It’s tough to gauge a celebrity’s popularity, but if ever there was a tool for the job it is the internet. The age of memes we live in has the uncanny ability to combine internet humor with international fame. In the process, it has given the term “internet famous” several new layers for those that are all celebrities. Don’t believe us? Check out this list of 15 of the most memed celebrities on the interwebs.
At the 2012 Academy Awards, Angelina Jolie was seen wearing an elegant black Versace dress that featured revealed a lot of leg. The internet took to it almost immediately as Twitter page emerged during the ceremony entitled “AngiesRightLeg.” The account sported countless bad, leg-based puns and earned 12,000 followers in just a few hours. In conjunction, Tumblr users put their Photoshop skills into altering Jolie’s pose, yielding a variety of ridiculous stances (see above). Even one third of the screenwriting team behind The Descendants struck the pose, effectively “Joliening” during their award speech. Finally, a photobomb series dedicated to inserting Jolie’s right leg into familiar pictures became a huge fad. Though Jolie did not even get a nomination at the ceremony, her right leg truly walked home a winner.
Ryan Gosling’s “Hey Girl” meme originated in 2008 on Tumblr’s F— Yeah! Ryan Gosling page. Though the photo captioning enjoyed great popularity, it became a worldwide phenomenon when the actor gave live readings of the meme in an MTV interview. After that, many variations of the meme began popping up, including the ever-popular Feminist Ryan Gosling.
Photo: Vince Maher/WENN.com
Gene Wilder’s performance as Willy Wonka in the 1971 classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is nothing less than timeless. Just ask the creators of Condescending Wonka, which sports an image of the seemingly captivated Wilder typically juxtaposed with a sarcastic observation. There are countless variations on the meme, with the Creepy Wonka Quickmeme page sporting 6,500 different takes on the image alone.
As the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama is the center of more memes than just about anyone else on the internet. Memes have included everything from the humorous jabs at his birth certificate controversy, self-aggrandizing captions following the death of Bin Laden, and YouTube super cuts montaging his “um…” linguistic mannerisms.
Photo: Patricia Schlein/WENN.com
Sarah Palin’s 2008 Vice Presidential candidate debate spawned everything from four panel comics to satirical video parodies. Her casual greeting to competitor Joe Biden, “Hey, can I call you Joe?” became the title of an entire website based around Palin humor.
Did Clint Eastwood anticipate his “empty chair” speech from the Republican National Convention would become an internet sensation? We doubt it, but if so the man truly is a visionary. From the Invisible Obama Twitter account that live Tweeted the event to President Obama’s pictorial response (that showed, indeed, the chair was filled), Clint Eastwood and his see-through president proved interactive performance art for the digital age.
The Christian Bale rant that leaked from the set of Terminator Salvation in 2009 spread as meme fodder within a few hours of its debut. UGO produced a Christian Bale rant soundboard, techno remixes were created (include “Bale Out” by RevoLucian), and YouTube users offered several parodies and re-enactments of the incident. Bale, ever the humble actor, joked about the incident in his Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech the following year.
Photo: Judy Eddy/WENN.com
U.S. Gymnast McKayla Maroney may have won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympic games, but her iconic scowl received a gold medal from the internet. Her twisted facial expression became an instant hit of a Quickmeme page titled “McKayla Is Not Impressed.” The sole image would later be photo-bombed into a number of contexts, from the Great Wall of China to Kanye West’s VMA interruption of Taylor Swift. Maroney was good-natured enough to parody the meme with none other than Barack Obama. She Tweeted a picture of them both imitating the expression in a White House photo-op.
Photo: Dan Jackman/WENN.com
A paparazzi photo taken on the set of Inception featured Leonardo DiCaprio walking with a particular pep in his step. The image would become the subject of the “Photoshop Leo DiCaprio” on the forum of Newgrounds in August 2012. From there, images of Leo “Strutting Into Mordor” followed. It soon inspired Tumblr F—! Strutting Leo and then StruttingLeo.com. Through these sites Leo has seemingly strutted into almost every setting you could possibly imagine since then.
A snapshot of Tina Fey walking down the street with her daughter experienced some influence from the Strutting Leo crowd. The results saw Tina’s daughter, Alice Fey, become the Photoshop sensation known as Swaggering Alice. The same principals of Strutting Leo apply to Swaggering Alice, who has been featured on such notable outlets as Buzzfeed.
Character actor Steve Buscemi has some pretty memorable peepers. Why not Photoshop them onto other celebrities faces? Bescemeyes was spawned from a thread on SomethingAwful’s forums, which featured Buscemi’s eyes overlayed on Justin Bieber’s face. The result was freaky, hilarious, and soon spread across the internet. Every celebrity from Selena Gomez to Rebecca Black has experienced Buscemeyes. In fact, Jolielegs is considered to be a variation on Buscemeyes.
Photo: JLN Photography/WENN.com
In 2011, celebrity chef Paula Deen co-hosted the South Beach Wine & Food Festival with Dinner: Impossible host Robert Irvine. It was there onstage that, spirits in hand, Deen inexplicably opted to mount Irvine’s back and pretend to ride him like a jockey. Aside from being a perfect visual for the dangers of alcohol abuse during wine tastings, the image would also spread across the internet like wildfire. This led to the creation of the Tumblr Paula Deen Riding Things, a Photoshop meme that is exactly what it sounds like. From Orca whales to giant sticks of butter, Deen has done more riding across the internet than most jockey racers manage in a lifetime.
Charlie Sheen’s 2011 tiger-blood fueled ranting inspired everything from T-shirts to a one man show (not to mention his termination from Two and a Half Men). Of course it would also inspired a number of memes, from parody videos to photoshopped image macros. Who would have thought that Sheen’s psychotic turn-of-phrase would be married perfectly to images of baby sloths (as evidenced by Buzzfeed’s “Baby Sloth Quotes Charlie Sheen”).
Aside from the president, actor Keanu Reeves has been especially popular meme fodder. The trend began after a paparazzi snapshot of The Matrix star eating a sandwich on a park bench became a popular image macro. This in turn spawned Sad Keanu In A Helmet, Happy Keanu, and Tai Chi Keanu before peaking with Conspiracy Theory Keanu. The latter (found below) is a still of the actor from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, sporting a frightened but hilarious expression with text pontificating on facetious conspiracy theories.
Queen Elizabeth II
Photo: Daniel Deme/WENN.com
Queen Elizabeth does not have as many memes to her name as Obama, but those she has are noteworthy. These included snapshots of the sour faced expression she wore at the 2012 Olympics as well an image of her in a limousine casually sporting sunglasses and a photo shopped 9mm.