15 Iconic Memes of the COVID-19 Era

You might want to sit down for this one.

1. Jaboukie’s Twitter

DePaul alum Jaboukie Young-White had some pretty incredible tweets during the pandemic. During Twitter’s COVID-19 heyday, Jaboukie was tweeting (and deleting) hilarious tweets left and right — and one even cost him his blue check.

Jaboukie Young-White (@Jaboukie on Twitter).

2. Where’s Lightfoot?

When the city of Chicago went into lockdown in March 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was serious about keeping residents out of the parks, off the beaches and in their homes. Consequently, the mayor, with her oversized suit and binder, was hilariously memed by Chicagoans.

The earliest and most iconic memes can be traced back to the @whereslightfoot Instagram account.

3. Two Guys On A Bus

Anyone on Twitter in the fall of 2021 will recognize “two guys on a bus.” It was one of the most widely used meme formats of the year and produced countless spin-offs.

“Two Guys On A Bus” was originally an “inspirational cartoon” created in August 2013 by Brazilian illustrator Genildo Ronchi. In 2021, the cartoon was transformed into a widely used meme template.


There’s no denying STONKS gained traction during the meme stock boom of 2021. Plus we have to admit, the off-putting image perfectly encapsulates our feelings about the economy (what are stocks anyways????).

Stonks was first posted in 2017 to the Facebook meme page Special Meme Fresh.

5. COVID Mike

The slightly haunting meme of Mike Wazowski’s face swapped with Sulley from Monsters Inc. has been floating around the web for a minute, but when the pandemic hit, a certified meme genius had an epiphany and COVID Mike was born.

The face swap was originally posted on Facebook in 2019, followed by the COVID-19 version posted to Twitter in 2020.

6. Chet Hanx

We’ve long asked the question, can a person be a meme? Enter Chet Hanks, or rather, Hanx, son of famous actor Tom Hanks and originator of “White Boy Summer.”

The original photo is from Chet Hanks (@ChetHanx on Instagram), with the caption added later by a netizen.

7. Fancy Bugs Bunny

Fancy Bugs Bunny would like to wish you all a very pleasant evening.

In October 2020, Tumblr user @sunshineofyourlove1967 posted an image of a Tuxedo Bugs Bunny, captioned “I wish all lesbians a very pleasant evening.”

8. We Did It, Joe.

A video that went viral of Vice President Kamala Harris finding out the 2020 election results while out for a jog, successfully turning the new VP into a meme sensation. 

Original video posted to Kamala Harris’s Twitter.

9. The Imagine Video

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot posted a video of her and 25 other celebrities singing a mashup of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The video became an instant meme with some less-than-spectacular singing and criticism of the video coming off as a little tone-deaf to the pandemic.

Originally posted to Gal Gadot’s Instagram.

10. I Am Once Again Asking You

Senator Bernie Sanders provided the internet with some relief with his presidential campaign over quarantine. With a campaign that was mostly funded by supporter donations, the video of Bernie asking for more donations posted to his social media turned into a flurry of memes about asking your parents for money or the local pyramid scheme girl from your high school asking you to buy her leggings or skin cleansers. Bernie played into the meme when he called on his supporters to follow COVID-19 mitigation measures and wear a mask.

Original video posted in 2019 to Bernie Sanders social media accounts

11. Bernie In The Chair

The 2021 presidential inauguration not only introduced Joe Biden as the 46th president but also gave way to the year’s first viral meme. Pictured in a casual coat and mittens, this picture of Bernie looking cold and grumpy in the chair had everyone photoshopping him in places like the subway or in tv shows.

Photographer Brendan Smialowski originally shot this photo for AFP, then licensed to Getty Images.

12. I Am Never Going to Financially Recover From This

There was a period of quarantine when the initial shock had set in, and we all needed something to obsess over. The Netflix documentary Tiger King provided just that. Several memes over the show hit viral status, but none were as relatable as Joe Exotic claiming he would “never financially recover.”

Originally pulled from the documentary as a reaction meme by Twitter user @bridger_w.

13. Cryrese

American singer Tyrese Gibson posted a since-deleted video regarding his custody battle over his daughter. Despite the video depicting a sad situation and a distraught man, the internet did what it does best and turned it into a reaction meme. Tyrese also called “Cryrese” cries in the video while saying congratulations.

Originally posted on Facebook in 2017.


The TikTok to end all TikToks, the sounds to end all sounds, AYO this is definitely New York/East Coast charm at its finest. We love you, Chicago, but you could never. Let me take you out to dinner, though?

Original video posted to TikTok user @09sunnyclips and @.scre6m.

15. The Feminine Urge

The feminine urge to make an entire article solely devoted to meme-ry. The feminine urge for it to be unmatched.

Earliest known mention on Twitter in 2009.





Header Image by Samarah Nasir