The Top Internet Memes Of 2023

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2023 was one for the books in memeology. From Kevin Hart to Kevin James, here’s the backstory behind some of this year’s biggest reaction memes across the internet.

Ariana DeBose at the BAFTAs

Academy Award winning actress Ariana DeBose notoriously recapped 2022’s most memorable performances in her opening song-monologue at the The British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), including a line referencing Angela Bassett‘s performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” by saying that she simply “did the thing.” This line and the vocal emphasis on DeBose placed on it were rapidly memed earlier this year.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Viola Davis are also mentioned in the performance.


Pedro Pascal Eating A Sandwich

The original video of actor Pedro Pascal eating a sandwich came from an interview with LadBible TV’s video series “Snack Wars” on YouTube. The interview aired following Pascal’s major mainstream breakthrough for his role as Joel Miller in HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama “The Last Of Us.” Pascal sat down with fellow actor Jon Favreau to compare Chilean and American snacks. The clip that TikTok users picked up on features Pascal trying one of Favreau’s favorite American snacks, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The clip initially began making the rounds when a TikTok user named Goose (@fiendish.goose) shared the clip and captioned it “Pedro Pascal’s mouse moment.” A “mouse moment” refers to another viral TikTok meme that features a clip of a mouse eating alone from the popular U.K. animated series “Creature Comforts,” which initially premiered in 2003. The show was made by the creators of another popular cartoon, “Wallace and Gromit.” The “Creature” scene and the Pedro sandwich moment are both dubbed over a slowed piano version of Austin Farwell’s track “New Home.”


Replying to @dreary.bia pedro pascal’s mouse moment #pedropascal #pedropascaledit #pedropascalsimp #pedropascaltiktok

♬ Mouse eating sound – حدوري🇮🇶

A “mouse moment” often refers to a moment of loneliness or feeling small in the world, though some have turned the phenomenon into a satirical look at internet culture. The sandwich crunch heard around the world soundtracked by Farwell’s “New Home” has been dubbed over thousands of scenarios, from failed eyeliner attempts to small business marketing and getting secret tattoos.


damn near cousins #makeup #grwm #grwmroutine #makeuptutorial #eyeliner

♬ Mouse eating sound – حدوري🇮🇶


Kevin Hart Reactions

Back in February, for a reason unbeknownst to many, comedian Kevin Hart found himself trending on X, formerly known as Twitter. For years, his most expressive photos have been utilized as a form of meme referred to as a “reaction pic”. The photos are often paired with humorous pop culture or satirical political references. The internet decided to return to the art of the Kevin Hart meme this year, for reasons that the comedian could not comprehend himself.

Hart eventually responded to the vast slew of memes surrounding him on X.

Many found the sheer volume of creative images of Hart to be humorous in itself.

Pedro Pascal and Nicholas Cage

Actors Pedro Pascal and Nicholas Cage starred in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” in 2022. New fans of Pascal following his acclaimed performance in HBO’s “The Last Of Us” were quick to scour his filmography, and fall in love with the absurdist comedy of the film.


He still loves me so it’s cool #relationships #bfgfgoals #funny #pedromeme #nickcagememe #trauma

♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass

The film follows a fictionalized version of Cage desperate to revamp his career and deciding to attend his biggest fan’s 40th birthday party in Spain. The Spanish billionaire Javi Gutierrez (Pascal) is unwittingly at the center of a mob operation run by one of his family members, unbeknownst to Cage. One scene in particular in which the pair took psychedelic drugs and drive through the cliffs while Cage appears concerned at Pascal’s oblivion was memed across TikTok and set to the tune of Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind of Music.”


gotta have my beauty sleep 🤠 #funny #pedropascal #nicholascage #makeyourownkindofmusic

♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass

The video template was paired with all sorts of humorous captions.


#AXERatioChallenge #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #meme #memes #funny #bestie #bestfriend #bff #pedropascal #boyfriend #bf #couple

♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass


🤐🤐🤐 #bnorlandpark #barnesandnoble #bnbuzz

♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass

This Barbie…

Early promotion for Greta Gerwig‘s smash hit “Barbie” allowed for viewers to submit a photo of themselves to be featured in the same filter used on the cast posters. The filter read “This Barbie…” and allowed for users to choose their own captions. The casting for the film was announced via a poster format that depicted each cast member and their job in the Barbie world in which the film is set.

Some used the template to post empowering messages, and others crafted lighthearted memes. After all, Barbie can be anything.

Others took to X to share the template being placed over iconic TV show characters, musicians, and politicians.

Kevin James Shrug

A humorous promotional image of Kevin James in character on the set of “King of Queens” shrugging in a kitchen wearing a flannel shirt took over X timelines and TikTok, paired with a slew of comedic captions aimed towards a variety of audiences.  The show starred James opposite Leah Remini as a married couple navigating the humorously awkward family dynamics of living with their in-laws. The show aired from 1998 to 2007.

The captions ranged from awkward dates, to Paramore concerts, and more. It remains unclear why this image and similar promotional images resurfaced online.

Eventually, James’ “King of Queens” costar Leah Remini responded to the memes, which coincidentally swept the internet on the show’s 25th anniversary.

Following Remini’s response, James hopped on the meme trend himself to promote his comedy tour.

Grimace’s McDonald’s Birthday Shake

McDonald’s “Grimace” character, allegedly inspired by a personified taste bud, inspired a purple milkshake from the fast food giant this year. The shake was released to commemorate the character’s birthday. Somehow, TikTok users giving it a taste test started a dramatic trend in which users sipped the purple shake and fictitiously died. The absurd trend began when users began joking about the shake’s suspicious purple color. The trend rapidly spread among young users on the platform.


Replying to @🫧 its been all over my fyp 😭😭 #grimace #fyp #mcdonalds #grimaceshake

♬ Pretty When You Cry – Lana Del Rey

Users got creative about their peculiar deaths by Grimace shake. Some recreated famous television and movie deaths, while others are dialing up the humor.

Some believe that the beverage phenomenon inspired McDonald’s corporate to open CosMc’s, the new beverage franchise being tested in Illinois ahead of the new year.

Girl Dinner

TikTok users popularized “girl dinner,” meant to initially represent the oddly concocted meals that overworked young women in college and their 20s make to save time and stay on budget. After many initially shared their favorite girl dinner recipes, the term naturally transitioned into memeland in the internet’s vernacular.


Girlllll dinnerrrrr #food #macandcheese #dinonuggets #dinnerideas

♬ original sound – karma carr


#slay #girldinner

♬ original sound – karma carr


real girl dinner

♬ original sound – spam


Some described celebrity crushes as their “girl dinner” and continue to do so. Elsewhere, some referred to certain pieces of media as “girl dinner.” The downside of the trend wound up being a select group of women having sleep as “girl dinner,” leading many to call out eating disorder culture on social media.


girl dinner 😼. #evanpeters #aarontaylorjohnson #girldinnerdate #fypシ゚viral #greenscreen

♬ original sound – karma carr


And this is in no way me trying to make light of people who do struggle with a ED, or promote “girl dinner” and not eating a well balanced meal either. Bc i know how people love to take everything anything the wrong way these days. #grwm #makeup #beauty #grwmmakeup #grwmroutine #girldinner

♬ original sound – Cecelia Fales


It’s a beautiful day to swoon over #PatrickDempsey at the VeniceFilmFestival. 🔥 (🎥: Getty)

♬ original sound – karma carr


the barbies out to dinner #barbieday #barbie #barbiemovie #girldinner

♬ original sound – karma carr


“Wonka” stars Timotheé Chalamet and was met with widely positive reviews upon its recent release. The film details the origin story of the Willy Wonka made popular by the late Gene Wilder in 1971, with Johnny Depp following suit in 2005. Both films closely followed the original children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, which was written by Roald Dahl in 1964.

A moment from early trailers in which Chalamet whimsically delivers the line, “quiet up and listen down–no scratch that, reverse it,” was quickly memed online, in part due to the surprising change in tone for the actor, who is known for his dramatic roles.

Gag City

Gag City memes emerged ahead of the release of rapper Nicki Minaj‘s recent album release of “Pink Friday 2”. The term “gag city” has been associated with her rap abilities, as “gag” has become a slang term made popular by the LGBTQ+ community meant to mean “impressed” or “floored.” Minaj even named her deluxe version of “Pink Friday 2” the “Gag City deluxe edition.”

Fans of Minaj made Gag City a reality on Roblox, and screenshots of the hot pink city rapidly circulated across social media paired with humorous captions. Others resurfaced some of Minaj’s most humorous moments and declared that the citizens of Gag City would behave the same way.

George Santos Cameos

Disgraced New York 3rd district congressman George Santos was at last expelled from congress following a lengthy investigation that found that not only had he fabricated most of his resumé, but that he also mismanaged campaign funds. He was caught spending them on OnlyFans subscriptions and Sephora purchases. Santos first made waves as the first openly gay GOP candidate to win an election for the position.

The New York Times first found that Santos lied about his educational background, which included a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor’s Degree from Baruch College, and an MBA from New York University. Santos reportedly also lied about his work experience, including his positions at several major firms on Wall Street.

Now, as Santos continues to sell his image on Cameo, charging hundreds of dollars for personalized video messages, an important cultural conversation emerges–the extent of which Gen Z should be laughing at the preposterousness of it all. One Cameo in particular, in which Santos says “there is no diva down, there is only diva up” is now cemented in the internet canon.

Santos was most recently grilled by comedian Ziwe on her YouTube channel.

Needless to say, 2023 was the year of memes for kings, queens, and divas alike.

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