The Best Memes of 2019 (So Far)

The year's most popular memes include CJ in 'GTA,' 'Game of Thrones,' & more. Here are Complex's picks for the best memes of 2019 (so far).

Best Memes of 2019 (So Far)
Complex Original

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Best Memes of 2019 (So Far)

If it isn’t a meme, is it even funny? Of course not, but these days, it’s hard to tell if something even went viral if there wasn’t a meme-able moment attached. It’s the universal language that connects the timelines we watch the world through and should be truly celebrated for the art form it is.

With social media moving at the speed of light, it’s hard to remember the memes that kept us laughing through the day. From moments in our favorite television shows to repurposing nostalgia for that feeling to using newsworthy clips to joke on everyday situations, memes are everything. Sometimes, they are the only thing.

Let’s take a look back at the best memes of 2019 (so far).

26. Shaggy’s Power

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This one felt like it blew up out of nowhere. Somehow, a joke on Reddit portraying Shaggy as an anime character turned the Scooby-Doo character into a being of Chuck Norris levels of mythic power. It’s resulted not only in a petition to get Shaggy into Mortal Kombat 11, but a tweet about the meme from Matthew Lillard himself.

25. Shaq's Hot Ones Interview

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“Sure, Complex,” you’re probably saying. “Of COURSE you’d reference a Hot Ones meme!” You can’t front like Shaq’s memorable appearance didn’t churn out some insane reactions. It’s also kind of like meme-ception, considering that our own flip of Shaq’s reactions using Snapchat’s baby filter had a life of its own.

24. Gamora Putting on Makeup

Zoe Saldana putting on her Gamora makeup

23. Andy King’s Fyre Festival Blowjob story

Andy King, 'FYRE'

22. First Image of the Black Hole

a black hole at the center of galaxy M87

21. When the Song Doesn’t Match the Video

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This meme does exactly what it says on the tin: You take a video that, if the sound is off, looks like any regular clip from a rap video including a bunch of dudes turning up to a song. Unmute it, and it can be anything from Big Time Rush to Justin Bieber blasting. It’s a clever parody and highlights that you can’t judge a book (or a pop single) by its cover (or visual).


19. Crying R. Kelly

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2019 definitely feels like the start of R. Kelly’s ending, beginning with the Lifetime docuseries on the decades of allegations of sexual misconduct finally doing real damage to his career. After that dropped, he visited Gayle King for an interview on CBS This Morning that ended up with him ranting, yelling, and crying about how these allegations have ruined his life. How Kelly thought this would turn into anything other than open meme season on him is beyond us.

18. “You Were At My Wedding, Denise”

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You gotta love how conservative writer Denise McAllister asking why people even watch The View and having View co-host Meghan McCain clap back with “You were at my wedding, Denise” turned into the most hilarious, dramatic way to reply to someone. Throwing it on this image of a dog in a conference room is all types of hysterical as well.

17. Damian Lillard's Victory Stare

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While the Trail Blazers didn’t end up making the NBA Finals, you couldn’t tell Damian Lillard SHIT after his Game 5-winning shot. The “yeah, I did that shit” look on his face is legendary, and could have a long life for anyone looking to illustrate their own ultimate “shut the fuck up while I do me” moment.

16. The Arya Stab

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One of the most memorable moments in an ultimately lackluster season of Game of Thrones is from the Battle of Winterfell, and features Arya Stark getting the drop on the Night King. The timeline was flooded with images it inspired, featuring everything from Arya on Dame Lillard’s body to the Air Jordan logo flipped to Arya with a knife. There was even an #AryaChallenge, where people tried to do everyday things with the same “drop” that Arya used. Brilliance.



13. Cheesing

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They were never that popular, but Karl From Online’s original cheesing videos hit Vine back in 2014. For some reason, the “cheesing” challenge, which involved throwing slices of (mostly American) cheese on anything from an animal to a baby’s face, became all the rage in 2019, for good or ill. Stay safe out there.

12. Act My Age

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Are you and your friends hype about something? Anything? If there are three of you, one of the easiest ways to express it is via the Act My Age video, which finds a mother turning up with her kids. It’s one of those memes that might be TOO perfect in expressing an emotion.

11. "Draaake?!??"

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Soulja Boy had a (mostly bad) moment earlier this year, but his Breakfast Club interview culminated in an exchange where, when asked about Drake, SouljaBoyTellEm stood up and started screaming, “DRAAAAKE?!?!” It’s a hilarious clip, but got turned inside out when applied to any situation where a request or comment was seen as being absurd AF. 


9. Tough Guy Entrance

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Back in March, a man by the name of Jawad Bendaoud got four years in prison for taking in two jihadists involved in the November 2015 Paris terror attacks. That’s a dark start for a meme, but based on the look on his face, you can’t not use that clip to show how a sub might enter a room when the class is wildin’ out, or when you realize how shitty your Avengers: Endgame seats are. Too perfect.


7. Let Me In

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Somehow, a moment from The Eric Andre Show’s 2016 DNC special got turned into the perfect way to describe cats finally being released into the world or...the urge to suck Dracula’s dick? Look, everything in the world of meme comedy can’t be explained, but that shit is FUNNY.


5. 6ix9ine in Court

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Say what you will about 6ix9ine, but there’s talk of him talking about the people he used to associate with reducing his jail time. For anyone looking to finesse a situation by putting someone else down, the image of Tekashi in a courtroom, spilling his guts about others supposedly doing more than him, is all you really need.

4. Wave Check

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This meme wins because it not only highlighted dope Photoshop skills, but it also tapped into the AirPod craze after the holiday season. Starting with an image of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., with a pair of AirPods in, it’s given the likes of Doge, Dragon Ball Z characters, and more the waves-and-AirPods treatment.

3. Spice Adams’ laugh

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This might be the messiest meme on the list, primarily because it’s the ultimate fakeout. A clip of Spice Adams’ Kawhi-trumping laugh turning into an immediate scowl/side-eye situation is the ultimate shade clip. It’s short, to the point, and perfect for situations where you don’t want to let your real thoughts or intentions out and are willing to keep up appearances.

2. Ah Shit, Here We Go Again

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The Grand Theft Auto video game series is one of the greatest of all time, and San Andreas, which took the ’90s gangsta lifestyle and turned it into an epic journey, is perfect nostalgia right now. A scene from the beginning of the game, where CJ is dropped off in the hood only to say, “Ah shit, here we go again,” at his plight had been bubbling online for a bit, but exploded this past April to express frustration at multiple-boss levels in video games, the next Star Wars film, YouTube videos being down because of copyright claims, and more. Anytime some bullshit is going down again? Here’s the green-screened version. You’re welcome.

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