From Kardashian to Barry Roux: 10 of the web’s most popular memes of 2014

Barry Roux

Yes, humans of the internet, pop culture has an interesting way of playing itself out in our modern age. From light topics such as bendable luxury smartphones and Kim Kardashian’s butt, to satirical ones like loadshedding and Oscar Pistorius, we love to express ourselves using memes.

In 2014, memes reached a nadir, evolving along with the events they concerned themselves with. We’ve rounded-up some of the ones which stood out the most over the last 12 months.

DeGeneres selfie

Twitter dubbed this the most popular selfie of 2014, and it was certainly the most retweeted tweet of all time. TV host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a selfie of herself and a group of other celebrities including Kevin Spacey to Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep at the Oscars. The photo was retweeted over 3.3 million times and favourited by 2 million.

Pharrel’s hat

Ellen’s selfie wasn’t the only meme that went viral however. Singer and songwriter Pharrel Williams opened up a can of worms after he wore a rather large and awkward-looking hat to the Grammies.

Here are some of the memes people responded with:

iPhone’s Bendgate

The annual celebration of Apple’s much-awaited iPhones faced a big hiccup after people discovered their devices’ flexibility wasn’t a new feature — but a major flaw instead.


Barry Roux’s “I put it to you!”

The trial of convicted Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius certainly had South Africa, and the world, on its toes for the better of the year. Although Pistorius did get more than his fair share of satire-turned-ridicule on social media, it was his lawyer Barry Roux who ended-up getting the most limelight. With his thick South African accent and frequent use of the expression “I put it to you”, people loved him.

There are even T-shirts available if you’re that big a fan.

Read more: What Barry Roux and Neknominations teach us about the power of memes

Kim Kardashian’s Break the Internet meme

It breaks my heart to report on this more than has already been done. Paper Magazine’s NSFW cover photo of celebrity Kim Kardashian posing naked went viral and sparked a multitude of memes.


If that left you in doubt about the current state of humanity, then maybe this might cheer you up a bit.

NekNominations started out as a viral nomination game where people around social media chugged alcohol doing random (often stupidly extreme) things and challenge their friends to do the same. Oh, peer pressure in the 21st century!

South African Brent Lindeque initiated the so-called #RakNominations or #ChangeOneThing nominations, documenting charitable deeds instead of stupid party tricks. It then eventually sparked brands to do the same.


American goalie Tim Howard saved 16 shots during a match against Belgium during the Soccer World Cup 2014. Of course, if one man can achieve such an incredible feat, it’s bound to spark the imagination of the internet’s folk about what else he’s capable of.

Eskom and its loadshedding woes

South African electricity provider Eskom has been putting the country through a tough few weeks after it was forced to implement loadshedding across the country. As you can imagine, South Africans weren’t pleased and quickly turned to satire:


Read more: #Loadshedding by the social media numbers

Ice Bucket

Much like the NekNominations sparked online tagging, US non-profit ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association well over US$15.6-million in donation after people around the globe nominated each other to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads.


Famous faces soon joined in on the fun with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg among those who took part.

Luis Suarez bite memes

There are too many great memes to choose from after Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder during the FIFA World Cup.

Here are two of our favourites:

Let us know which ones are your favourites.



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