The Greatest And Funniest Memes Of This Cursed Year, 2020

Even more than most other years, 2020 has been a time when we’ve experienced events through meme culture. Having spent almost half of the year to this point either indoors or worrying about whether we should be indoors, the glut of despairing jokes, coronavirus memes and Dominic Cummings tweetstorms have […]

Even more than most other years, 2020 has been a time when we’ve experienced events through meme culture. Having spent almost half of the year to this point either indoors or worrying about whether we should be indoors, the glut of despairing jokes, coronavirus memes and Dominic Cummings tweetstorms have been incredibly comforting, even when they’ve been pressing on some miserable and infuriating moments.

The strange warping and flexing flow of time since about mid-March generally gets put down to lockdown, the stress of living through a pandemic and the overriding sense that we’ve been monkey-barring our way from one day to the next. But perhaps the realisation that, say, Olly Murs’s horrendous prank with the Pringles tube only happened in the middle of May, is jarring for reasons other than the fact that you’ve not been to the pub in three months.

We’ve been living more intensely online, and while the amount of online stuff that’s happened has probably been only a bit higher than normal, the offline stuff that counteracts it and helps you actually parcel out the chunks of your life in a meaningful way hasn’t been there as balance. The memes have been the real staging posts of the last three months.

These are the best we’ve seen so far this year.

‘My Plans / 2020’

The definitive meme of this harrowing new decade. Gather up all your hopes, your dreams and your wishes and dump them into the biggest bin you can find. It’s 2020, baby!

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This you?

Don’t bother trying to volte face on an issue and hoping that Twitter won’t notice. This simple, shatteringly effective tap-on-the-shoulder was most devastatingly deployed by comedian Lolly Adefope in response to David Walliams’ tweets about Black Lives Matter.

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A few days later, Little Britain and Come Fly With Me were yanked off Netflix. Coincidence?

CHAAANEEEEEEEL

Just as lockdown started to bite, a bid for freedom by an African grey parrot called Chanel obsessed Twitter. (Chanel’s full name, we found out later, was Chanel Chanelington.) The bird’s distraught ma, Sandra, did the only thing most of us would think to do in that situation: she went outside and shouted her bird’s name repeatedly.

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Why had Chanel just flown away out of the garden? What was it about life in suburban Liverpool that had apparently led her to snap? Would she ever return? All we knew was that she’d headed off towards the canal. Obviously this was absolute dynamite material.

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Chanel the parrot did turn up in the end and Sandra got to go on This Morning, so all’s well that ends well.

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To Grimes and Elon Musk, a child: X Æ A-Xii

At this stage of proceedings – after the ‘pedo guy’ debacle, and that time Musk pulled a “well, actually” on Grimes hours after she’d had surgery, and the episode where Azealia Banks was apparently trapped in their house – an ain’t-Elon-Musk-and-Grimes-whacky meme should barely make a dent. And yet here we are, still goggling at the fact that they dropped a calculator on the floor and transcribed the display onto a birth certificate.

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TikTok Versus Politics

Miming along with political speeches and interviews has become a boom industry in the last couple of months. The UK’s undoubted queen is Meggie Foster.

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And over in America, it’s Sarah Cooper.

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Majestic.

The ‘I Am A Free I Am Not Man A Number’ Meme

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A deeply bathetic protest on the Mall by a lot of very ruddy freedom-fighters, who wanted to go to the pub and cough on each other, gave us this, a head-scrambling rendering of Patrick McGoohan’s line from The Prisoner.

The ‘Wash Your Lyrics’ Meme

The overture before the full symphonic beauty of the memes of lockdown, this was the first big hit of the coronavirus period. We were told to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice while scrubbing our mitts to make sure we did them properly. The internet had some other suggestions: Rage Against the Machine, the Sex Pistols, and Neil Kinnock at the 1985 Labour Party Conference.

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best memes

Brendan O’Neill’s Gigantic Forehead

When he’s not wandering around bumping into truly awful opinions, the columnist and professional wind-up merchant is occasionally invited onto TV programmes to talk about current affairs and prove there are bad takes to be mined even beneath the bottom of the barrel. Twitter has taken to hitting him where it hurts: right in the massive forehead.

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The ‘LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Tinder’ Meme

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This one probably didn’t start with Dolly Parton herself, but by God, she gave it an almighty shot in the arm. The different hats we wear on the social media platforms that our parents’ generation have heard of are pretty daft, aren’t they.

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The Coronavirus Briefings

That goddamn ‘rony has at least necessitated the creation of the daily briefings, which have proved fertile memeing grounds. Regular targets have included the vague graphs, the revolving cast of unknown junior ministers stepping in when things get too hot, and the rapidly escalating sense that nobody knows what’s going on.

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Dominic Cummings’s Eye Test Grand Prix

Boris Johnson’s talismanic advisor decided that the best way to deal with both himself and his wife developing coronavirus symptoms was to ignore the direction to isolate for two weeks and drive 260 miles north to Durham. Cummings’s line that he only drove to the nearby town of Barnard Castle to test his eyesight was one for the ages. The Cummings memes made the whole sordid business even funnier.

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