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series!) is ready to explain his side of the story. Not particularly popular, but a humor goldmine.
- The Most Interesting Man in the World
This meme really grew from the commercials, which themselves functioned like memes with their highly patterened structure and consistent final line. The digital meme just carried the punchline forward. The most interesting man in the world is a legend, and these memes carry on his humorous exploits beyond the commercials.
- I Too Like to Live Dangerously
The only meme on this list that has source-material with which I’m unfamiliar, like most good memes, the image itself is enough. There are several different memes that have this same idea, but the “I too like to live dangerously” punchline seems to be most appropriate.
- Hipster Ariel
Disney Princess Hipsters were a very brief cultural moment, but they remain remarkably hilarious. The slight change to an angsty Ariel made for a perfect meme, and the many spin-offs furthered the joke. Memes are about being a part of a collective inside internet joke, and so the experience of the meme is an important part of why memes like this were so hilarious.
- I Took an Arrow in the KneeThere aren’t many examples of this meme as an advice animal, but it’s certainly a fantastic meme and the quote’s use in popular culture is itself rather fantastic. While these jokes were most popular at Skyrim‘s release, it’s occasional appearance keeps it relevant.
- Honorable Mention: Well that Escalated Quickly
While this is not an advice animal, it’s still a wildly popular and prolific meme that is usually attached to rather hilarious images.
- Bottom: The very many memes that perpetuate hatred
The best individual memes are often based on upsetting our expectations. However, by doing so, they usually end up reinforcing what those expectations are. Sadly, many memes use expectations that reinforce racial, gender, and other stereotypes and ultimately further objectify minority identities. The harm these do is greater than the humor they provoke.