10 of the Most Random Things to Go Ridiculously Viral

A Look Back on the Odd Memes That Mesmerized and Confused Us All

Okay, so we all know that internet memes aren't really supposed to make very much sense, but there are a select few that just seem too random to matter. Incredibly, most of these random and seemingly pointless memes are among the biggest the internet has seen.

These memes have profoundly shocked us, confused the living daylights out of us and made us actually laugh out loud. According to University of Colorado psychology professor Peter McGraw, something is only funny when we perceive it to be a benign violation of what's expected of reality, and given the nature memes, this seems like a totally logical explanation for why we can never really quite put into words why we instinctively find them to be so funny.

Let's take a look back on a few of the most memorable and gloriously pointless memes that once graced the screens of our computers and mobile devices. Love them or hate them, these definitely made internet history.

1
The Dress

The Dress
Photo of the "The Dress"

In 2015, an image post of a dress was uploaded to Tumblr, asking users to identify what color it was. As you might recall, this went viral within a matter of hours, and almost everyone on social media was either posting "black and blue," or "white and gold." It turned into a huge debate that nobody could seem to settle.

Countless blogs took the viral post and worldwide debate as inspiration to try and explain the science of light and color. Later, after what was perhaps the largest and most pointless online argument of all time, the actual dress pictured in the post was revealed to be black and blue. 

2
Alex from Target

Alex from Target
Photo of Alex from Target

If you needed proof that teenaged girls are perhaps the most powerful demographic on the World Wide Web, look no further than the Alex from Target story. And I mean actually read the story because this kid who went from nobody to instant fame was interviewed by The New York Times and appeared on Ellen shortly after he burst onto the scene.

Alex was nothing but a good looking cashier at Target doing his job, and it only took one candid photo of him posted on Twitter to send every teenaged girl into a lovestruck, social sharing frenzy. Once people figured out who he really was and found his Twitter profile, he gained nearly a quarter of a million followers in just about a day.

3
Damn Daniel

Damn Daniel
Snapchat screenshot of Damn Lara

Continuing on with the lovestruck teenage girls who are very active on social media and can't resist a charming teenaged boy, the "Damn Daniel" meme was nothing but a collection of Twitter and Snapchat videos of a high schooler repeatedly and dramatically complimenting his friend's fashion choices — especially his shoes.

For whatever reason, people absolutely loved this. The initial Twitter post garnered over 100,000 retweets and nearly 150,000. Like the Tumblr user behind The Dress and Alex from Target, the Damn Daniel kids eventually earned themselves a guest appearance on Ellen as well.

4
Chewbacca Mom

Chewbacca Mom
Screenshot of YouTube.com

One of the more recent memes to go viral is a video of a mother from Texas who filmed herself in her car laughing half to death as she tried on her new Chewbacca mask that she bought for herself. Within a few days of posting it to Facebook, it became the most viewed video of all time on the social platform with 145 million views and 3.2 million shares, according to Know Your Meme.

Candace Payne, the woman behind the mask, has reportedly made over $500,000 since the video went viral. In the case of this particular meme, laughter really is contagious. Watch it here on YouTube if you haven't seen it.

5
The IKEA Monkey

IKEA Monkey
Photo of the IKEA Monkey

Who could resist talking about a monkey wearing a shearling coat who was mysteriously found roaming around an IKEA store parking lot in the dead of winter? Once a few people who spotted the lost monkey started tweeting photos of him scurrying around in his coat, the media caught on and started reporting on it.

The IKEA Monkey — appropriately named Darwin — became an instant worldwide hit and the inspiration for countless meme variations. After a lengthy court battle, Darwin was never given back to his original owner due to illegal ownership. He now resides in a primate sanctuary.

6
Netflix and Chill

Photo © Netflix

Given the popularity of Netflix these days, it was only a matter of time before it would likely serve as the inspiration for a huge and ridiculous meme. Today, the popular phrase "Netflix and chill" takes on a whole new meaning and doesn't really have anything to do with watching something interesting on Netflix while chilling out on the couch.

The internet collectively came to the conclusion that "Netflix and chill" is almost always used as code for casually inviting someone over to try and, ahem, get into their pants. You can find this phrase mentioned everywhere on social media, along with images and GIFs that capture some of the hilariously exaggerated interpretations.

7
Doge

Doge
Photo of Shibe, the Shibus Inus

Who would've thought that a simple photo of a side-eyed Shiba Inus sitting comfortably with his front paws crossed could go so viral? It was back in 2013 when everyone became obsessed with writing nonsensical words in colorful comic sans font to reflect this dog's simple and limited thought process.

You can find variations of this particular Shiba Inus photo marked with words like "wow" and "much [adjective]." At the height of the cryptocurrency trend, Doge became the inspiration for a cryptocurrency of its own, called "Dogecoin."

8
Flappy Bird

Photo: Screenshot of Flappy Bird App for iOS

Flappy Bird was a mobile game for the iOS platform that users described as both ridiculously bad and ridiculously addicting. Gamers everywhere became obsessed with the simple, retro app that was basically impossible to beat. Before long, an Android was released and shortly afterward the game took the top spots for most downloaded app on both Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

The developer of the game, Dong Nguyen, made a ton of money off the viral success of Flappy Bird but claimed that it "ruined his simple life" and decided to take the game offline. As you could imagine, lots of other developers tried to ride the viral trend that Flappy Bird caught wind of by developing their own Flappy Bird-inspired clones.

9
Horse_ebooks

Horse_ebooks
Screenshot of Twitter.com

@Horse_ebooks was a Twitter account that was thought to be a spam bot scraping text from various different ebook sources and auto-posting them in totally random, broken sentences to Twitter. The cryptic and often hilarious tweets helped the account gain over 120,000 followers. Its best tweets easily received thousands of retweets and favorites.

In 2013, the account was revealed to have been an art project by a BuzzFeed staff member. After the last three final tweets were posted by @Horse_ebooks about the true identity and purpose behind it, the account never tweeted again.

10
Charlie Bit Me

Charlie Bit Me
Screenshot of YouTube.com

An oldie but still a goodie, this innocent home video of a baby (Charlie) biting his older brother's finger is one of those viral videos that you tend to either think is adorably funny or just plain boring. The original video, which was first uploaded to YouTube in 2007, now has a whopping 840 million views.

Harry, Charlie's older brother, describes the pain he's feeling in an adorable British accent as his finger is bitten. The video is less than a minute long and it's one of the most memorable viral videos in all of internet history. Perhaps that could've worked in 2007 when YouTube was still new, but these days, it's a lot more difficult to get your home videos get that kind of attention.