The Best Funny Web Memes of 2016

01
of 20

Harambe

Harambe meme
Via Imgur.

Oh, 2016... you were a rat bastard, but we made it through! (Well, most of us, anyway. The number of popular celebrities we mourned was alarming.)

The year had its shares of ups and downs (mostly downs), but one thing is constant: The Internet will always come up with funny ways to mock world events in the form of web memes. Whether it's laughing our way through politics, pop culture, the Olympics, or just the latest Game of Thrones heartbreak, web memes symbolize the internet's unflappable spirit and willingness to "go there" for the sake of comedy. Nothing is off limits; everything is fair game. Internet, please don't ever change.

Case in point... Harambe. Early in 2016, a 17 year-old Silverback Gorilla was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child fell into his enclosure. Sad, right? Of course it's sad; internet folks tend to be fans of the animal kingdom! Yet instead of crumbling into tears or spiraling into outrage, the good people of the e-world decided to memorialize Harambe as only they could, with memes. "Dicks Out For Harambe" became a thing, and people found a way to make their point while still being somewhat sensitive to the situation. Mostly.

It was a year of endings - RIP Vine (2012-2016); and a year of new beginnings. Let's take a look back at the memes that made us laugh the most in 2016.

02
of 20

Angry Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps Jedi meme
Via Twitter/@sawmilltaters.

The 2016 Olympic games in Rio gave us lots of memorable and hilarious memes (who could forget that oiled-up flag bearer from Tonga? Hubba hubba....), but none were as memorable as "Angry Michael Phelps," AKA "Phelps Face."

While getting himself psyched up before winning yet another gold medal, American swimmer Michael Phelps made this intense, angry-looking face... and the internet ran with it.

03
of 20

The Mannequin Challenge

Britney Spears Mannequin Challenge
Via Instagram @britneyspears.

Pictured: Britney Spears and her Las Vegas dance crew nailing the Mannequin Challenge.

Remember planking? The Harlem Shake? How about those Ice Bucket Challenge videos? 

Without those memes leading the way, we'd never have gotten the beauty that is The Mannequin Challenge! These are videos featuring a group of people who appear to be frozen in time, like mannequins, and they were everywhere in 2016. Literally everybody was doing it, from Ellen DeGeneres to Adele and even Paul McCartney. Heck, there was even a Mannequin Challenge done in zero gravity, from space

04
of 20

Damn, Daniel

Damn Daniel
Via YouTube/Mr. Viral.

Move over, Alex from Target; there's a new adorable high school kid in town.

In February, California teenager Josh Holz (@joshholzz on Twitter) posted a short video clip of himself complimenting his friend Daniel on his fashionable footwear. Before long, the video had been shared thousands of times, and the "Damn Daniel" catchphrase was launched into web stardom.

"Damn Daniel! Back at it again with the white Vans!"

05
of 20

Game of Thrones: Hold The Door

Hold the door meme
Via Know Your Meme.

HBO's Game of Thrones continued to break our hearts this year, and in March they delivered one of the cruelest blows yet. The beloved character Hodor, who was famous for only ever saying one thing ("Hodor"), was the latest victim of the show runners' wrath, and the way he went out... well, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Before the show had even finished airing, the "Hold the Door" memes were circulating on Twitter.

06
of 20

Chewbacca Mom

Chewbacca Lady
Via YouTube/Jon Deak.

In May, Texas mom Candace Payne used Facebook Live to record this video of herself wearing a Chewbacca mask she'd just picked up while shopping at Kohl's. The video is basically just several minutes of Payne laughing hysterically at herself, but it definitely struck a nerve online. Many viewers claimed that her laughter was "infectious" and sounded like "pure joy." Other people thought the video was annoying as hell. To each her own!

Before long, Chewbacca Mom was making the TV talk show rounds, raking in thousands of dollars in endorsements, and she started charging money for autographs. Yep. This is why we can't have nice things.

07
of 20

Apple Earpods

apple earpods meme
Via iFunny.

The iPhone 7 was released amidst the usual hullabaloo, but this time, something was missing. Apple made the odd decision to remove the headphone jack, which surprised and disturbed just about everyone who uses their devices. Soon the jokes about losing the now-wireless earpods flooded the web.

08
of 20

Dat Boi

Dat Boi Meme
Via Reddit/MeIRL.

The origins of this frog riding a unicycle are hard to pinpoint, but there's no doubt that this guy replaced Pepe the Frog in the hearts and minds of many web users this year. The frog and his catchphrase, "Oh shit waddup!" started appearing on Twitter early in the year, and it's still popping up in strange and unexpected places every day. And no, we still don't entirely "get" it, but just go with it.

09
of 20

Ted Cruz Is Kevin From The Office

Ted Cruz is Kevin from The Office
Via Reddit/DonnieDoesIt.

During the contentious U.S. election process, one brave Redditor showed up at a Ted Cruz rally demanding answers to the important questions: Are Ted Cruz and Kevin from The Office secretly the same person??

Also noteworthy: The internet's incessant speculation about whether or not Ted Cruz was actually the Zodiac Killer.

10
of 20

Be Like Bill

Be Like Bill meme
Via Funnyjunk.

For a period of about two weeks, you couldn't log onto any social media site without being inundated with "Be Like Bill" stick figure comics. The memes are meant to convey a solid point: Don't be so easily ticked off by the things you see online. We're talking to you, people who find themselves "triggered" by unpleasant stuff on the web.

11
of 20

Caveman Spongebob

Caveman Spongebob
Via Twitter @CavemansSponge.

Caveman Spongebob goes by many names, including SpongeGar and Primitive Sponge. The image came from a still from a Spongebob Squarepants episode featuring the character's prehistoric ancestors, and it's now used as a reaction shot online.

12
of 20

Leo Finally Won That Oscar!

Via Reddit.

For many years, the internet loved to make fun of Leonardo DiCaprio for being nominated for an Academy Award so many times without winning. The "Sad Leo" memes were everywhere! However, all of that came to a swift end when Leo finally took home that coveted trophy at the 2016 annual Academy Awards show in February. While we were all thrilled for him... it was a little sad to see those Sad Leo memes come to an end.

13
of 20

*Record Scratch* *Freeze Frame*

Record Scratch Freeze Frame
Via Twitter @a7xweeman.

Pictured: Usain Bolt at the Rio Olympics.

You know how in movies they love to use that old cliché where the screen freezes and there's the sound of a needle scratching on a vinyl record? This meme is simply the same tired trope, in internet form. This one started on 4chan and quickly worked its way into every other social media site and message board.

14
of 20

Ken Bone

Ken Bone Meme
Via Twitter @Males_Thoughts.

During the second Presidential Debate, one attendee stood up, asked a question of the candidates, and proceeded to become internet-famous almost instantly. That man was Ken Bone, he of the mustache and red sweater, and for some unknown reason he became the poster child for the Every Man. As is usually the case, our love affair with this likable doofus was short-lived, but for a while we were all firmly ensconced within "the Bone Zone."

15
of 20

Evil Kermit

Evil Kermit Meme
Via Twitter @barbie_bates_.

It's hard to believe that any Muppet as likable as Kermit the Frog could ever inspire an "Evil Kermit" meme, but here we are. In 2014 we had "But That's None of My Business," this year the dark side of Kermy's personality is on full display! For every good, lighthearted thought we have, there is always a darker, meaner thought. We all have our dark sides; why deny it?

16
of 20

You vs. The Guy She Told You Not To Worry About

Mr. Skeltal meme
Via Reddit/thank_mr_skeltal/.

This is a Twitter joke that pictures your dorky self on the left, followed by a much less dorky guy on the right whom  your girlfriend assured you isn't actually a threat. Yeah, riiiiight.

17
of 20

Angry Splash Mountain Lady

Angry Splash Mountain Lady
Via YouTube.

Lots of people take funny pictures while riding Disney's Splash Mountain, but few achieve the excellence of this one ticked-off lady! Jordan Alexander from Syracuse, New York was annoyed that her husband refused to go on the ride with her, so she made this grumpy face when she passed by the camera. With her blessing, her husband uploaded the funny picture to Reddit where it went seriously viral. She ended up on television and all over the internet for weeks. The best part was that she was in on the joke the whole time, so there weren't actually any hurt feelings.

18
of 20

Prankster Joe Biden

Prankster Joe Biden meme
Via politicalhumor.about.com.

After Donald J. Trump became the President-Elect, people started making jokes about how VP Joe Biden is secretly pranking Trump any chance he gets. Wishful thinking? Sure, but these things are honestly funny stuff!

Click here to see a collection of some of the funniest Prankster Joe Biden memes.

19
of 20

Arthur's Fist

Arthur's Fist meme
Via Reddit @Miksation.

You may not remember that there is a children's show called Arthur, but lots of people suddenly remembered this year when this meme became popular! This simple picture of Arthur's clenched fist can be used just about anywhere to indicate how secretly angry you are about a situation or event. 

20
of 20

Me at the Beginning of 2016 Versus Me at the End of 2016

me at the beginning of 2016 meme
Via The Daily Greatest.

Last but certainly not least, this meme popped up at the end of the year when everyone was complaining about how drained they all felt by the events of this year. 2016 was just plain exhausting, but no matter what the future brings, at least we can count on having more laughs thanks to the constant creation of funny memes. Thank you, Internet!