Top 8 Memes of 2022

The world may be slowly opening up again. However, we still spend a lot of our time on the internet, cranking around in our crucible, occasionally watching as specific in-jokes and niche comments become the backbone of the latest meme craze. West Elm Caleb was canceled and rescheduled several times. We scheduled our outfits for going to Euphoria High School for classes. For weeks, Julia Fox’s pronunciation of Uncut Gems was stuck in our heads. We’ve created a list of the most incredible, hilarious, and bizarre memes that the internet offers this year at Thrillist Entertainment.

We’ll update this list as needed throughout the year, so keep checking back if you want your Extremely Online humor to stay current.

1. Hey, it’s Che Diaz

Do you recall exactly where you were when the fabric of the universe shifted just a smidgeon? Sara Ramirez made her first appearance on the Sex and the City reboot in December 2021… And Just Like That as Carrie’s podcast boss, Che Diaz, a non-binary queer comedian who would change the course of so many people’s lives. Che became an instant meme because the show was desperately trying to make up for SATC’s lack of diversity and because it was unclear how to do so. But Ramirez’s natural swagger gave Che something he couldn’t deny while still highly dunkable.

2. West Elm Caleb

Early this year, a group of TikTok ladies discovered that the same straight 6’4″ NYC man, a West Elm designer, was using the same moves on dating apps before ghosting them—notably, love bombing with constant texts and indie playlists. West Elm Caleb’s patterns would have been dismissed as sleazy dude behavior in a different era. Still, because it’s 2022, the girlies called him out for being a lazy scumbag, resulting in the short-lived internet meme saga of a tall furniture designer.


3. Smash or pass

Users found the word “smash or pass” from a completely separate trend in which people “accidentally” revealed whether or not they had a crush on something or someone, giving new meaning to TikTok filters that had shown you “Which X Character Are You.” Users on TikTok began using “smash or pass” in conjunction with a Disney character filter, going through the options and saying which characters they’d “smash” or “pass.” We’re all aware of what it means. When folks try to justify their knee-jerk reactions by desperately clarifying to the internet how they have a crush on an animatronic candle, the trend becomes hilarious.


4. Morbius

What makes Morbius so amusing? Is it because the film has been postponed so many times? Is it because Jared Leto takes everything so seriously, including his role as Dr. Michael Morbius, the living vampire? Is it because Dr. Michael Morbius is this character’s name? Maybe all of the above, but the internet had a field day when the Sony Spider-Man spinoff, which can’t directly star Spider-Man, finally came out. What if Morbius received the best reviews ever? What if it was more profitable? That was a possibility in the land of memes, and it was consistently hilarious.


5. What are you listening to?

Last year, the tendency of a “content creator” nearing random people wearing headphones on the street to ask what they were listening to fizzled out, mainly due to the lack of interest in the answers. Thank goodness the weirdo youth tried to step in to suck the cringe sincerity out of the space, approach friends and ask what they were listening to, and get responses like SpongeBob’s “Grass Skirt Chase,” Simlish songs, a K.K. Sliding banger or the Wii theme music.

6. Elden Ring

We squashed the myriad hyper-niche catchphrases that FromSoftware’s latest Soulsborne game Elden Ring has birthed since the February release, but tough! The best Elden Ring memes are for anyone who knows that you’re just running around a massive open-world trying to swing your big sword at demanding boss guys for hours and hours on end. That nonsense can be found on our dear sister site Polygon.


7. Elmo and Rocco

Who’d have guessed that in early 2022, a large portion of the internet would be obsessed with a Sesame Street clip from 2004? Elmo didn’t like it, but it reignited his feud with Zoey’s pet rock, Rocco, thanks to someone reposting an old episode of the show in which he can’t stand his friend’s obsession with her rock. People couldn’t get over how hostile the sweet, little monster was in the video, prompting many tweets declaring it one of the greatest rivalries of all time, and Elmo himself fired shots on his official Twitter account. There aren’t many kinds of beef that result in such hilarious memes.


8. Nepotism babies

Most of us should know by now that a lot of the young Hollywood have some sort of connection, whether it’s because their parents are actual A-listers or because they have an uncle who is a producer. However, not everyone is aware of this, and Gen Zers, for some reason, become enraged when they learn that another individual is a “nepotism baby.” One shocked zoomer discovered that Maude Apatow, the star of Euphoria is the daughter of filmmaker Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann. A slew of other people dunked on their naivety doing the same thing with photographs of other very prominent neo babes.