• Ryan ANTIART

LIST: The 20 Best Memes of 2021

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

From Hasbulla to White Boy Summer to an ill-advised Met Gala outfit, these are the internet jokes that gave us lifeforce over the past 365 days.


20. Let's Go Brandon


Photo: WREG

In a country where people are either "Vote Blue No Matter Who" or "Own The Libs", it's hard to get caught up in the middle. There are rare moments where Leftists who don't listen to Pod Save America get to goof on both sides, and "Let's Go Brandon" is that moment. For those who live under a rock, after Brandon Brown won big at NASCAR's Talladega event, the mostly conservative crowd drunkenly started chanting "F*** Joe Biden", and the media naively thought they were cheering Brown on, saying "let's go". This idiotic situation has morphed and now conservative politicians are rocking the phrase on their clothes, and some liberals are limply trying to counter with "Thanks Brandon". As a Leftist who thinks both of these groups are cringe as Hell, I am personally enjoying the War of Brandon. Plus, Biden is making it a point to not cancel my loans so, let's go I guess.


19. GameStop To The Moon


Photo: Sean Hollister/The Verge

The first couple of items border more on "big headline news" than memes, but I digress. After a bunch of finance Redditors pumped GameStop stock, it causes widespread pandemonium for many shorters, like Melvin Capital. The situation in and of itself was one giant joke, with average people suddenly thinking they were financial sleuths. This also came with exploration into cryptocurrency "shitcoins" like Dogecoin being heavily focused on. The memes that broke off of this story were definitely some of the more fun ones in the beginning of the year.


18. Steve From Blue's Clues Is Proud of Us (Finally)


Photo: Reddit

After all these long, tough years, it can sometimes be difficult to keep going. Life knocks you when you're up, and kicks you when you're down. Sometimes it can cause a deep regression towards a simple time, a time of clues, Blue's Clues more specifically. When Steve popped up 20 years later like an estranged brother to tell us that he was proud of all that we accomplished without even knowing us, that was real love. That was beautiful. That is what we needed as a society. Thank you Steve, I can wake up for at least one more day.



17. Grimes Reads The Communist Manifesto


WHOA! EPIC!




















16. R.I.P. Prince Philip He Would've Loved __________


Photo: NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Instagram is a cold and unforgiving place, continually testing the boundaries of what is and isn't "in poor taste". Before the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the joke was "if they play 100 gecs for him, he's a goner". Once he passed, it took virtually no time at all to half face him with XXXTentacion and continue to make "R.I.P. Prince Philip, he would've loved Arca" memes. Is this a good habit that the internet needs to continue? Probably not. Was it very, very funny as it was happening? Yes.


15. WorldOfGarbage's Niche Internet Microcelebrity Chart of Truth


Photo: @worldofgarbage (Instagram)

Do yourself a favor, show this to a friend and see how far down the iceberg they get. Once you start getting to the entry that mentions us, if they're still onboard, your friend probably has about 23 hours of screen time, and needs to seek help immediately. I mostly included this in order to accurately sum up our year in the trenches with some of the funniest and most hilarious users on Instagram. Whether it was the Courtney Love co-signed text posts that spawned an entire New York Times article, or EMIN, or the @joan.of.arca "212" Parody, this chart pretty diligently catalogs most of the greatest "IYKYK" jokes in one spot.


14. Squid Game


Everyone and their grandmother knows what Squid Game is and what makes it funny, here are some of the best memes to springboard off the popular K-Drama.


13. GaryVee


Gary Vaynerchuk is a entrepreneur, public speaker and NFT enthusiast who wants you to wake up every single day and imagine that one of your family members got shot in the face. These are Gary's words, not ours. This is just one of the many memeable pieces of advice he's given to his "Hustle Grindset" audience, along with going to garage sales and flipping children's toys. To understand the mind of Gary is a difficult task, he is so hyperlogical that it becomes illogical. It's deeply confusing and troubling to be honest.


12. Himbo/Bimbo/Thembo/-bo


This definitely wins the prize for being the most inclusive meme. Whatever gender you identify as, you can just slap "-bo" to the end and all the sudden, you are a sex symbol. If you don't see yourself as a traditionally "sexy" person, you can use it to make fun of them. It's essentially the only meme that allows me, a man who never goes to the gym, to make fun of a 6'4" beefed up dude like Hasan Piker for his physical appearance, and for that, I want to praise God-bo.


11. Mad Bernie


Photo: Caroline Brehman/Pool/AP

After essentially being cheated by the DNC in 2016, then coming back in 2020 and winning at the Iowa Caucus, beating out all the other Democratic nominees, being shunned by the liberal media, being intervened on by Barack Obama and then still losing the nomination after owning Joe Biden in a formal debate, Bernie Sanders was burnt out, and rightfully so. At the Biden inauguration, it was very apparent that all of this was weighing heavily on Bernie's mind. Pissed, mask on, reluctantly sitting crossed-legged and folding his arms in a Burton jacket. (we finally have a website so I can make grand proclamations about bullshit) BERNIE SANDERS IS ALL OF US!!!


10. Femme Drake/"Just for me"


Song: PinkPantheress, "Just for me"


9. Tax The Rich/Make The Rich Pay

Also now that we have a website and our Instagram page is mostly wiped, I'd like to once and for all say that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not funded by Amazon, we made a mistake regarding that in the past. Even without that out of the way, this dress and all the jokes it spawned still baffles me to this day. What exactly did AOC think would happen as a result of this? It was such an ill-conceived plan with terrible execution fashion-wise. The best thing about this whole situation is that Hasan Piker got roasted by proxy after the internet drudged up one of his classic fits. If you're wondering if we love or hate Hasan, we stan Hasan at AntiArt. He is one of the best sources of information for young people to understand all our world issues, and AOC is also a pretty great politician generally, but my God, these fits TRASH.


8. The Bus Guys

In this strange life, we all have two choices. You can be a guy in a purple shirt sadly looking at a rock wall, or you can be a guy in an orange shirt looking at the sun. It's all a matter of perspective and nothing more, because we're all headed for the same destination. But what if only purple guy exists? What if it's not a bus, but the covers for Arca's KICK cycle? What if there are no guys at all and it's just seats. The possibilities are endless, although I don't know how any of that relates back to real life. Nothing makes complete sense these days, and we're all just desperately signalling to people that we care about niche media, why not joke about it?


7. E-Boys

The E-boy phenomenon is not really as unexplainable as some may think. There are a bunch of (mostly white) boys out there on TikTok that have swooshy hair, wear Playboi Carti-inspired chains, have dangly earrings and dress halfway between Hot Topic and Forever 21. They are in their late teens and early 20s, and young girls who are the same age or younger crush on them. It was a trend that fueled the TikTok algorithm and produced a bunch of copycats that all dressed "differently" in the same exact way. Each generation has this exact person, for my college years, they were called "soft boys", and they listened to Tame Impala, smoked American Spirits and wore Dr. Martens. Now, they've evolved slightly, and roll their eyes when you touch the side of their head. Get used to the E-boys, they're not going anywhere.


6. Yassification

If you want to understand how trends develop and what is funny online, look no further than pages like @botoxqueen.1968, @dopesoulnation, and obviously, @on_a_downward_spiral. These pages have been saying the term "Yassification" since 2020. "Kim Petras is the yassification of Fiona Apple" is one example I remember seeing, and to tell you the truth, it makes absolutely no sense, but that's the point. The pages that create these trends are making fun of or trying to put the nail in the coffin of their own in-jokes, constantly. Every once in a while, like with the NYT Shitpost article, a variant will escape the laboratory and spawn a whole new monster, and thus, the yassifier FaceTune meme was born. Honestly, I find the new version of this long dead and reborn meme to be extremely funny, even though it's normified. There are endless people you can do this to, has anyone tried Brian Peppers yet?


5. Beat The _________ Allegations


I gain an odd satisfaction from watching the reactions of defendants after a court case is deliberated by the jury. Whether they are found guilty or not guilty, there is an outward expression that each one makes that really shows who they are as a person. Now, apply that dramatic psychoanalysis to accusations of "Calling your girlfriend Mommy" or "Listening to Drain Gang", instant comedy gold. The longevity of this particular meme has been really high because it captures that sigh of relief so perfectly. Oh thank God I beat the "having a sex doll" allegation, praise Jesus I beat the "meat" allegation!


4. Kanye Antics


Photo: GrosbyGroup

Like Gary Vee, attempting even for a single moment try to understand what possesses Kanye West to do the things he does will give the average person brain damage. Why did he premiere his album three times, light himself on fire and then do a mock wedding with his model ex-wife? Why did he go on an internet show, get drunk and insult his former signee? What possessed him to featured Globglogabgalab twice on his deluxe DONDA record? And why the fuck was he walking around in spooky masks for a month, only stopping briefly to have an espresso or two with Michael Cohen? We have not a single answer to any of these questions, but this man has single handedly become a living, breathing meme. He has pushed past rapper, fashion designer, billionaire and legacy artist status into just being a sentient Twitter trending topic. Never in my life as a dedicated Kanye stan would I ever have imagined him taking this ridiculous, goofy minded path, but I'm glad he did, because it's been a fun ride. Plus, his album fucking rules, so at least he has the art to back up his performance.



3. NFTs


Photo: MOTHERBOARD

I am not going to explain to you what an NFT is, this is not CNN. What I will say is that similarly to "Let's Go Brandon" and "Gamestop To The Moon", this is a hilarious trend to watch as an uninvolved third party. Seeing investors defrauded out of money, late night hosts shill cartoon monkeys or The Hoff Twins getting in on the fun is pure entertainment. It's all speculation, and these things could either be worth $0 or $1 billion dollars in ten years time, we have no idea, and that's why people pour money into it. But I suggest that we all treat these things like Schrodinger's Cat, if we don't go on OpenSea, they might as well not exist. Shoutout to 3D artists like Beeple for actually making some really radical digital art, but these smoking monkeys need to go somewhere else.


2. Hasbulla


Hasbulla Magomedov (not his real name) is a unifying force in this divisive world we live in. Rather than be a political pawn or some sort of marketing tool, Hasbulla exists as an internet icon for one singular purpose and that is to be a little stinker. Whether he is punching full-sized men in the face, getting carried into the atmosphere by giant balloons, doing wheelies on an ATV, getting charged at by a cheetah at the zoo, or just petting a cat, Hasbulla is pure content. Everything he does is filmed and each video provides a new window into his life. Hasbulla rules, and there's nothing deeper to it than that.




1. Chet Hanx


Choosing between Chet Hanx and Hasbulla for the number one spot was one of the hardest editorial decisions I've ever had to make as a journalist. They're both walking, talking memes who film their entire lives for some reason and they both possess a natural talent for grabbing people's attention. For me, the tiebreaker comes from Chet Hanx just being in the meme game for longer. He first burst onto the scene at the Golden Globes, doing a Jamaican patois for seemingly no reason at all, saying phrases like "Big up da yoot dem" and "Up like seven".



While this was quite entertaining in 2020, it wasn't until this year that Chet really hit his stride with his "White Boy Summer" movement. Now, I'm not here to write yet another samey thinkpiece about how WBS is "dangerous" or "misguided". It was a dumb internet joke by the son of Tom Hanks that became widely proliferated, so much so that he decided to make a song to compliment it, and honestly, it kind of slaps.



Ok, I still don't approve of him flying a Jamaican flag or doing the accent, but I have to respect a man just unabashedly doing dumb shit and having fun with it. He has decided that this Cali bounce style is his thing, and in an unlikely turn of events has been embraced by well respected rappers like Soulja Boy, who signed him to his label. Chet Hanx is problematic for sure, and his opinions on COVID are unfortunately very stupid. But even so, Chet helped us all have a sillier year, and for that. I have to give him his crown.