We often see them on the internet and find ourselves having a good laugh, but did you know the stories behind these hilarious internet memes?
Memes are cultural symbols and social ideas that spread virally, meant to either make people laugh or to make fun of others. Some of them have caught our attention because they are so cute and hysterically funny.
Here are 10 of the most famous (or infamous) internet memes you’ve probably seen but didn’t have any idea how they actually came about!
1. Success Kid
One of the most commonly used memes on the internet is Success Kid. This little boy’s photo was taken by his mum while he was playing in the sand (see, that sand clenched in his fist?). In 2011, a Reddit user cropped his picture and gave it a new background, and Success Kid was born. Today, the photo is used on billboards and even in ads!
2. Ridiculously photogenic guy
How does this guy manage to look so good running a marathon? During the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run at Charleston, South Carolina, a photographer captured Zeddie Little’s charming smile. Apparently, he was smiling at a friend.
3. First World Problems Girl
The real person featured in this meme is Italian model and actress Silvia Bottini. She posed for a professional photographer who asked her to cry and the image was posted on Flickr. At some point, it was found by someone else and spread around. Now, it’s everywhere!
4. Overly Attached Girlfriend
This one started as a screen grab taken from Laina Walker’s video submission for a Justin Bieber contest. Laina’s video was a parody rendition of Bieber’s song “Boyfriend’ with personalised lyrics.
5. Bad Luck Brian
Brian’s real name is Kyle Craven and the original photo is actually a joke photo he took as his 7th grade yearbook picture. He bought a sweater vest at a second hand shop and rubbed his face to make it red, squinted his eyes and puffed out his jaw. Craven has reportedly earned between US$15,000 and US$20,000 from that one photo.
This photo is of Maggie Goldenberger, who was 11 years old at the time. She and her friends were playing dress ups and she pulled a terrible face for the camera. She even put in her retainer especially for the photo. The photo was spotted by a 16-year-old from Canada who was browsing a public Facebook photo gallery and he posted it on Reddit. Three years later, while Maggie was on a backpacking trip in India, one of her friends messaged her to tell her she had become a meme. She is now a nurse working in Phoenix.
7. Skeptical Baby
Skeptical baby was cropped from a photo of the little Mason and his dad, Dave, taken at the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina USA. Both the photographer and the dad were Reddit users, and dad Dave uploaded the image to Reddit where it quickly became a super popular meme!
8. Disaster Girl
Dave Roth snapped this photo of his daughter while watching their local fire department perform a training exercise in 2004. The fire was lit under controlled conditions, but the little girl’s face shows a slightly sinister reaction to the flames. He uploaded the photograph around 2007, and over the next few years it spread across the globe.
9. Ugly Children Lawsuit Hoax
In 2004, a story was published about a Chinese man who sued his wife for bearing unattractive children when it emerged that she had spent tens of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery. The story continued that he immediately divorced and sued her.
In reality, Taiwanese model, Hiedi Yeh posed for the photo alongside the male model and three children (who were subsequently digitally altered to appear less attractive) thinking it was going to be used as a print cosmetics ad. Instead, the photo was published as an ad for plastic surgery with the tagline, “The only thing you’ll ever have to worry about is how to tell the kids”.
Now, Yeh is trying to sue the original posters for defamation!
Everyone loves a good animal meme and this one featuring a gorgeous Japanese Shiba-inu is one of the most popular, thanks to his funny face. Kabosu, was rescued by Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato who posted his photo on her blog. Again someone on Reddit found it, posted it to the forums, and it took off!