2020 has been a catastrophic year for humankind, one that it will remember for a long time. The COVID-19 outbreak turned into a pandemic, cyclones swept through everything in their path, locusts took over cities, bushfires consumed millions of hectares of land, frequent earthquakes disrupted life, the entertainment industry lost some of its prolific icons, hundreds of businesses had to shut shop.
Despite the several downs and a handful of ups this year has seen, good folks on the Internet latched onto humour to get through the difficult days they hadn't anticipated for when they entered into 2020.
With everything around us metaphorically on fire, netizens dished out memes on daily occurrences and in some cases, they managed to pull some out from thin air.
We have compiled (in no particular order) a bunch of memes from India and across the world that brought us joy and made us chuckle even in the testing times.
One would have expected the humans to shy away from talking about the deadly infectious disease that is COVID-19 but the Internet remained unfazed and made it comfortable for the rest of us, making it okay to "joke" about something so morbid-- in a way using humour as a net to fall upon in the darkest days.
Face masks, sanitisers, social distancing, lockdown, curfew, pandemic- words that already existed in our vocabularies defined 2020. Oh yes, there were memes. But the memes weren't just for the heck of it, authorities including cops across states used pop culture references to raise awareness around social distancing and new rules that COVID brought with it.
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When the COVID vaccines weren't a thing, Union Minister Ramdas Athwale coined a slogan that turned into coronavirus anthem of sorts called "Go Corona Go" to "fight" off the virus.
Just tell it to leave.... Why didn't anyone think of that before? #CoronagoCorona presented by our Minister for Social Justice and Chinese Consul-General in Mumbai. pic.twitter.com/1VZemyPYOu — Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) March 10, 2020
But the introduction of vaccines against the virus didn't stop the flow of memes. While many scrambled to learn the right pronunciation of "Pfizer", others took digs at the vaccine skeptics to not worry about "what's in the vaccine?"
Slayy Point, a famous YouTube channel run by Abhyudaya and Gautami went down the rabbit hole that is the Indian comments section in one of their videos and a meme was born.
Titled "Why Indian Comments Section is Garbage (BINOD)," one of the comments that stood out in their viral video was from a certain person Binod Tharu who simply wrote "Binod". Was he marking his territory? Probably.
Such was the craze around "Binod", mobile payments app Paytm changed its name to "Binod" upon Internet's request.
"Binod" also became one of the most googled queries in India.
#X Æ A-12
Back in May, Tesla chief Elon Musk and his partner Grimes announced the birth of the baby boy in a post on Twitter, revealing their son was called "X Æ A-12 Musk."
The couple was faced with a hurdle owing to the California laws which specify that a name should be restricted to English alphabets, no numbers or special characters. The couple then smartly found the escape route to avoid changing their child's name. X Æ A-12 Musk became X AE A-XII Musk.
•X, the unknown variable ⚔️ •Æ, my elven spelling of Ai (love &/or Artificial intelligence) •A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent + (A=Archangel, my favorite song) (⚔️ metal rat) — ☘︎࿎ (@Grimezsz) May 6, 2020
Either way, the bizarre name had Internet in a frenzy.
#Rasode Mein Kaun Tha?
Main Thi? Tum Thi? Kaun Tha?
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A music producer called Yashraj Mukhate, a singer-producer from Aurangabad recently converted a small scene from the show featuring Kokilaben and converted it into a hilarious music video. In an interesting twist to a conversation between Kokilaben Modi, her daughter-in-law Gopi Bahu and her sister-in-law Rashi.
The rap became so popular, BJP's Sambit Patra used the song in a TV debate to take digs at Congress's Rahul Gandhi.
TikTok -- PUBG ban
Perhaps the biggest setback for those isolating during the pandemic came with the ban of popular Chinese apps including the massively popular TikTok and PUBG.
TikTok, a short-video-sharing app, used by millions of Indians found a mention in the list of apps that were banned by the government of India stating that they were "engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".
Then came another blow, this time a huge one for the gamers of the country, after the government released a fresh list of apps that were to go under the scanner (again).
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds aka PUBG, a popular battle royale game, was gone just like that. Gamers assembled to mourn the departure of their favourite game, others imagined the happy reaction of parents who were done with their kids who were addicted to the game.
You can already hear them coming, don't you?
Video of Ghana's pallbearers, doing a cheerful dance with the coffin, became the dance of the morbid year 2020. The six pallbearers carrying a coffin and dancing, know as Ghana coffin dance, turned into a viral meme template.
Cops in the Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu resorted to "coffin dance" to teach the importance of social distancing and staying at home when the cases of COVID-19 were rising by the day.
#Cuddalore Police coffin dance awareness. Our #TamilNadu police rock when it comes to new trends! Amazing 👏👏👏#StayAtHome#StaySafe @PoliceTamilnadu @DadaAwu#Corona #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/c8Yuv59V7j — Apoorva Jayachandran (@Jay_Apoorva18) April 29, 2020
The never-ending mystery around North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un's constant "disappearance" from the face of the earth was of particular interest about netizens who summoned the pallbearers when the North Korean leader was nowhere to be found.
Monoliths collectively managed to spark a new interest in humankind in the past few weeks. The mysterious, shiny blocks of metal continue to be appearing-disappearing in different parts of the world recently and many on the Internet were convinced that aliens are finally taking over the earth.
The metallic monolith was first spotted in November in a remote part of Utah in the US. After that, the object was spotted in Romania. Then one popped up in California. Another one was spotted in the Netherlands too.
More recently, a gold monolith was discovered in Colombia. Photos and videos of the golden monolith on social media show the metal object standing erect in the middle of what appears to be an open field. Then a nearly 7-foot-tall monolith made of gingerbread mysteriously appeared in San Francisco on Christmas Day and collapsed the next day.
Folks on Indian Twitter imagined if a monolith were to appear in the country, how would the janta deal with it?
From using a monolith as cricket stumps, to desis scribbling their lovers' name on the structure, to using the block as a selfie-spot, Twitterati let their imaginations run wild.
#Everything is Cake
If 2020 wasn't bizarre enough already, everything turned into a cake. Internet got obsessed with turning our daily objects into hyper-realistic baked cakes.
#Donald Trump Twitter -- 'This Claim is Disputed'
Donald Trump who lost to Joe Biden in the recently concluded US Elections by a fair margin, has been on a Twitter meltdown for the past few days where he has constantly been pushing unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud.
Twitter, however, doesn't like it and Trump's tweets are being flagged on a daily basis by the microblogging site with warning messages such as this: This claim about election fraud is disputed! But there are many more.
Seeing a pattern here, Twitterati have been mock-flagging their own tweets and the results are absolutely hilarious.
#Awkward Robert Pattinson
Little did the Good Time movie director Josh Safdie know that a photo of British actor Robert Pattinson snapped back in 2017 would become the meme of 2020. In the BTS photo, Pattinson can be seen standing awkwardly in a kitchen wearing a brown tracksuit.
The movie which starred Alia Bhatt, Pooja Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt, and Aditya Roy Kapur and was directed by Mahesh Bhatt, was heavily panned for supposedly propagating nepotism in the industry, especially at a time when angered fans were seeking justice for the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput.
While there was nothing inherently funny about the movie nor the outrage that came after, the 1991 remake did manage to unite the Indian Internet like never before, making #BoycottSadak2 an online campaign that kept trending for days that followed.
The outrage led to Sadak 2's trailer becoming the second-most disliked video published on YouTube.
With 1.1 IMDb ratings, Sadak 2 also topped the chart of worst-rated Bollywood movie of all time.
#Fly On Pence
During the much-anticipated US Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, a housefly managed to steal the show. Towards the end of the debate, a tiny common house fly flew over, landed on Pence's crisp white hair, and became Internet's new hero.
The fly also reminded Breaking Bad fans of that episode.
So, a fun art history fact! Flies are used to represent rot, wasting away, decay, death, melancholia. A fly hovering over a church official or nobleman indicates disfavor with the king or corruption and dereliction of duty. pic.twitter.com/aLuiKFwWNI — Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) October 8, 2020
2020 was particularly good for the alien community. Back in April, the Pentagon declassified three videos, which had been leaked previously, and confirmed that US Navy Pilots had indeed encountered unidentified flying objects or UFOs.
Then in December, it was reported that there exist two classified reports by the Pentagon on UFOs. A leaked photo of a mysterious object was a part of the classified report, reported Daily Mail.
If you thought it was over, later in the same month, in an interview with Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper, Haim Eshed – former head of Israel's Defense Ministry's space directorate – made a sensational claim that the Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have asked not to publish that they were here because "humanity is not ready yet".
The commencement of IPL 2020 in UAE came as a huge relief to the country that worships cricket and was confined to their homes. With the necessary precautions in place and no crowds in attendance, IPL despite its fake ambient sound kept viewers hooked to the TV and mobile screens.
With IPL and cricket in action, came lots and lots of memes.
Did Turkish street musician Bilal Göregen know that he'd become one of the biggest memes of 2020 just by playing darbuka on a park bench?
For those unfamiliar with the artist or the meme that came after, visually impaired Bilal performed a cover of "Ievan polkka" -- a popular Finnish song from the 1930s. The video of his performance was uploaded by a user on YouTube in 2019 following which the Internet did the rest.
Bilal's video, however, garnered more momentum in October after a Twitter user edited an animated "vibing cat" or "CatJAM" bobbing its head to the beats of his rendition, KnowYourMeme noted.
Since then the vibing cat has gone places and even found a mention in an ICC's cricket post.
That laughing face of the Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio made while holding a drink in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is a meme for the ages.
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#Diljit Dosanjh-Kangana Ranaut Twitter spat
Not that Twitter fights are any fun, but when Punjabi singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh and Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut got tangled in a war of words over ongoing farmer protests, the rest of Twitter grabbed popcorn and sat on the couch.
What followed was an ugly war of words and to every attack from Ranaut, Dosanjh had a counter-attack in shuddh Punjabi.
While the war of words was amusing, a lot of it was limited to Punjabi - and it led a major section of Indians clueless, especially with Google missing out on accurate translations. Then, the Punjabi Twitter stepped in.
Dosanjh's Punjabi tweets were imagined in different scenarios by creative folks and the actors' feud was also parodied by comedian Saloni Gaur.
Among Us, an online multiplayer social deduction game, was developed and published by American game studio InnerSloth and released on June 15, 2018.
The game takes place in a space-themed setting where players each take on one of two roles, most being Crewmates, and a predetermined number being Impostors.
Among Us came in the wake of PUBG ban and gained popularity for being so darn addictive.
#How it Started
'How it started vs How it’s going' trend was an interesting mix of people showing the growth in their personal or professional lives. The other lot shared about how things have all been downhill. Where do you stand?
#Work from Home
If you made it this far in our list and are still wondering: where are the "work from home" memes, we have you covered. The fortunate citizens who weren't laid off during the coronavirus wave were asked to log in from their homes. What seemed like a temporary, "fun" activity for most turned into a permanent fixture of 2020. If you are reading this, you're probably working from home too. If not, mask up!
I guess we’re about to find out which meetings could’ve been emails after all... — Sara Wallace Goodman (@ThatSaraGoodman) March 8, 2020
Now we can only hope 2021 brings in more memes and less worry.