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Top 10 Internet Memes and Phenomena

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Since the evolution of the internet, certain fads have taken off and become so well known that they are now regarded as Internet Memes. In fact, some people will even tell you that you are a true citizen of the Internet if you don’t know their most favourite meme. This is a list of what I consider to be the top 10.

Before starting, this is a brief definition of an Internet meme: An Internet meme is a piece of digital content that spreads rapidly, widely, and organically from person to person on the Internet. The term is a reference to the memes as virus-like self-replicating packet of information.

1. Lolcats [Wikipedia]


A lolcat (the term is a portmanteau of lol – laughing out loud, and cat) is an image of a cat with an amusing or odd caption. The captions tend to be fairly childlike and usually use text-message like or bad spelling. For example: “Call the offis. I iz gonna be latez”. The caption usually ties in to the image in some way, as you can see from the example above.

This meme is so popular that it has spawned a whole network of websites – the most popular of which is “I can has cheezeburger?” Lolcats now appear frequently in social networking sites and forums.

Visit I can has cheezeburger?

2. All Your Base [Wikipedia]


All your base is a phenomenon that started in 2001, with the spread of a flash animation taken from the first moments of a Japanese video game from 1989 called Zero Wing by Toaplan. The popularity of this video comes mostly from the “Engrish” (ie, Japaneseifcation of English) captions contained in the clip. For example: “All your base are belong to us” as opposed to “All your bases belong to us”.

While its popularity has waned a little recently, it is still well known enough that new videos appear on youtube from time to time which play on the meme.

Watch All your Base

3. Goatse [Wikipedia]


First, the image above is not goatse – it is too horrible to include on this page (though there is a link below for your viewing pleasure… erm..) This rather horrible image became very famous when it spread like wildfire through internet forums as trolls would paste a link to it while pretending the link lead to something of interest to the users of the forum. It became such a problem that Slashdot had to modify their code to show where links in article comments were pointing to, to stop people being caught out.

It has enjoyed a recent infamy as it has managed to be shown on CNN (by mistake) and the BBC (albeit in a cartoon form) forums and news program. It was originally found on a site called (which was a play on the word goatsex). It contains an image of a man showing his rear-end in a rather revolting manner.

[WARNING] Click here if you want to see goatse

4. Kikia [Wikipedia]


Kikia was the first example of a flash shock site and it unleashed a torrent of shockers that continues to this day. Starting out with a cartoon drawing of a little boy, Chinese writing, and gentle music, the cartoon moves along slowly until you are suddenly shown a hideous animation of a face with a loud scream.

The original kikia was posted on a Taiwanese website Kimo, under the username Netspooky. Many popular images to appear in these screamers are taken from the film The Exorcist.

Watch Kikia

5. Dancing Baby [Wikipedia]


The dancing baby (also known as baby cha-cha) was one of the first Internet memes, originating in 1996. It contains a 3d animation baby and was originally created as a demo for 3d Studio Max. The baby dances to music and appeared frequently on the television programme Ally McBeal – symbolising the main characters ticking biological clock.

View the original dancing baby

Give your friends a gift they’ll never forget with this devastatingly suave Custom Nicolas Cage Pillowcase at!

6. ORLY Owl [Wikipedia]

Orly Owl

ORLY stands for Oh Really and usually features a snowy owl with the caption “O RLY?” – this is often followed by a YA RLY response. It can frequently lead to a whole conversation using Internet slang. It was first seen as early as August 2003 on the Something Awful forums. The original image was taken by John White and posted to in 2001.

It became so popular that it even appears in a gameboy advance game. The caption itself is now often found on any photograph, not just photographs of owls.

view a gallery of O RLYs

7. The Hamster Dance [Wikipedia]

Hampster Dance

The Hamster Dance is one of the earliest Internet memes, first appearing on Geocities (in its heyday) featuring rows of animated hamsters and rabbits dancing in various ways to a sped-up sample from the song “Whistle Stop” by Roger Miller.

It was designed in 1998 by Canadian art student Deidre LaCarte as part of a competition with her brother to see who could generate the most traffic. It is an homage to her pet hamster Hampton Hamster. Frankly, I think it is rather sinister.

View the hamster dance

8. Loituma Girl [Wikipedia]


Loituma is one of the most recent Memes to appear on the Internet – first appearing in 2006. The name itself comes from the original band that sang the song popular in the flash clip. The band Loituma is a Finnish quartet utilising traditional singing and instrumental styles from Finnland. In 1997 they were select Ensemble of the Year at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival.

The first instance of this phenomenon online was a cartoon based shockwave flash animation featuring which consists of a 4-frame animation of the Bleach anime character Orihime Inoue twirling a leek to a 27-second loop from the song. The animation loops continuously. Since then many other examples have come up where the image is replaced with something else – but the song is always the same.

See the original Loituma animation

9. Snowclones [Wikipedia]

In Soviet Folded Marge Red Folded

A snowclone is a type of formula-based cliché which uses an old idiom in a new context. It was originally defined as “a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different jokey variants by lazy journalists and writers.

Probably the most well known (and overused) snowclone is “In Soviet Russia Y Xs you” – this was originally coined by comedian Yakov Smirnoff, a standup comedian in Russia when he said: “In Soviet Russia party finds you”.

Visit the snowclones database

10. The startwars kid [Wikipedia]


The starwards kid is an Internet phenomenon which started when a video clip recorded by Ghyslain Raza, a fourteen-year-old French Canadian male high school student, was leaked online. The video was filmed at the studio of his high school, and the tape was left forgotten in a basement. The original owner of the videotape discovered his recorded acts and immediately shared it with some friends. Thinking that it would be a funny prank, they encoded it to a WMV file and shared it using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network.

Within two weeks it had been downloaded several million times. Since then it has been downloaded over 900 million times, making it the most popular viral videos. In July 2003, his parents filed a $250,000 lawsuit against four of his fellow students who settled out of court.

Watch the original video

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Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • qavak

    What – no badger, mushroom, snake?

  • jfrater

    Feel free to add links to others that you think I missed :)

    • brandon


    • jacob

      SO I HERD U LIEK MUDKIPZ?!?! cmon man how did u forget it

      • Inglip

        Uh, because this was made in 2007?

      • Matt

        and /b/tards aren’t allowed here.

        Also, numa numa?

  • morandomdanu

    A few more I thought should be mentioned.

    The Llama Llama Song

    Peanut Butter Jelly Time

    And everyone’s favorite
    Numa Numa Song

  • Haha badger, mushroom, snake is new to me – very funny.

    morandomdanu: I loved the second one – I hadn’t seen any of those.

  • [ImplosiveFire]

    Great list! Here’s a couple more:

    Chuck Norris Jokes:

    The Official Ninja Webpage: REAL Ultimate Power!!!! :


  • Kelsi

    I hadn’t heard of several of those. I’m a bit sad that tubgirl wasn’t mentioned with Goatse, but then again the less people that know about that the better. What about the End of Ze World flash video?

    I definately second the Chuck Norris jokes, Badger Badger Badger, Numa Numa, Llama Song, and Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

    Oh, also Bananaphone and Salad Fingers. Salad Fingers can be found on, and Bananaphone I originally saw on Newgrounds.

  • Thanks for those additions Kelsi and ImplosiveFire:)

  • Tshylea

    What about Rick Rolling? How is Rick Rolling not in this list?

  • Tshylea – Wow – I think you just rick rolled me without having to conceal it! I had to look that up on wikipedia to get the joke :(

  • MrElRayes

    Just for the record – on cnn was a haox.

    Goatse fraud on Digg

    thats a link to original video. But it was well played :)

    Also I second Chuck Norris and end of Ze World

  • Gr8flDdFn

    what about banana phone? lol badger phone… ring ring ring ring ring ring ring banana phone do doobie doobie dooo!


  • Gr8flDdFn: my sister had the bananaphone as her ring tone for a while – boy that does that annoying fast!

  • Molly

    what about peanut butter jelly time??

  • Molly: I haven’t heard that one – do you have a link for it?

  • Mish

    Chocolate Rain and all its parodies!!

  • jfrater: look at comment #3 for a PB&J time link.

  • I still think of “The Spirit of Christmas” or Jesus vs. Santa as the first viral video / internet phenomena. This was the original video made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that led to South Park. I know I got it at the end of ’96 while in college and it was spreading like wildfire.

    More info at:

  • Fright: I remember that one – thanks for mentioning it :)

  • Maverick22

    The PB&J is indeed one of the most popular internet fads ever.

    Family Guy even had to do it on one of the episodes.

  • Maverick22: The other day I saw an episode of the family guy where they included the “in soviet Russia, x ys you” – it was very funny.

  • Bananas

    type in Da moose or the moose song! t is hilarious

  • Dandelion

    It’s Finland not Finnland.

  • Tyree

    When I was small I had a cassette tape of Banana Phone and other songs by the same guy. One was about vegetables, if I remember correctly, and another about Canada.

  • My current favorite is the crazy Indian video with subtitles by Buffalax.

  • slayer

    Montgomery Flea Market. Hey hey.

  • miss_ali1984

    Do you remember when you were tricked into seeing “goatse”? I do. In my nightmares.

  • Menynten *shiver* That and

  • 1 word. Tubgirl.

    Think Goatse times 1,000,000


  • Stormy617

    OMG all i did was look up tubgirl on yahoo and the description was enough to totally gross me out! :(

    The other ones are very cute though!!

  • Karp

    …what about 2 girls 1 cup? (which, by the way, i have been unable to watch after the first 6 seconds…)

  • Jeremy

    I must be getting old in my old age, I can barely pronounce any of these memes. Oh my god! My memesories are fading! Lit…Lit..Lit-you-ma girl? Is that right?

  • xoxo

    along the lines of tubgirl and 2 girls 1 cup….w/o excretion try pain olympics.

    seriously messed up.

  • I’m surprised tubgirl wasn’t on the list.

  • Oops! Forgot the meme I was going to post:

    Dramatic Chipmunk!! (I know it's not an actual chipmunk)

    The best 5-second video on the internet!

    • qwerty

      its taking my soul O_O

  • lotta

    not to make a big deal, but Finland, is with one N. Otherwise, really enjoy this site, i love all the hard work put into it

  • SocialButterfly

    Tyree: The singer’s name was Raffi. He is huge here in Canada. Every child born in the 70’s and 80’s knows his songs.

  • I am proud to say that I got into the habit of looking up descriptions of videos/pics way back in the day and that saved me from ever having to see Goatse, Tubgirl, Harlequin baby (a.k.a. The LUE Trinity), and more recently, 2 Girls 1 Cup. Yay for avoiding nightmares! My soul remains pure ^_^

    Oh, and I still have Bananaphone as a ringtone >_> Yes, I’m a dork u_u

  • Polly Odyssey

    Oh man, I love lolcats and All Your Base.

    Would Homestar Runner count as a meme?

  • albert0

    What about the “Angry German Kid” on Youtube? That one is great!

  • jocsboss

    This one went around a lot a few years ago.

  • Mike

    After hearing about Goatse, a way long time ago, my curiosity has just been peaked… But I’m scared to death to go on it..

  • Bananas

    Ya Mike…. What is goatse? Im too scared to look.

  • toolnut

    Do not look at the goatse, it is just wrong, right up there with 2 girls 1 cup

  • DK

    goatse is a horrible bad thing! as are tubgirl & lemonparty. I like to think they are out of "fashion" (for lack of a better word) these days, but I have been victim to the hidden goatse link a few times!
    One that I love is "It's a Trap" it's one of those ytmnd tiled-photo kinda things, with Admiral Akbar from Star Wars & it repeats the line "It's a trap" over & over again. My bf has more than once secretly set it as our friend's internet home-page so when he opens his browser it pops up yelling at him! The "It's a Trap" line has been added into lolcat pictures and even morphed into phrases like "It's a tarp"

  • mick
  • Moon

    What about all of the doctored pictures of “Tourist Guy” after the Twin Towers fell?

  • Damian

    Glad to see the meme get some ‘cred’.

  • MRbojangles

    How about the Numa Numa guy

  • Kit

    Dramatic chipmunk!
    Chuck Norris!
    and so many more:

  • Rich

    Will it blend

  • Eponine

    You forgot CARAMELLDANSEN!!

    It’s a classic!

  • Sugarpie

    Yeahhhhhh eponine caramelldansen is soo funny!!!!!! The loituma song was made into a cartoon like videoclip that airs on tv here I love it

  • Taija

    All your cake are belong to us!

    Anyway, a good list. There are plenty of things that should have made it in the list, like the Dramatic Chipmunk and Numa Numa, but then again, you can never include everything.

  • 116880

    Gott auf Himmel, man, how can you include something so nasty, so gruesome, so revolting as Goatse? UGH!! My mind is forever disturbed!

  • felinefevah

    No metion of the Kitty Cat Dance?

    Cat. I’m a kitty cat.
    and i dance dance dance
    and i dance dance dance

    I say sexy things to myself when i’m daaaancing

    provacative posing! provacative posing!

  • rushfan

    I have so very much to learn from the internet.

  • Csimmons

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WHY POST THE LINK TO GOATSE?!?!?!?!?!?! why add the most horrible shock site of the power 5, (encyclopedia dramatica) should have had the rick roll

  • Anonymous

    Rick roll… Prev. comment was deleted but was written in rick roll tradition. hehe

  • KC

    How about Charlie Bit me and Buhlud? — Charlie — buhlud

    And how about all of the 300 parodies and pictures!

  • If there’s going to be another Internet Memes list I think it should have the “The cake is a lie” meme that originated in the Portal game :-D

  • Kit

    But there is…

    The cake is a lie

  • TayTay

    Not sure if this is along the lines of a meme, but does anyone remember Don Hertzfelt and “Rejected”?!

  • richboy

    Hmmm, not so complete. Have you seen this blog:
    The internet is an In-joke

  • ElenaSFA

    I showed my boyfriend that butthole thing, and he was like “What the fuck, Olivia!”

    and I was like

    “You’re tearing our relationship apart with your close mindedness!”

    Bad mistake.

  • Vera Lynn

    Huh? I don’t get any of this. The lingo is beyond me. Thought I would learn something here. Now Im REALLY confused. What?

  • Kriss

    Hey Vera… Go check out blogs like:

    The internet is an in-joke

    or check out this Wikipedia article:

    Wikipedia: internet phenomenons

  • Gentleman

    Interestingly enough alot of these became famous first in the chans or other Anonymmous forums then spread throught the internet

  • Ghidoran

    Typo:”In fact, some people will even tell you that you are a true citizen of the Internet if you don’t know their most favourite meme

  • Socks

    Angry German kid? :(

  • Panic!

    I think the real question is ,can I, in fact, has a cheeseburger?

  • Fart

    Will someone who has enough time on there hands to either tell me or show me a link to every meme out there. Like a list.

  • Whale

    Hey Fart,
    I think it’s been mentioned in these comments before, but if you check out the internet is an injoke

    it’s got all the first memes, plus a bunch of others…

  • macra

    I like Turtles!

  • Anon

    Do you guys have Battletoads in stock?

  • Tsu-hi

    im surprised you didnt mention lemonparty XD im not gunna put the link but lets say it’s similar to #3 albeit 10X times more disturbing

  • XD

    Top 5 forgotten ones:
    5: THX lemur
    4: Llama song
    3: Badger song
    2: LOL WUT (AKA biting pear of Salamanca)
    1: Dramatc prairie dog

  • Paro

    Dancing Baby always reminds me of SMTV, sat mornings with Ant & Dec. It was a whole segment on the show, just the dancing baby with its own theme song too.

    I suppose the original Crazy Frog was quite infamous, first meme I ever saw.

  • DeerGoneFishing

    I’ve been trying to find the one with the chubby girl who is dancing, with the guy standing behind her with this look of horror/disgust. It was basically the funniest thing ever, and I’m having a hard time locating various photoshops of it. I’ve found the original:

  • Zippy
  • shmexiholz

    about the dancing baby, i think its the same baby in sum weird french advert i found on youtube, look up “bebé rico” or sumthing like that, theres a few (or one) videos that include the dancing baby and three dancing products called bebe rico behind it and another one is a french interview with sum guy and then it dances with disco lights, i know its really weird but its so similar to the dancing baby! in fact I’ll leave the links:

    The dancing baby advert:

    and the weird interview:

    i just watched it and the dance moves r the same so im certain!

  • >:(


  • sam i am

    there are OVER 9000 mems that top some of the items on this list

  • Joliver

    hahaha! number 8 spot is ORIHIME inoue!

  • Hoppip

    Make one for Youtube poop memes too.

  • Anonymous

    Rules 1&2, they apply here.

  • Hoppip

    Only during raids.

  • McKidsMan

    WRYYYYYYYYYYYYY, Pedobear, Weegee, Cockmongler, Mudkipz, Shoop Da Whoop, Bel-Air’d (the first Rickroll), Chuck Norris, Ceiling Cat, HA! HA! Guy, Hampster Dance, Baby Dance, Happycat (I Can Has Cheezburger?), How Do I Shot Web?, ????-Profit!, Lol Wut, Lemonparty, Over 9000, Sup Dawg, I Accidentally a Whole Coca-Cola Bottle, Diabeetus Guy, Demotivational Posters, Advice Dog, ShamWow!, MeatSpin, Singing Shark, Awesome Smiley, Longcat, Epic Fail Guy, Angry Homo Kid (recently)……

    The list goes on and on.

  • sallysweet

    Ah, Goatse. Precursor to the Rick Roll. Speaking of, where’s the RIck Roll?

  • Alexis

    the is hilarious. it surely ended my day right.

    do any of you know other site like that?

  • Kodanshi

    No Over 9000? No Tubgirl? RickRolling? I sad todayz :(

  • Izzy

    No caramelldansen? No Homestar Runner or Dr. McNinja? For shame.

    Note: The caramell vid shouldn’t be viewed by those prone to seziures.

  • aeq60

    i think the starwars kid was used in the TV series Arrested Development using the actor Michael Cera as the kid. it was quite a funny episode and usage of the orginal clip

  • Mr. Ilarijs

    This one, too –

  • so, I heard you like mudkips.

  • Maria


    Finland is spelled with one n.
    Thx :)

  • leacar

    Now, I haven’t seen these, and I’m not planning to but 2 girls 1 cup and BME Pain Olympics are supposed to be bad D:

    I personally think Scarlet takes a tumble is funny, although maybe it’s not known enough to be counted :S

  • nicoleredz3

    Nicki iz nw scarrrred… Lol!

  • kits

    … nuff said ;p

  • ad


  • ad

    also atlanta grape…it wound up on family guy, too

  • TopTom285

    Everyone forgot about Barrel Rolls :(

  • drey

    llama llama duck

    I don't know if it counts but there it is

  • elizabeth

    goatse on CNN was not a mistake. CNN decided to hotlink an image from another website. The admin for the other website saw this happen and changed the hotlinked image to goatse on purpose to not so subtly let CNN know that hotlinking is not something you should really do.

  • danny k

    I miss that dancing baby!

  • Baer


    also type in google “find chuck norris” and click the I’m feeling lucky..

    same idea for “2204355” it used to instantly play a sweet video endlessly looped except now too many sites that have to do with it but arent actually it show up so I’m feeling lucky does’t work for that anymore.. all over youtube now though..

    also on youtube “happy in paraguay” should be more popular

  • kefka1337

    Nigga stole mah bike?

  • Juri

    Lolcats and ORLY, incidentally, premiered on 4chan. A lot of memes start there, like Rickroll which should have had a mention, and Pedobear which probably shouldn't. XD But then, you did mention goatse.

  • Adolphsson

    Play this post off, keyboard cat! :)—aiyznGQ

  • wilderulz

    Fuck I hate my curiosity….

  • Josh

    I love how everyone just forgot about 2 girls…1…well I shouldn’t have to finish it.

  • Pingback: Top 10 Internet Memes and Phenomena |

  • Ash

    Check out the 2 typos on no.10 – Starwars Kid…

    Startwars and Starwards

  • Simone

    Trollface etc?
    The Game?
    I could go on and on….

  • stoffelus

    You should watch ‘Kneusje wil duiken’ (Kneusje wants to dive), it’s horrible.
    And of course Tubgirl, Lemonparty and

  • Ben

    Hi there,

    Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this article. It’s obvious that you know dancing. Your site really is awesome.

    Thank you for your efforts!

  • Anchovanie Vajingle


    what about “Amazing Horse”?

  • Juri Han

    Here’s some more; Rickroll, Pedobear, My Little Pony, Moshzilla.

    Well, you mentioned goatse so why not mention Pedobear?

  • trooper009

    where’s trollface???

  • trooper009


  • R

    what’s goatze? i’m too scared to look

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  • Tmz x factor usa

    Interesting questions about life — group eight wherever can they placed price tag 3d stickers upon non-stick kitchenware whether it’s named lip gloss, why do always on its way off of… Weblog ; instruction ;tattoo fail

  • Rich Bed

    Every time you masturbate, God kills the kitten.

  • yomom

    I hate kikia!!!!!

  • randomdudeguy

    shut up and take my money
    and I don’t want to live on this planet anymore

  • RNBWSplash

    Seriously? No bronies?

  • hi

    A lovely New one, The Thom Yorke Dance!!

  • M.Lim
  • KrisBoique


  • Trollface

    What about THE GAME

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