Ah, memes. You know that feeling when a meme is so on-point – so deeply relatable – that you can’t help but feel that a hand has reached out of the internet and touched your soul? We’ve all been there. There’s nothing like a spicy meme to make you feel alive, and there’s nothing like a hyper-local meme to instil that sweet feeling of city pride.
Melbourne has seen some truly excellent pieces of Internet Humour over the years. But which ones have stood the test of time, and which have enjoyed just a fleeting moment of fame? Here, we present this entirely subjective list of the greatest Melbourne memes to ever grace the internet. Bone app the teeth.
I’m going to be real here: I hate the Melbourne hipster memes. They’re derivative of all the other generic hipster posts that swept the world seven years ago (back when news broadcasters were doing earnest segments on LOLCats). Slapping a ‘Fitzroy’ or a ‘three-quarter soy latte’ on a picture of a man in thick-rimmed glasses doesn’t quite cut it (was this photo really taken in Fitzroy?). What’s more, I suspect that the biggest fans of Melbourne hipster memes are not even from Melbourne. However, hipster memes are on this list because of their sheer tenacity. As long as misguided souls keep liking and sharing, the meme-smiths will keep making them.
How Melbourne: 4/10. But then again, maybe I’ve lived in the inner north so long that I am no longer able to see how searingly relevant these memes are. I doubt it though.
How hilarious: 2/10. “Hipsters, they’re coffee snobs AMIRITE!?!” Urgh.
10. Tram Possum
Origin: UterZorker/Reddit, May 2017
Ermahgerd, look at this little friend! Paws clinging so tight to the handrail, tail curled around the Myki machine, beady eyes staring blankly at fellow commuters, unabashedly fare-evading. Truly, this is a possum of the people. Unsurprisingly, Tram Possum swept the internet in a matter of hours, with 3AW taking the story so seriously that they even interviewed a senior zookeeper to get her expert opinion on whether the photo is genuine (she confirmed it is). Travel safely, magical marsupial – your internet fame days are numbered, but they were good while they lasted.
How Melbourne: 9/10. PTV should erect a statue of Tram Possum at Domain Interchange.
How hilarious: 4/10. Cute, but doesn’t come close to the hilarity of Kangaroo Bro.
9. Avocado toast
Origin: Australian Young Greens, May 2017 / Bernard Salt’s ill-advised op-ed about millennials squandering house deposit money on smashed avo, 2016
2016 brought us many, ahem, surprises, and one of them was an irritable baby boomer who launched a thousand think pieces, and naturally, a raft of saucy memes. This one is my favourite so far: like the most successful smashed avo jokes, it unites two zeitgeisty touchpoints for double the LOLs. Excellent work, baby Greens.
How Melbourne: 5/10. Melburnians smash that smashed avo, but so does the rest of Australia.
How hilarious: 7/10. Serving cynical Lucille Bluth realness.
8. Drake Daniel Andrews
Origin: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ Facebook page, September 2016.
For one evening, Daniel Andrews became a magnificently loose unit. Which other politician would a) photoshop Drizzy’s fourth mixtape to make it Grand Final-themed; b) pair that with a Rih Rih reference and c) post it to a hip hop nightclub’s page? Daniel freakin’ Andrews, that’s who. Naturally, screenshots stormed the internet for a short amount of time, until he admitted on 3AW that he couldn’t even name one Drake song. Two lessons learned here: don’t give your team complete control over your social accounts, and don’t attempt to connect with the kids if you can’t drop at least one Drake reference in conversation with the media.
How Melbourne: 6/10. Points deducted for deceit.
How hilarious: 7/10. Much like Drake’s early acting career, Andrews’ gaffe will never be forgotten.
7. Drawing Dicks on the Herald Sun
Origin: A dedicated Facebook page, est. 2012
Drawing Dicks on the Herald Sun is not simply a meme: it’s an artistic movement. What began as a way for two tradies to pass the time became a Facebook page with over 400,000 likes, a documentary and an art exhibition in 2016. The involvement of artist Jonathan Guthmann has elevated DDotHS to an online gallery of postmodern phallic masterpieces (many of which are, frankly, absolutely disgusting). And he’s dead serious about it, too: watch the promo for the doco and feel your toes curl with joy as he stands cross-armed in front of an easel, and announces in a deadpan voice, “I think I’ll call this one Simon Crean smoking a cock”.
How Melbourne: 7/10. The Herald Sun is regrettably very Melbourne, but dicks are universal.
How hilarious: 7/10. Even as a dedicated dick-shunner, I still believe that DDotHS is the only respectable way to read The Herald Sun.
6. The most Melbourne guy ever
Origin: The Street Seen column in The Age’s M Magazine, July 2016.
For a few glorious days, everyone’s favourite web developer, mystery blogger and jazz kitten had the world in the pocket of his backwards Osh Kosh B’Gosh overalls he found in a vintage store in Tokyo. The column made international news, but tragically, Samuel Davide Hains turned out to be a phoney, created by Hains and his friend, who wrote the piece. But still, I would challenge any self-respecting Melburnian who said they didn’t feel at least a bit of pride living in the same city as a man who would never be caught dead in a “small, inefficient beanie”. If there was ever a true ‘Melbourne hipster’ meme, it’s this one: cringe-worthy, painfully self-aware and dripping in irony. Damnnnn, Samuel.
How Melbourne: 9/10. I wonder if anyone tried to sincerely adopt Samuel Davide’s style?
How hilarious: 8/10. His style is “bucolic socialist with improvised elements (like jazz).” Enough said.
5. Beyoncé in Brunswick
Origin: Beyonce in Brunswick tumblr page (now taken down) by comedians Richard Higgins and Matt Kelly, October 2013.
If Queen Bey herself arrived in your neighbourhood to pose in a leotard, fur coat and stilettos in front of an old weatherboard cottage, you wouldn’t just stand around craning your neck, you’d make memes! Or at least, that’s what Richard Higgins and Matt Kelly of the comedy duo The List Operators did. In fact, they rustled up an entire Tumblr page of crispy Bey memes, putting her in all sorts of Brunswick locales; Barkly Square, Centrelink, Savers and Gelobar, for starters.
How Melbourne: 8/10. “The shoes on my feet, I bought it [at Savers].”
How hilarious: 9/10. Why none of these made it to the Lemonade cover, I’ll never understand.
4. Just waiting for a mate
Origin: Highway Patrol, 2013.
When the website Know Your Meme devotes an entire page to tracking the origin, the rise in popularity and the subsequent iterations of a piece of internet content, you know it’s hit the big time. Old mate Clinton, with his docile face looking into the harsh lights of the TV camera, quickly became a worldwide sensation, sparking posts like this one:
How Melbourne: 3/10. Let’s be real here. As wonderful as Clinton is, he could’ve drunkenly crashed his car anywhere in the country.
How hilarious: 8/10. Most underrated line in the video: “Can I see your license please?” “Nup.”
3. Corey Worthington
Origin: A Current Affair, 2008
Is it cool or uncool to love Corey Worthington these days? I can’t keep track, but I don’t really care either. I love Corey Worthington. I love his big sunglasses, his total lack of remorse while being interviewed by A Current Affair reporter Leila McKinnon, and I am all about this beautiful nugget of dialogue: McKinnon: “You should go away and have a good long hard look at yourself.” Corey: “I have, everyone has, they love it”. Corey went on to being on Big Brother and influencing the plot of a 2012 comedy film Project X, but his greatest legacy is the fear he instilled in parents across the country of creating events on Facebook.
How Melbourne: 3/10. Much like ‘Just waiting for a mate’, Corey’s party could’ve happened anywhere – but I’m so glad it was in Melbourne.
How hilarious: 8/10. I didn’t even go to Corey’s party, but I still think it was my favourite party ever.
2. We will rebuild
Origin: Unknown, 2012
I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that this meme – designed to highlight the inconsequence of the very minor earthquake that occurred in Melbourne – originated in Melbourne. I could be wrong, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Why is it so terrific, you ask? In a city so devoid of natural disasters, Melburnians took the earthquake as an opportunity to have a self-deprecating chuckle, tacitly recognising that in the face of plenty of other terrible world disasters, we had nothing to complain about.
How Melbourne: 6/10. If the worst thing we have to worry about is picking up a plastic chair, we’re doing OK.
How hilarious: 7/10. If you don’t laugh at the ridiculousness of the world sometimes, you’ll cry.
1. Welcome to Melbourne
Sometimes, memes are great because they evolve over time, with a single image or GIF providing a platform for countless variations and jokes. Sometimes, a meme is so perfect in its original form that it simply cannot be improved. Welcome to ‘Welcome to Melbourne’, friends. If you feel that this meme is too simplistic, too obvious, to earn the illustrious title of Best Melbourne Meme of All Time, then stay with me here. This image has been shared more times – by Melburnians and non-Melburnians alike – than you’ve alighted the tram early to avoid ticket inspectors. It’s the go-to result when you google ‘Melbourne memes’. It is also appreciated by people of all backgrounds, ages and levels of internet savviness, and for these reasons, it is the Melbourne meme for the people. It's also irrefutably true to Melbourne's volatile climate – and one day, some wise pioneer decided to capture that slice of reality in meme form. The rest was history.
How Melbourne: 10/10. More Melbourne than burning the roof on your mouth on a meat pie at the ‘G.
How hilarious: 10/10. Next time the weather suddenly goes to hell, post this meme on Facebook, and watch the gratitude roll in like a thunderstorm.