The 10 Most Memeable Comedians
A recurring John Mulaney sketch on Saturday Night Live illustrates the potential horror of being memed. In the sketches, Mulaney’s Uncle Ron confronts his nephew Tyler (Pete Davidson) about some less-than-flattering images he Photoshopped while away at college.
Not all comedian memes are as cruel as Tyler’s, but comics — either due to their clever material or goofy physical personas — do lend themselves to viral online images. Here are 10 comedians who, for better or worse, often find themselves as the main character in memes…
Oliver’s pointed barbs, both as a correspondent on The Daily Show and as host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, help a certain kind of internet user punctuate their political arguments.
The Last Week Tonight With John Oliver YouTube channel, with more than 9 million subscribers, provides multiple opportunities to create both memes and viral videos. For some reason, he’s a go-to for tough times.
Is Bill Murray the most memed comedian on this list? At the very least, he might have the most meme subgenres. There’s the “So I Got That Goin’ for Me, Which Is Nice” series of memes:
The Sad Bill Murray memes (featuring an image of his basketball coach son’s team losing in the NCAA tournament), appropriate for any of life’s disappointments:
And multiple Tumblrs, such as fuckyeahbillmurray, that are devoted to spreading the gospel of Bill:
Urban Dictionary has also co-opted his name, defining being “Bill Murrayed” as: “To be mistaken as an actual threat while in costume and being erroneously killed. As in the movie Zombieland.” His name as a standalone in an online conversation references Groundhog Day, as in “Are we really hearing this bullshit again?”
Deadpan comedy + awkwardly hilarious (or hilariously awkward) talk-show appearances make Plaza a meme queen.
When Plaza was cast as the voice of Grumpy Cat, meme worlds collided and entire galaxies were formed.
Tosh was one of the first comics to cash in on the very concept of memeable content. The most popular segment on his Tosh.0 series was probably Web Redemption, where people whose lives went off track due to embarrassing viral content were given a chance to get their lives back. Not sure that ever worked, actually.
Tosh wasn’t always kind on his show or in his stand-up, creating memed backlash from internet users who found the comic to be racist, sexist or otherwise offens-ist.
Jones’ physical comedy gifts on the Weekend Update desk make perfect reaction memes for any number of occasions. Someone says something that doesn’t quite smell right?
You just landed that job after five interviews?
You want to let that someone special know that you’re down to clown?
Stewart’s iconic run as host of The Daily Show served up dozens of memes to win online arguments and wave one’s liberal flag.
But Stewart’s more significant meme contribution came as the supplier of reaction GIFs for just about any situation.
Stewart also has his own meme-cousin to Sad Bill Murray, known as Jon Stewart Knicks Reaction.
Williams’ elastic face makes him yet another go-to for reaction GIFs.
But another peculiar Robin Williams chapter in meme lore is the “What Year Is It?” series. According to Know Your Meme, the image of Williams’ disheveled character from Jumanji is the internet’s choice to convey the disoriented sense of time experienced when waking up.
Do we really have to explain this one?
If Parks and Rec isn’t the most memed sitcom, it’s at least on Mount Mememore. While April Ludgate memes are perfect to communicate annoyance and Andy Dwyer GIFs display goofy ignorance, there’s no better way to send wholesome good vibes than the Leslie Knope collection. Remember Leslie’s motto: “There’s nothing we can’t do if we work hard, never sleep and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives.”
And we return full circle to Mulaney. Back in the days when he was the internet’s darling — oh, 18 months ago or so — his early stand-up provided relatable punchlines to a generation of online commenters.
But Mulaney’s reign as a Reddit golden child is over, thanks to a failed marriage, an unannounced Dave Chappelle appearance and revelations about personal failings.
That inspired a new series of memes, now tinged with a nasty attitude.
That’s why Mulaney has been trying to get out of the relatable meme business. Everyone loves to be loved, but when the internet builds you up to the heavens, you know the inevitable dragging back to Earth is coming. Let Mulaney be an example to all the memeable comics.