How does one know if a meme has gone viral? It’s simple really, does it get stuck in your head often? Are you bombarded with different takes of the same meme every time you open a social media app? Do you use it as a genuine way of responding to friends or as the punch line of a joke? Memes have evolved so much from just being a funny digital image, but rather a way of life.
In 2023, most of the viral memes that had a chokehold on the internet in India came mainly from old interview clippings. With Instagram and X connecting you to your favourite celebrity at the click of a button, they were no exception to A-listers jumping on the bandwagon when it came to some of these viral memes. After all, partcipating in meme trends is all about getting in on the joke, which helps in shooting up social media engagement.
So, when Google released the results of their annual round-up, Year In Search, there was no way to ignore the memes that Indians giggle and laugh in 2023. With just a few hours to go, end your year on a happy, funny note. From ‘Bhupendra Jogi’ to ‘So Beautiful, So Elegant’, here are the top 10 most searched memes of the year, according to Google:
10 Most Viral Memes Of 2023, Ranked:
1) “Bhupendra Jogi”
Mr Bhupendra Jogi was interviewed during the Madhya Pradesh elections in 2018, when he misunderstood the journalist’s question amid a heated debate about the state of roads in the state when compared to America. Over time, it became the equivalent of the “Rick Ross”, where the clip or its audio made its way to you when you least expected it.
2) “So Beautiful, So Elegant… Just Looking Like A Wow!”
Origins: This iconic line was part of a sales pitch for traditional wear by Delhi-based boutique owner, Jasmeen Kaur. She also introduced us to new shade names like “mouse” and “peela ladoo” colour. This meme had a chokehold on our timeline, with everyone and their mothers delivering their take on it—including celebrities like Deepika Padukone.
3) “Moye Moye”
This Serbian song had the entire country waving their arms in despair to its chorus lyrics, which actually say, “Moje More” and it loosely translates to “my nightmares”. The original song is called ‘Džanum’ by singer-songwriter Teya Dora. It made its way to endless clips, funny skits and parodies. In fact, not only did Ayushmann Khurrana even treated his fans to his rendition during a live performance, even Salman Khan, Shraddha Kapoor as well as Delhi Police (!) jumped onto the trend.
When a sixth-grader was interviewed about his education in Bihar, his perplexed replies had the internet in splits and the Twiterrati had finally found the perfect meme for situations that leave you dumbfounded. In the clip, the interview asks Aditya Kumar which his favourite subject was, which he misunderstands to mean “sabji” (vegetable) to which he simply replies with the infamous onomatopoeia, followed by a cheeky “baigan” (eggplant).
5) “Aukat Dikha Di”
This meme came in handy for those painful moments of realisation when someone “betrays your trust” by revealing their true colours. The origins of the viral clip, however, come from a Tamil movie called Aayitha Ezhuthu featuring the superstar Suriya, paired with the audio of the Bhojpuri song “Dafa 406” by Chhotu Shikari.
6) “Only in Ohio”
In March, a global trend popularised via TikTok, X and Reddit had Indians curious and soon after, participating in it. It began when a picture posted in 2016 showcased a bus announcement boarding showcasing the words “Ohio will be eliminated”. Soon, this snowballed into people around the world uploading bizarre and funny clips and pictures with the caption “Only in Ohio” in satire.
7) “The Boys”
As Barney Stinson believed, the “bro code” has always been around. “The Boys” meme very much finds itself in this masculine universe. It originated with a clip from the eponymous superhero TV show, played with Imagine Dragons’ track “Bones” playing in the background. The countless memes and reels that turned out of this usually revolved around the same concept as an insider joke between men and their friends or “boy math”.
8) “Elvish Bhai”
The popularity of Big Boss has divided Indian audiences ever since its existence. However, season after season, the hit reality show delivers iconic moments that become etched into our pop culture history. While this year the meme didn’t come from a contestant inside the house, it came from a fan cheering on YouTuber Elvish Yadav, who eventually won the show’s OTT edition.
9) “The Waffle House Has A New Host”
In January, YouTuber Jonny RaZer started a prank trend asking his followers to first come up with a random phrase to litter across the comment section of every piece of content on the internet. His followers came up with the statement, ‘The waffle house has a new host’ and this trend grew like wildfire with people who didn’t even know its history jumping on it, triggering many news outlets to explain the perplexing phenomena. This ended any hopes Jonny had of ending the trend as abruptly as it had first began like he had planned.
10) Smurf Cat
even the legend himself Alan Walker joined the smurf cat army..— TechnicallyMissy (@CupidMissy) September 20, 2023
We Live, We Love... pic.twitter.com/ftMnHXi0gN
Another trend who’s popularity can be largely attributed to its bizarreness is the Smurf cat meme. Created as a digital image by artist Nate Hallinan in 2014, this clip began circulating under a Russian hashtag which can be loosely translated to ‘Shailushai’. It features a blue cat who seems to be wearing a mushroom hat and walking with a dead snail. Its usually paired with the words “We Live, We Love, We Lie” from Alan Walker’s track “Spectre”.