Richard Dawkins first coined the phrase meme — rhymes with cream — in his book the Selfish Gene.

Do you think when he wrote about these repeating patterns and ideas found in human culture, he for a moment envisioned a future filled with grammar nazis, women farting into pudding or cats in fruit helmets?

Now, there are literally thousands of these repeating images, viral videos and stories reproducing their way across the internet. Here are just a few for you to explore then send to a friend who can send to his friend and her friend and so on.

1. Kids Doing Stuff

It all began with that creepy dancing baby that began wiggling and squirming its way across computer screens in 1996. The original baby danced to Hooked on a Feeling. Now the baby dances to everything.

Now, you can find kids doing everything from chasing cars, destroying property, and everyone is a sucker for a kid playing a ukelele.

2. Is It Peanut Butter Jelly Time?

In 2002 a badly pixelated banana danced on to the scene to the tune of Peanut Butter Jelly Time by the Buckwheat Boyz.

Does the repetitive beat pull us to a universal desire for tribal drums? Maybe it goes back further, delving deep into the monkey brain to say, “Hey, I like bananas.”

3. Excuse Me Sir, Do You Know Who Took My Kidney?

Who hasn’t heard the travel horror story of going to some foreign country — the foreigner the better. You trust someone, pay for a tour, go out for a drink and the next thing you know, you wake up in a bathtub without your [insert body part here]. Chances are whatever crucial organ was brutally removed from yourself will be carried out in a dirty Styrofoam container to be sold for tens of thousands on the black market.

Want to know if a rumor is actually true? Check out Want to see how this rumor has grown, mutated and been turned into it’s very own meme? Check out Charlie the grouchy magical unicorn.

So when are we going to Candy Mountain?

4. Literal Music Videos

Have you ever tried to make it to the end of Men Without Hats’ video for Safety Dance? Not a particularly easy task. Now, change the words, mix it up a little, make it literal and it’s infinitely more watchable.

Now apply this to Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and you turn an unintelligible attempt at being mystically deep into this:

Favorite part? I walk onto a terrace where I think I’m alone, but Arthur Fonzarelli’s got an army of clones. Or maybe it’s the strip football? Staring at the swim team gets you killed by a gang of dancing ninja men who know how to twirl? So hard to choose.

5. The Bait & Switch, Rickroll

One of the oldest, most illustrious of all internet memes. This began when one day someone received a link to a particular topic. You follow the link in said article or e-mail and next thing you know you’re watching a video of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. Bottom line, you think you’re getting one thing. You get another. You think you’re going to see naked photos of Jessica Alba and end up with a shrieking zombie face designed to scare the crap out of you.

Recently we find the appearance of what is called the Russian Rickroll.

Why it’s called that, I’m not quite sure. Maybe because it’s just purely random. Perhaps because you think you’re going to see something different and really it’s just a badly lipsynched song from a popular Russian singer. I dunno. You tell me.

6. Watching People Resist the Urge to Vomit & Other Reaction Videos

2girls1cup appeared on the scene a couple of years ago. Around that time, I tried to watch it. I made it through about two minutes and haven’t been back since. The follow video pretty much documents my own reaction.

Then watch the Marine reaction, the Ghetto reaction and the Muslim reaction Notice how the retching sound seems to cross all cultural and religious boundaries. Notice how no matter how bad, no one actually stops watching.

And as usual, Family guy has a response.

7. It’s Too Painful, Yet I Have To Watch

Blame Bob Sagget and his bloopers, but everywhere you go you’ll find someone being dragged, bumped bounced or making complete asses of themselves. We cringe and then watch again and again.

From the treadmill fail to watching the worst sports announcer in the history of sports announcements.

He started off good but then eventually but the ball state but women’s team shot down and ended up doing poorly. Need I say more?

8. Oh, How We Love to Dance

From wedding dances to baby breakdancing (who the hell is that talking in the video?), we simply cannot resist the urge to pass these along.

Most memorable? The Evolution of Dance.

9. Watch that Polyglot Gummy Shake His Ass

Normally, you wouldn’t think one video dubbed into ten or so languages would be its very own meme. According to Know Your Meme, it absolutely qualifies as a 100% full-fledged meme.

10. Scientific Wonders & Other Things You Do With Candy

Grapes or poptarts bursting into flames in the microwave, the killer combination of Pop Rocks and soda pop and mentos creating the explosive yet infinitely entertaining fountain of delight. We never tire of what amazing wonders evolve from the average sugary snack.


What is it about these memes that create the desire in us to watch, repeat and send them along? Share your thoughts — and your favorite memes — in comments below.