Well, we’ve reached the end of 2020 … oh, it’s 2021 now, that’s right. Guess it snuck up on us. As 2022 draws ever closer, it’s time for another “Meme of the Year” announcement!
The annual community choice poll to select the “Top 10 Memes of 2021” has come to an end, so no matter if you’re still trying to process 2020, 2021 or how 2022 is right around the corner, the internet has once again managed to spawn a slew of new meme formats this year to pass the time.
At the beginning of December, we asked you, our dearest users, to help us narrow down the best memes of the year from all your favorites. So without rambling further, we present the “Top 10 Memes of 2021,” as chosen by you. Don’t forget to check out our other 2021 meme and internet roundups under the Meme Review section for more of 2021’s best internet happenings, as well as the KYM staff’s favorite memes of the year.
Whether you’re an average meme fan or an average internet enjoyer, it’s likely unsurprising to see Average Fan vs. Average Enjoyer making the list to kick things off in 2021. While this format based on photographs of two people who fall within the archetypes of “Soyboys” and “Chads” dates back to late 2019, it wasn’t until this April that it really reached its peak. Early on this year, Average Fan vs. Average Enjoyer gained massive virality on TikTok due to its association with the song “Can You Feel My Heart” by Bring Me the Horizon, kicking off one of 2021’s first major meme trends.
9. John Xina
Coming in at number nine, John Cena’s fall from grace in the eyes of many this year culminated in the meme “John Xina.” This image of the WWE Wrestler was photoshopped to look like Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, and despite the phrase first being coined on Twitter as early as 2016, it wasn't until this summer that memes associated with the nickname took over because of the infamous viral video of Cena defending China's military pressure for reunification with Taiwan. After all, who could forget Bing Chilling?
Another Chinese-oriented meme to dominate this summer was Super Idol, a cropped lyric from the song “You Who Love 105°C” by ASi. Similar to previous big memes of yesteryear like Xue Hua Piao Piao, Douyin user Zmcmtianyiming sang the song on his video and propelled it into memedom where it was paired with various China-themed memes, such as Chin Cheng Hanji.
Featuring none other than the “prime minister of pound down, master of the West African monkey spank technique, five-time wild cheetah submission holds champ and founder and president of the Smoke Yours Crew,” aka Slink Johnson, Lamar Roasts Franklin was one of the biggest gaming memes of 2021 that hit the ground running in late 2020 into this year. The iconic GTA V scene saw numerous videos in which Lamar's character model was replaced with various characters, even getting a real-life version and a newly remade tribute just the other day for GTA Online.
Would it really be a complete top 10 without some form of Prequel meme making the list? We suppose that depends on your opinion of them, but nonetheless, For the Better, Right? takes the high ground at number six. This meme based on screenshots from Episode II – Attack of the Clones never really took place in the film (at least the dialogue), but between April and May this year, the four-panel format was seemingly everywhere thanks to its adaptability and ease of creation.
The youngest meme of the year to make this list, Pondering My Orb rapidly bloomed into one of 2021’s most noteworthy exploitables in just a few short weeks. A minor Twitter trend back in October, the mythical Ponder Orb exploded into the mainstream by November as memers found countless ways to remix and photoshop it into old memes, new memes and whatever else they could “orbify.”
4. Ankha Zone
The horniest meme to make our top 10 this year, Ankha Zone was easily the most viral on the list after garnering more views than any other entry of 2021 — probably due to all the poor souls googling “WTF is this Ankha Zone thing?” An NSFW animation created by ZONE-sama featuring the character Ankha from Animal Crossing, this one is now nestled in the bosom of Rule 34 legends for all time thanks to another particularly lewd year in internet trends.
3. Think, Mark
Amazon’s cartoon adaptation of the comic series, Invincible was undeniably a powerhouse of memes in 2021. Though formats like Look What They Need to Mimic a Fraction of Our Power and That's the Neat Part, You Don't were also notable memes this year, Think, Mark was easily the biggest after the show’s climatic finale became 2021’s most viral redraw series. With nearly 500 examples in our entry’s gallery alone, thousands of pop-culture icons found themselves remixed into this exploitable, propelling it to the top three memes on our list.
Another widespread gaming meme to dominate the internet this year, Damnit KRIS Where Are We!? Became a massively viral exploitable series that saw memers photoshopping Deltarune characters Kris and Susie in scenes from other video games, movies, memes and more as fall 2021’s first big trend. Just shy of 400 variants dropping Kris and Susie into all types of settings from our entry gallery, not to mention nearly a quarter of the total votes, it’s a no-brainer why this one nearly took the top spot on our list.
Dread it, run from it, Amogus arrives all the same. Scrapping up a whopping 25 percent of the votes in this year’s top 10 memes list, this bastardized version of the immortal video game Among Us refused to die despite tracing back to December 2020. All year long, chats from Discord to Twitch were filled with people spamming “amogus,” seeing crewmates in everyday objects and becoming an iconic webcomic and redraw series as it maintained its relevancy over the entirety of 2021. Will Among Us continue to haunt our memes for the third year in a row? Your guess is as good as ours — but maybe if we ponder the orb all will be revealed.
Looking for more of this year's best viral phenomena and memes? Be sure to check out our other 2021 meme roundups below:
- The Top 10 Memes Of 2021
- KYM Staff Picks Of 2021
- The Top Gaming Memes Of 2021
- The Slang Of 2021
- The Most 2021 Stories Of 2021
- Top 10 Streamer Moments Of 2021
- Breakthrough Meme Formats Of The Year
- 10 Best TikToks Of 2021
- Top 10 Lewd Memes Of The Year
- Trolls, Rumors And Hoaxes Of The Year
- Top Exploitables Of 2021
- Top Meme Creators Of 2021
- Top Meme Revivals Of 2021
Best Gimmick Twitter Accounts Of 2021